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Lyrics as a Genre Essay Sample

Lyrics as a Genre Pages
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Lyric derives from the Greek word λυρικός lyrikos, meaning “singing to the lyre”. A lyric poem is one that expresses a subjective, personal point of view. Lyric Poetry consists of a poem, such as a sonnet or an ode that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. The term lyric is now commonly referred to as the words to a song. Lyric poetry does not tell a story which portrays characters and actions. The lyric poet addresses the reader directly, portraying his or her own feeling, state of mind, and perceptions. Some definitions:

•A short poem of songlike quality.
•In classical Greece, the lyric was a poem written to be sung, accompanied by a lyre. •Highly musical verse that expresses the speaker’s feelings and observations. •Lyric poetry is a form of poetry with rhyming schemes that express personal and emotional feelings.

In the ancient world, lyric poems were meant to be played to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat. Lyrics are the written words in a song, usually consisting of verses and choruses. Lyrics can be written during composition of a song or after the accompanying music is composed. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist or lyrist. The meaning of lyrics can either be explicit or implicit. Some lyrics are abstract, almost unintelligible, and, in such cases, their explication emphasizes form, articulation, meter, and symmetry of expression. Sometimes, however, music is adapted to or written for a song or poem that has already been written. Not all lyrics generally make sense or are even intelligible. This has long been a plaint about the work of rock and roll lyricists, although it doesn’t pertain only to that genre of music. From the Greek, a lyric is a song (poem) sung with a lyre. Now, it is commonly used to mean a song of no defined length or structure. A lyric poem is one that expresses a subjective, personal point of view.

On the ancient Greek stage, a dramatic production often featured a chorus, which was a group of speakers, who commented on the action of the play. When a single individual sang or spoke more personally and accompanied himself on a lyre, the verse was called lyric. Thus, our present designation of lyric poetry includes personal, individual emotion. The lyric does not tell a story as an epic or narrative poem does. Most poetry as we think of it is lyric poetry. There are many subdivisions of lyric poetry. The weakest form is the song, especially popular songs that are heard frequently on the radio. With the exception of the hymn and chant, most songs do not achieve the level of true poetry, even though they employ some poetic devices.

The word lyric came to be used for the “words of a song”; this meaning was recorded in 1876. The common plural (perhaps because of the association between the plurals lyrics and words), predominates contemporary usage. Use of the singular form lyric to refer to a song’s complete set of words is grammatically acceptable. However it’s not considered acceptable to refer to a singular word in a song as a lyric. Lyrics can be studied from an academic perspective. For example, some lyrics can be considered a form of social commentary. Lyrics often contain political, social and economic themes as well as aesthetic elements, and so can connote messages which are culturally significant. These messages can either be explicit or implied through metaphor or symbolism. Lyrics can also be analyzed with respect to the sense of unity (or lack of unity) it has with its supporting music.

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