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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A lyricist is a writer who specializes in song lyrics. A singer who writes the lyrics to songs is a singer-lyricist. This differentiates from a singer-songwriter, who also composes the song's melody in addition to the lyrics.



Collaboration takes different forms. Some composers and lyricists work closely together on the song, with each having an input into both words and tune. Often a lyricist will fill in the words to a tune already fully written out. Dorothy Fields worked in this way. Lyricists have often added words to an established tune, as Johnny Burke did with the Erroll Garner tune Misty. Some partnerships work almost totally independently, for example, Bernie Taupin famously writes lyrics and hands them over to Elton John, who then sets them to music, with minimum interaction between the two men.

Religious songwriting

In the Christian hymn-singing tradition, many of the best-loved pieces have words written to fit existing melodies. The Christmas carol, What Child Is This, had its words set to an old English folk tune that formerly was a lover's lament, Greensleeves. The English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams famously set existing poems, by men like William Cowper and Charles Wesley, to traditional folk tunes to create hymns, many of which he published in the English Hymnal. A different way in which this happened was the marriage of non-related words and tune, a well known example being The Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States, with words written by Francis Scott Key strictly as a poem, which was later set to the tune of an old drinking song.

Classical music

In opera, the librettist is responsible for all text, whether spoken or sung in recitative or aria.

See also

External links

Resources for Lyricists

Major Music Publishers

Major Independent Music Publishers

Performing Rights Societies in the USA

Mechanical Rights Societies in the USA



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