A Collection of Articles on Songwriting and Lyrics


Music is pervasive in modern society, used for a variety of functions such as relieving boredom, filling silences, facilitating social communication, and modulating emotions.1 Although several studies have investigated the impact of lyrics on a song’s perceived emotional valence, few have explored the interplay between the descriptors of lyrical content and its evolution over time within specific genres and musical styles2.

A song can be performed by a solo singer accompanied by instrumentation, a single voice supported by backup singers (a cappella), or by a group whose members sing in harmony, such as a duo or trio. The term song is usually used to distinguish a sung work from the larger vocal forms of opera and oratorio, which are known by terms such as aria and recitative.

Song lyrics can be either written specifically for a musical piece or based on a pre-existing poem set to composed music in classical music traditions. Art songs require good vocal technique and an understanding of language, diction, and poetry for interpretation, which differentiates them from popular songs and folk songs.

While a song can be performed by any musical artist, some musicians write their own songs, which they often record in a studio to be played publicly or broadcast on the radio. Others may make parodies of songs, which involve changing the words but keeping the same tune (popular parody artist ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic is an example). The articles in this collection explore the various elements that contribute to a successful song, including melody, rhythm, lyrics, and vocals.