What is a Song?

A song is poetry set to music. It combines melody and lyrics and often includes a chorus, or the repeated section at the end of each verse. A song also has a bridge, which helps to tie together different sections of the song.

A typical song is around three minutes long and can be sung by a solo singer, a group of singers, or an instrumental ensemble. The musical style can range from Irish folk songs, African storytelling songs, and Christian hymns to rock ‘n roll, jazz, and heavy metal. A song’s lyrics can be about anything, but it is typically a reflection of the writer’s emotions and experiences, such as love, heartbreak, friendship, angst, or growing up.

Sometimes rhyming poems are called songs, such as Pablo Neruda’s “Arrival of Spring” or Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not In This Together.” A lyrical passage that tells the story of a specific event is called a ballad. A special kind of song for performance by classical artists is called an art song, or Lieder, which are usually in simple strophic form and require strong vocal technique and knowledge of diction and poetry for interpretation.

Songs are protected by copyright, which means the composer and songwriters have rights over their creation. This enables them to prevent others from using their work without permission, and to receive compensation for any commercial use. In addition, a song can be considered an artistic work and therefore may be eligible for public funding from cultural or educational institutions.