What is a Song?

A song is music incorporating lyrics, and can be either vocal or instrumental. Generally speaking, songs are sung. Songs can be standalone, or may be part of a larger musical work such as a symphony, opera, choral song, or dance piece.

Song is the word we use to describe poetry set to music; a beautiful song can move us from tears to laughter or to introspection, and can help to define who we are and what we want out of life. A song can be a simple chant, or a complicated work of art in the form of an aria or recitative. A song can be sung solo, or in groups of two or more (duets or trios). A song can be a parody, or it can be a cover version of another person’s song (Weird Al Yankovic is well-known for his parodies).

A basic song structure consists of verses and a chorus; it may have a simple ABA form, or it may be more complex, with many different melodic variations and repetitions of a short phrase or a chord progression. Many songs have a meter or beat, and some even have a specific tempo.

A song can be culturally specific, or it can cross borders and generations. It can reflect ideals of social interaction or perceptions of the spirit world, and it can even evoke specific responses from the subconscious: desire for wealth, happiness, love, or revenge. A song can be an emotional release, a declaration of love, or an expression of grief.