What Is a Song?

A song is a musical composition with vocals (singing), characterized by a melodic structure to which words are added. It can be performed without instrumentalists, or accompanied by instruments. It may be played on a record, in concert, or as part of a theatrical production. It can also be written and performed as poetry. It can be a folk song, or an art song intended for performance by professional singers, or an aria in classical music. A song is a combination of melody and lyrics and, as such, it is protected by copyright as both a musical work and literary work.

A song can have any number of meanings and interpretations, depending on the culture and the time of its creation. It may be a simple sentimental love song, or an emotional ballad, or a political or social statement. The lyrics can express a variety of emotions, from melancholy to jubilant or angry. The melody can be sung to any rhythm, but it is often melodically simple, with few variations, as in folk songs.

The term “song” is used in many different ways and may seem vague or ill-defined, because it covers a broad range of musical genres. It is, however, distinct from dance, marching, and symphony, which are also musical works but which have no lyrical component. It may be sung a cappella or with a piano, guitar, organ, orchestra, or other instrumentation. It may be a simple strophic song, or an elaborate composition with complex harmonies and accompaniment.