Using a different voice for your lyrics?
No I don't mean using a different vocalist to sing them, but rather how you write your lyrics and from what viewpoint.
The Lyric Mode
The lyric mode always uses the first-person, describing the narrator's thoughts or feelings e.g. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
" by The Rolling Stones
When you write in this mode, it doesn't have to be your feelings or emotions. It can be about another person, a group of people or even an animal! It can be someone real or someone fictional.
Most lyrics use this mode in the present, but you can use it in the past, or even the future, describing how you'd feel if something in particular had occurred.
The Dramatic Mode
This mode involves sending a message to a specific person, group of people or thing. E.g. Carly Simon
's "You're So Vain
It is often used to send a message to someone important in the narrator's life.
Although this mode can be used to raise issues from the past, or what will happen in the future, they are usually written in the present addressing the subject now.
The Narrative Mode
This is one of the most common voices to use for writing lyrics. The main function of the narrative mode is to tell a story e.g. Don McClean
's "American Pie
" or "Eleanor Rigby
" by The Beatles
In any good book, a story develops as you read it chapter by chapter. Lyrics in the narrative mode should do the same, avoiding reference to a singer's feelings or thoughts about a person. Write an interesting beginning and ending like you find in any well written story.
You don't necessarily have to write in chronological order. One technique you can use is to jump to the middle of a story at an exciting point and use later verses to fill in the gaps.
You don't have to use one story either, as you can use different one's for each verse.
Lyrics written in this mode are usually in the past tense, but you can write in the present e.g. "Eleanor Rigby
", or even in the future.
The narrative mode can be used in the first or third person, or even a combination of the two.
Try writing in different modes.
Look at the lyrics you've written. Are they always in the same mode? Try combining them or try writing in different modes.
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