Writing for singing: conceptualising lyric address in contemporary songwriting
AffiliationSchool of Culture and Communication
School of Contemporary Music
Document TypePhD thesis
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© 2015 Dr. Matthew John James Lacorcia
This project investigates conceptual approaches to writing popular song lyrics. Through examination of a selection of popular song lyrics from Bette Davis Eyes (Carnes 1981) to Snowflake (Bush 2011), I explore two main textual dimensions: the lyric voice and its act of address; and types of writing such as argumentative discourse, descriptive discourse, and narrative discourse, that are used to structure song lyrics. In doing so, this thesis identifies key tensions in the construction of song lyrics between song as a literal address with fictional features and song as a performance text that is designed to facilitate affective listening experiences for its audience. The creative component of this thesis is a folio of song recordings with lyrics that explore the lyric address, including narrative discourse, argument-driven structures, and unfolding lyric description. These texts attempt to negotiate the writing of a fictive address and creating lyrics that facilitate evocative experiences for listeners.
Keywordspopular song; lyrics; lyric writing; creative writing; narrative theory; narratology; lyric address; voice; pop songs
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