Do Words Belong in Music?

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what do they say

cool app (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 21 August 2009 17:12 (ten years ago) link

i prefer music without words.

brotherlovesdub, Friday, 21 August 2009 17:28 (ten years ago) link

Le Lo Lai Le Lo Le ay Le Lo Lai Le Lo Le

_Rockist__Scientist_, Friday, 21 August 2009 17:47 (ten years ago) link

tl;dl

Brad C., Friday, 21 August 2009 17:52 (ten years ago) link

four months pass...

Words belong in music. Words belong everywhere.

http://asset.dailysplice.com/art/Hot-For-Words-logo.jpg

Daniel, Esq., Tuesday, 29 December 2009 03:08 (nine years ago) link

words in music can be v. revealing, often in ways not intended by lyricist

I got gin but I'm not a ginger (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 04:20 (nine years ago) link

not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but at least it helps me spot cryptochristians (cf. owl city)

I got gin but I'm not a ginger (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 04:20 (nine years ago) link

words were invented by the Roman Empire to spot Christians

hear shart attack (latebloomer), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 06:19 (nine years ago) link

it didn't work

I got gin but I'm not a ginger (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 13:09 (nine years ago) link

imo ratio of number of intstrumentals to songs should be reversed from its current status

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 17:20 (nine years ago) link

instrumentals are songs

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 17:27 (nine years ago) link

no

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 17:31 (nine years ago) link

a lot more people are confident that they have "something to say" than are confident that they can make interesting/unique sounds that people will want to listen to

I got gin but I'm not a ginger (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 17:59 (nine years ago) link

no

really?

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 18:01 (nine years ago) link

I think max is just messing with you, Jordan.

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 18:06 (nine years ago) link

instrumental vs song is a nice and simple dichotomy, why you wanna make it difficult? bernard hits on why I don't like most recorded music, including the entire genre of "singer/songwriter". just write a poetry book and leave the music-making to the musicians.

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 18:06 (nine years ago) link

no, no, no, don't write a poetry book

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 18:08 (nine years ago) link

i mean "song" can mean whatever you want i guess but you know it implies "singing" which implies you know like "vocals" and shit and therefore not "instrumental"

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 18:13 (nine years ago) link

"instrumental" just sounds dumb and clunky to me, unless it's used to describe a recording that's had the vocals removed.

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 18:22 (nine years ago) link

"piece" "track" "joint" "composition" "cut"

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 18:23 (nine years ago) link

I agree, Jordan, but what's the alternative? All the ones max suggested could be used w/r/t a "song", too.

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 18:27 (nine years ago) link

i don't really care, but i don't differentiate between music with and without vocals very much.

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:03 (nine years ago) link

i mean "song" can mean whatever you want i guess but you know it implies "singing" which implies you know like "vocals" and shit and therefore not "instrumental"

― max, Tuesday, December 29, 2009 12:13 PM (57 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

do you ever wonder why people park in the driveway and drive on the parkway?

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:12 (nine years ago) link

i.e. the connection between singing and song is pretty much just semantics at this point

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:13 (nine years ago) link

i think the definition of a song has more to do with structure than with whether it has singing or not.

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:16 (nine years ago) link

agreed

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:18 (nine years ago) link

n/a do you find a need to differentiate between songs that have, y'know, singing in them and songs that don't?

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:24 (nine years ago) link

Hm. Dictionary seems to emphasize the words part, but are you really going to call a jazz tune an "instrumental"? Not me, I'm not.

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:25 (nine years ago) link

"Man, I really dig the instrumental version of 'Well, You Needn't.' You know, the one before they added words to it and made it a song?"

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:26 (nine years ago) link

I'm not going to call it a song, either.

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:27 (nine years ago) link

do you ever wonder why people park in the driveway and drive on the parkway?

― congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, December 29, 2009 2:12 PM (13 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

weirdly enough "parkways" are called such because they are built on public land--i.e., parks--and tend to restrict certain kind of vehicles from access.

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:28 (nine years ago) link

instrumental vs song is a nice and simple dichotomy, why you wanna make it difficult? bernard hits on why I don't like most recorded music, including the entire genre of "singer/songwriter". just write a poetry book and leave the music-making to the musicians.

I like your attitude, that is so mean!! Personally, I don't mind "pretentious" lyrics if they sound good. Lyrics shouldn't upstage the music. I think that is obvious enough but it is embarrassing how many people
fuss too much over their lyrics. Better to write something ignorant and wrong that sounds nice, I think. I like Brazilian music, where lyrics are clearly part of the music and the voice is an instrument.

US EEL (u s steel), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:29 (nine years ago) link

also while were being pedantic, one drives on ones driveway so

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:30 (nine years ago) link

Depends on how long one's driveway is.....mine is only six feet.

US EEL (u s steel), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:31 (nine years ago) link

well it sounds like you dont park on your driveway, either

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:32 (nine years ago) link

anyway im right and nick and jordan are wrong so someone can lock the thread whenever they feel like it

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:33 (nine years ago) link

max, do you like rap songs

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:34 (nine years ago) link

or is there not enough singing

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:36 (nine years ago) link

i dont call them "songs"

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:37 (nine years ago) link

the fact that no one ever uses the phrase "rap song" should be evidence enough that i am right

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:37 (nine years ago) link

Trying to remember the lyric to "Song For My Father." Maybe Hurting will come to post it.

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:38 (nine years ago) link

even so many rap tracks have singing in them--this is called a hook

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:38 (nine years ago) link

i call them "rap compositions"

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:38 (nine years ago) link

anyway just to reiterate:

i mean "song" can mean whatever you want i guess but you know it implies "singing" which implies you know like "vocals" and shit and therefore not "instrumental"

― max, Tuesday, December 29, 2009 12:13 PM (57 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:39 (nine years ago) link

like when people call instrumentals "songs" i always assume its like chuck eddy calling blondie "metal" or whatever

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:40 (nine years ago) link

i know no one says "rap song", but i think it's geir-like to be so narrow about what a song is. like, if cole porter had never written lyrics to "what is this thing called love", then it wouldn't be a song?

xp

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:41 (nine years ago) link

n/a do you find a need to differentiate between songs that have, y'know, singing in them and songs that don't?

― hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, December 29, 2009 1:24 PM (16 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

not really?

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:43 (nine years ago) link

i dont see why this is narrow! "songs" have singing "instrumentals" do not, there are about a million words that you can use to describe a piece of music that dont imply anything about the presence or absence of singing.

if yr bringing baggage to "instrumental" thats yr own problem broseph!

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:44 (nine years ago) link

I had a dream. Crazy dream.
Anything I wanted to know, any place I needed to go

Hear my song. People won't you listen now? Sing along.
You don't know what you're missing now.
Any little song that you know
Everything that's small has to grow.
And it has to grow!

California sunlight, sweet Calcutta rain
Honolulu starbright - the song remains the same.

Sing out Hare Hare, dance the Hoochie Koo.
City lights are oh so bright, as we go sliding... sliding... sliding through

that sex version of "blue thunder." (Mr. Que), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:44 (nine years ago) link

ha one time i saw lisa "left eye" lopez on celebrity jeopardy and alex trebek asked her something about how she writes her music, and she said "i don't write songs, i rap" in this really sassy voice. this has become a meme in my household.

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:44 (nine years ago) link

household memes--great thread idea

that sex version of "blue thunder." (Mr. Que), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:45 (nine years ago) link

not really?

ok so 2 people who have no use for distinguishing between music that has vocals and music that doesn't have a problem with my simple instrumental vs song dichotomy. duly noted.

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:46 (nine years ago) link

but there is a ton of music with singing that you would probably say is not a song, max, because of the structure

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:47 (nine years ago) link

by the way, "instrumental" is clearly derived from "instrument," which comes from the latin instrumentem, meaning "a tool, apparatus, furniture, dress, document." so you could call a book, or a collection of "documents," an "instrumental." and most books contain words. ergo, an instrumental can contain words.

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:47 (nine years ago) link

(dance music etc.)

is track 1 of 'a love supreme' a song, because of the vocals? and the rest are not?

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:48 (nine years ago) link

it's more chanting than singing

that sex version of "blue thunder." (Mr. Que), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:49 (nine years ago) link

i dont know i would probably just call it a "track" or a "piece" or a "joint" or something

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:49 (nine years ago) link

(Notice how when they actually sing the "song" they are singing about IT DOESN'T HAVE ANY WORDS)

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:51 (nine years ago) link

i mean the thing is this is about usefulness--i get that apparently nick has never needed to make a distinction between "music with singing" and "music without singing" but many of us have in the past and may need to do so in the future, so what is the problem with having words to specify those qualities? especially when there are a million other words we can use that dont make the distinction for difficult-to-say cases like a love supreme or whatever!

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:54 (nine years ago) link

truly i dont have a problem with "song" being used to describe "music without singing" except that then the word loses its value as a specific description

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:55 (nine years ago) link

max knows the time. we are trying to simplify things and y'all are trying to muddle it up. simplify, man. om.

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:56 (nine years ago) link

the thing is that language is complicated

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:59 (nine years ago) link

good point

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:59 (nine years ago) link

i.e. we're not fucking things up by using "song" to describe music without vocals because it's apparently common enough that we need to have a big discussion about it, and there's not much you can do about that. i mean you can try and institute some kind of linguistic purity policy where people only use "song" for pieces with vocals but you're not going to get too far with that, so you might as well embrace the ambiguity.

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:00 (nine years ago) link

Be careful never to accidentally refer to your apartment as your "house" and not your "home" around max.

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:01 (nine years ago) link

let me just do this one more time:

anyway just to reiterate:

i mean "song" can mean whatever you want i guess but you know it implies "singing" which implies you know like "vocals" and shit and therefore not "instrumental"

― max, Tuesday, December 29, 2009 12:13 PM (57 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

― max, Tuesday, December 29, 2009 2:39 PM (22 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:02 (nine years ago) link

b/c i'm not trying to be obtuse, i sincerely think of things more in terms of structure than whether or not it has vocals. if a piece of music with no vocals has melody and moves through sections similar to folk/pop/etc. forms, it feels like a song to me. if another one has vocals but doesn't feel like it's connected to that tradition, then maybe i'll say "track" or "tune" or "beat" or whatever.

xp

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:02 (nine years ago) link

In the past I've referred to a a piece of music without words or singing as a "song" just because it was easy to and it was effective for that particular conversation and conversee, but surely the usefullness of "song" in opposition to "instrumental" can be seen? You know, like exactly how it was used upthread?

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:03 (nine years ago) link

I don't think I've ever heard anyone use "song' to just refer to music w/ singing in my life. but, you know, I'm sure that's how people used the word in 1734.

the architecture of horniness (askance johnson), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:04 (nine years ago) link

So you guys were just totally thrown for a loop huh? Had NO IDEA what I really meant by "song" and "instrumental", did ya?

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:04 (nine years ago) link

i'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that a Grandmother is posting on the Internet

that sex version of "blue thunder." (Mr. Que), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:06 (nine years ago) link

"instrumental" seems so antiquated, like a surf rock novelty single from the '50s. i seriously never hear it anymore unless it's the b-side on a rap single or something.

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:08 (nine years ago) link

and there really is a shitload of music that doesn't easily fall into your binary.

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:08 (nine years ago) link

max is otm.

who says "jazz song" about a... not-song? or, as said, "rap song". "number", "track", "tune" even.

Dean Gaffney's December (history mayne), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:10 (nine years ago) link

this is not "my" binary or "our" binary it is just "a" binary that many people recognize and many do not--i am making an argument for its syntactical usefulness & its "correctness" in that sense but im just a dude

max, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:11 (nine years ago) link

there's a far bigger shitload that falls within the binary tho is the thing

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:13 (nine years ago) link

who says "jazz song" about a... not-song? or, as said, "rap song". "number", "track", "tune" even.

You are right. There is an ASCAP representative who goes to all the jazz clubs and listens to the guy on the bandstand as he says "that first tune was..., the next number was..., the next composition was ..." and the guy never says "song" because otherwise he would get a big fine for himself and the clubowner.

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:14 (nine years ago) link

are you sassing me?

Dean Gaffney's December (history mayne), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:15 (nine years ago) link

im feeling pretty sassed over here.

Dean Gaffney's December (history mayne), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:15 (nine years ago) link

http://unrealitymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/spicoli.jpg
this is not "my" binary or "our" binary it is just "a" binary

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:15 (nine years ago) link

someone should put this thread to music imo

ogmor, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:32 (nine years ago) link

who says "jazz song" about a... not-song?

what makes it a not-song though? i mean, jazz standards are either the definition of a song (like, tin pan alley songs that were once huge popular hits) or written by jazz musicians to expand on those forms.

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:40 (nine years ago) link

semantics aside, a few months ago i was collaborating on songs with a poet and it was an interesting experiment. i sort of assumed he'd be able to write good lyrics because he's a good poet and he really loves & pays attention to lyrics in music, but it was super hard for him to do the things that he consciously avoids in poetry (rhymes, and writing blunt things that would look dumb on the page but have power when sung).

hey trader joe's! i've got the new steely dan. (Jordan), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:44 (nine years ago) link

The fact that since 1734 the definition of "song" has loosened to such a degree merely means that the ratio needs to return to its 1734 status, post haste.

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 20:59 (nine years ago) link

Jordan, you should read one of the gazillion books by Philip Furia about the lyricists of the Great American Songbook like Yip Harburg and Ira Gershwin, where he contends that the appropriate background for such lyricists was not poetry but "light verse."

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 22:20 (nine years ago) link

I stopped referring to instrumental pieces as "songs" when the band teacher that Granny Dainger and I had in middle school told us that "songs" implied singing. Probably pedantic, but whatever.

Francis Ford Copacabana (jaymc), Tuesday, 29 December 2009 22:30 (nine years ago) link

I did some jazz D-bag fieldwork last night on this issue. First I went to the first half of the early set at The 55 Bar, where there was a lot of "that composition," "this next piece," "this tribute,blah blah blah and the title is called" etc. Then I went a over a few blocks to Smalls and where octojazzarian pianist John Bunch called every single thing he played a "song." "This song by Jerome Kern," "This Johnny Mandel song," "this Benny Goodman song," "Bucky wrote this song but he was nice enough to give me a credit on it. I've gotten a total of 17 dollars in royalties on it, he could have had that all to himself." Not once did Bucky Pizzarelli lean over to correct him and say, "ah but John that tune has never had lyrics therefore you are in error to call it a song." If you can't believe the Fred Astaire of piano, who you gonna believe?

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 30 December 2009 16:08 (nine years ago) link

Of course after they finished up, the next act came on and went back to "this composition," "this piece." Maybe this distinction is taught at Berklee or something.

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 30 December 2009 16:13 (nine years ago) link

He's in his 80s. He probably refers to his toothbrush, his great-grandkids, his Muesilix, all as "songs".

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Wednesday, 30 December 2009 16:14 (nine years ago) link

Maybe, but even in his 80s the guy could still kick your butt, "Granny." Show some respect.

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 30 December 2009 16:20 (nine years ago) link

nine years pass...

Fuck words

Jordan Pickford LOLverdrive (Neanderthal), Friday, 29 November 2019 02:31 (two weeks ago) link

should just be numbers imo

ciderpress, Friday, 29 November 2019 02:41 (two weeks ago) link


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