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Old 09-22-2019, 06:51 PM
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BoneDigger BoneDigger is offline
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Default Song writing and grammar?

If writing a song strictly for fun, is poor grammar acceptable? I mean obvious use of words that aren't real words like gooder? I'm talking about songs along the lines of John Prine and the such.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:04 PM
alnico5 alnico5 is offline
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https://www.google.com/search?client...poetic+license
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:10 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Absolutely ok.

You dont even have to pronounce words right if they work.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:46 PM
Birdbrain Birdbrain is offline
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Default Since this is basically poetry...

We all get licenses to sort, twist, mix and even mangle the spoken language for artistic effect. Personally I'm a stickler for the King's English, but I let that slide when it's time to sing. Especially since the roots of Roots music grew upwards from the lower classes.

Probably my favorite lyrics come out of sings from The Band. They capture an antiquated style of formal speech that sounds a hundred years old, not just the fifty years, as it now is. Like hearing our great-grandfathers speaking about trading two horses for a mule, they discuss down-home practicalities in lofty language. It's very proper, but not of our times.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:02 PM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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The only thing I know is:

I can't get no satisfaction...
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:29 PM
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I would point to John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. The language was grammatical incorrect, but the deliberate language choices is what made the characters so real
The same can be said of songs. The language should fit the overall character of the song.

I think grammar and all rules of language should go out the window when writing songs. Or at least dangle them out the window
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Last edited by Mbroady; 09-23-2019 at 05:13 AM.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:14 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
If writing a song strictly for fun, is poor grammar acceptable? I mean obvious use of words that aren't real words like gooder?
As a joke, to get a rhyme, that's great:
"I went to study Buddah
Now I feel much gooder."

I.e. a rhythm - or to help a line scan - you can bend words like that, but there has to be that kind of reason (musical, poetic) to justify it.

Obviously slang is perfectly OK, as in "I ain't got no...". In fact, normal kinds of colloquialism make for very good lyrics, better than trying to squeeze the Queen's English in.
The issue is invented words, that nobody would normally use in conversation. (Would you use "gooder" in speech, except for humorous effect?)
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:21 AM
PHJim PHJim is offline
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"You are nothing but a hound dog,
Crying all the time,
You have never caught a rabbit
And you aren't a friend of mine."
just doesn't make it for me.

Some lyrics use incorrect grammar for effect and that is poetic license. Nothing wrong with "It ain't me Babe."

Sometimes it just feels like the composer has made a mistake or used the wrong word to make a rhyme work. The song written for the 2010 Canadian Winter Olympics, I Believe, is one of these songs. The bad grammar isn't done to remain in character, but to make a rhyme and it just jumps out at this retired school teacher.

I believe in the power that comes
From a world brought together as one
I believe together we'll fly
I believe in the power of you and I.


Grammatically, it should be, "I believe in the power of you and me," but "me" doesn't rhyme with "fly". Unfortunately, it just sounds wrong.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:50 AM
AndreF AndreF is offline
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"And it ain't no use in a-turnin' on your light, babe
The light I... never knowed
An' it ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe
I'm on the dark side of the road."

Imagine the red ink an English teacher could use to mark up these lines.
Yet, it's the only way to phrase the lyrics properly, not to just make it rhyme, but to convey the kind of emotional state of mind that matches the song's theme.

So yeah, leave the grammar book out of your music pen and trust your ears.
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Old 09-23-2019, 01:27 PM
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Your song, your rules.
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Old 09-23-2019, 01:55 PM
DungBeatle DungBeatle is offline
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Where we're going, there are no rules...
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Old 09-23-2019, 02:00 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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In writing and speech, I'm also a stickler for the "Queen's" English, but in songs - esp, as despite my nationality, most of my material is American or American influenced, so yes, colloqualisms and regional usage - and of course humourous usage is absolutely fine.

"you just kinda sorta, stepped on my aorta"

and:

You drove me, nearly drove me out of my head
While you never shed a tear
Remember, I remember all that you said
Told me love was too plebeian
Told me you were through with me an'

etc.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:19 AM
Laughingboy68 Laughingboy68 is offline
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Just make sure you’re choosing the grammatical errors. I always wince a little when I hear the subject and object forms of pronouns used incorrectly - but that’s just me.

For instance, in Keith Urban’s Tonight I Want to Cry, he sings “There’s pictures of you and I on the walls around me.” It would be awkward to sing “me” twice in this line, but I always wish it were written differently somehow.

I don’t think anyone ever writes “ain’t” without knowing what they’re doing. Choosing to break the rules is different than making mistakes.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:25 AM
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And for everyone's sake, Yoda talk, please avoid!
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBmusic View Post
And for everyone's sake, Yoda talk, please avoid!
Ha! But ya got me a thinkin'

A entire song done in Yoda prose might be kind of fun
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