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porcupine

Word Choices

Ok,

I had a songwriting session where the lyrics that were written were very difficult to sing. some words just dont lend well to singing, although when read they are fine.

Which led to me ask this question:

Are there some words that you tend to avoid using either because they are hard to sing well or just simply over-used or cliche?

Porcupine

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Charlie..If i'm going for a walk trying to write a lyric for a song ,i'm playing the lyrics i'm writing constantly against the tune i've got -so can hear instantly in my head if something dosn't sound right or have a good flow..

I wouldn't not use any words -but phrases-no..Like i use the word 'Love' happily in a song but probably wouldn't write 'i'll love you forever' as that phrase is cliche..

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Yes. If I constantly stumble over a word I try to change it or sometimes the entire phrase. I just did that a couple of times with "When a Songbird Breaks Its Heart". None of the changes significatly changed the message, but the flow was smoother and the imagery improved.

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Charlie,

They pretty much have it right here. There are a lot of words I prefer to stay away from, songs about songs, cowboy's, angels, being out in the country, all the kind of cliche's that you hear too much of and I'll even admit that Palacio is right about a lot of things sounding contrived and the same. He is right.

But if I can't SPEAK it, I rarely will say it.

There are also rhymes that I will try to avoid. Heart-Apart, True-Blue, Eyes-Realize, Love and Above. There are quite a few, but mostly I just try to ask "Have I heard this a billion times before and can't WAIT to hear it again? If it seems overdone, I am going to do my best to avoid it. But every once in a while, they will come out from someone in a way I didn't think about and be fairly cool. If you can see your reflection in your Gold and Platinum records, you can get away with a lot more than most people can.

MAB

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I'd have to say that "usually" if a word is difficult to say along with another word in a phrase, then it is better to come up with another way to say it. But many times a certain word is just right and no matter how else you phrase it ... that old word is still the "right" word to say. There are techniques of holding your mouth in certain positions that will allow you to say words together that would be almost impossible to say together in other positions.

There are very many bluegrass, hoe-down, squaredance ... etc songs that use sequences of words that would be very difficult to pronunciate and sing if the bottom jaw was not held in a strict position and the words pronounced by only using the lips and tongue (with little to no jaw movement). Of course, this does account for many of that style of songs to end up sounding like the singer has a dip in his lip :-) (pretending to have a dip is also a good way to get in character while singing some of those style songs too) This is also one of the methods that autioneers use to enable them to rapid-fire off some of the long strings of sounds that are commonplace to their style of singing.

An exercise that I found also works to change the way a singer vocalizes certain sounds is to sing in a language that you are not familiar with. The construction of sentenses in "Spanish", for an example, lead to many sounds that don't go well together at all in "English" ... using this method of practicing alternate sounds and forms helps a singer to expand their ability to shift mouth positions so that words that did not work very well to them before, now become just another exercise in singing.

But ... if you are writing for others to sing ... simpler may almost always be better ...

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If you stumble over a rock, move the rock

Mike

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The answer is a resounding yes. The trick is to try and insert nouns and verb in places that are accented. If you're going to hold a note when you sing make it a noun or verb as they tend to sing easier and leave a stronger impression with the listener. Of course folks like Patti Labelle can take a word like "if" and make that sound good. I also recommend one syllable words over multi-syllable words. When it comes to cliches I recommend two wonderful little tools called "permutation" and "spoonerism".

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A philtrum is that small groove between your nose and upper lip.

That's nice.

Kinda like a perineum for the face.

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I try to find alternatives to using "like a ..........".

It can be difficult, but makes me think and can lead down a more descriptive path.

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It sounds to me like your problem is that the lyric doesn't sit well with the melody. I would never avoid using a word in a song, but it has to fit in context.

Melodies have natural emphases in them and if you try to use a word that isn't being emphasised at the right syllable, it will sound awkward.

eg. Tomorrow has the emphasis on the 'mo'. If you try putting that word in a melody that emphasises the 'To' it will sound wrong.

This is an exaggerated example to demonstrate a point, but you'll find this in much subtler ways if you look for it.

The melody and lyrics should work together.

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