What is a Song?

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cowparsleyman

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« on: April 24, 2018, 12:47:19 PM »
What All...

Recently I posted a Song here called 'Jesus on a Bike', and one of the responses stated it wasn't a Song, of course I don't mind at all, but It did get me thinking what was it if it's not a Song?, and what are the mandatory elements of one?

Is a classical piece a Song? Does it have to have Lyrics? Do Songs exist in cultures that son't have western scales/notes/intervals?

Avant garde pieces with rusty gates and nails through pianos?

Look forward to your comments.

Viscount Cramer & His Orchestra

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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2018, 04:41:35 PM »
Songs have to be sung, don't they?
Take it easy.

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Skub

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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2018, 05:27:07 PM »
From Collins English dictionary;a short metrical composition intended or adapted for singing, especially one in rhymed stanzas; a lyric; a ballad. 2. a musical piece adapted for singing or simulating a piece to be sung: Mendelssohn's “Songs without Words.”. 3. poetical composition; poetry. 4. the art or act of singing; vocal music.
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Ramshackles

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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2018, 06:24:56 PM »
Yes, for me a song is sung...just like the dictionary :D

Buuut, I don't think there is (and there shouldn't be) any stipulation that the music you post on this forum should exclusively be *songs*. Any musical composition can be put up for review.

Of course, if you state it is a song and someone disagrees that's a different matter....

Mike67

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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2018, 06:27:10 PM »
I agree, songs have lyrics that are "sung". Instrumentals are just that. Spoken words put to music can be referred to as musical settings.  Jesus on a bike may be out there, but it's a song. ;D

Mikey

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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2018, 06:32:04 PM »
Just to throw a spanner in the works, is The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd a song?, it is sung but has no lyrics...discuss

Mikey

Martinswede

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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2018, 07:38:38 PM »
If a song requires lyrics, language developed before singing.

Also I'd say ComposersForum.co.uk sounds like a place for classical music.

Skub

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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2018, 07:56:17 PM »
I think most folk would agree that a 'song' these days has a broader meaning than years past. The lines are blurred,which is a good thing,imo. Music and art forever pushes the boundaries of definitions.

As far as this forum is concerned,Ram has it right. It's a musical piece/work/a song,whatever. Unless I've read the forum very wrong it doesn't require vocals to be posted in finished songs.

Semantics...innit!  :D
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PaulyX

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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2018, 08:40:07 PM »
Evening
Well I'm the guilty party who said 'not sure it's a song'.
Firstly let me stress that 1) I didn't mean for a millisecond that it shouldn't have been posted on the forum (I agree the forum is a place for all kinds of music... yes bring on the avant garde rusty gates) and 2) it didn't mean I didn't like it (I went on to call it a 'groovy creative interlude') so I'm sorry CPM if it came across as dismissive or disparaging.
What I meant was that because it has minimal lyrics and no repeating sung melody, to me there are other words I'd use to describe it first (like groovy creative interlude...!). I don't think there are hard and fast boundaries though, was just trying to feed back on how my brain/ears responded to it. I enjoyed it differently to how I'd enjoy a more conventional song, where I anticipate rhymes / structure / repeating melody etc; it pushed different buttons for me which were more about overall vibe and unexpectedness - that's the distinction I was trying to draw. But sure, it does have words which are sung, so who am I to say it's not a song?
It's all too beautiful.

cowparsleyman

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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2018, 08:33:39 AM »
Evening
Well I'm the guilty party who said 'not sure it's a song'.
Firstly let me stress that 1) I didn't mean for a millisecond that it shouldn't have been posted on the forum (I agree the forum is a place for all kinds of music... yes bring on the avant garde rusty gates) and 2) it didn't mean I didn't like it (I went on to call it a 'groovy creative interlude') so I'm sorry CPM if it came across as dismissive or disparaging.
What I meant was that because it has minimal lyrics and no repeating sung melody, to me there are other words I'd use to describe it first (like groovy creative interlude...!). I don't think there are hard and fast boundaries though, was just trying to feed back on how my brain/ears responded to it. I enjoyed it differently to how I'd enjoy a more conventional song, where I anticipate rhymes / structure / repeating melody etc; it pushed different buttons for me which were more about overall vibe and unexpectedness - that's the distinction I was trying to draw. But sure, it does have words which are sung, so who am I to say it's not a song?

PaulyX, aint no thang Man...I'm really cool about what you said, not at all offended..I thought it was a good topic for discussion, it made me think too, a lots of what I play is instrumental, so would I consider them as Songs.

Artists & Songwriters need always to be pushed from one side or another to keep things fresh, I think most of the time we do it ourselves, but it does help of folk point things out, that's why I LOVE to swim here.

@Skub - I think your'e right, it's quite a broad definition nowadays.

@TfZ - Thanks for your input - any Jazz piece with lyrics, but if you do the same as an instrumental does it lose the song definition?

@Ramshackles - It's so interesting to hear this, many EDM pieces have sung themes in but no lyrics, but are they allowed to build sandcastle on the the Song Beach?

@Viscount Cramer & His Orchestra - What if you can't hear the lyric, like Rammstein, or always misunderstand them like The Pretenders, or don't have a clue what they mean like Bowie?

Thanks folk for your answers.

cpm





adamfarr

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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2018, 08:25:27 PM »
I guess the s-word could be a bit of a clue, but I never really thought that Apache or Telstar or any of those weren’t “songs” (but then I never really thought about it really at all!)

Sing4me88

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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2018, 08:38:39 PM »
Good point Adam Farr. I've never thought of Apache as anything other than song either. One of my favs actually - especially after a dozen or so pints... The same goes for the Lonesome Boatman (Irish trad song/instrumental for those who don't know). It's got such a haunting and memorable melody played on the whistle that it seems counter-intuitive to deem it anything other than a song. In fact, Finbar Furey who wrote it said he did indeed to have words to it but he just couldn't get any words to do the melody justice (in the end I think he settled for a short poem to precede the song).

Sterix

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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2018, 02:42:07 PM »
Jean Michele Jarre... Harold Feltermeyer... Vengellis... The Shadows...

Not to me. You can have music without lyrics and call it a song.

And there are songs out there with lyrics  (no names being mentioned *cough*Beyonce*cough*) which might as well have no lyrics to them...
She was cast from Heaven
Found a place in Hell
She seduced the Devil
He screamed as he fell!


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dasntn

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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2018, 09:18:16 PM »
Hi CPM

I hadn't thought much about it till I got involved in playing in a sort of Folk Rock band a few years back.
They talked about songs and tunes (I'd always used the terms interchangeably). The songs had words and singing, the tunes were instrumentals. Not sure if that was just them or more widely used.

I think these days a song can be with or without words - but to add to your question is a 20 min piece of music (I'm thinking of Prog rock type things like Yes - Close To The Edge) a song, or a composition, or . . .


Dave

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  • and there you have it.
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2018, 04:00:08 PM »
Songs have to be sung, don't they?

I'll go with this.
Words delivered musically.
It's either this or that, then again it might be the other. 

And there you have it. 

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