A lyricist is a
writerwho specializes in song lyrics, usually paid for by a band to write a custom song(s). A singerwho writes the lyrics to songs is a singer-lyricist. This differentiates from a singer-songwriter, who also composes the song's melodyin addition to the lyrics.
Tin Pan Alleytradition is that tunesmith and wordsmith are usually different people, though some celebrated songwriters have performed both functions ( Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Frank Loesser, Noel Cowardand Stephen Sondheimfor example). Among the leading lyricists of this period were Lorenz Hartand Oscar Hammerstein II, who both wrote with Richard Rodgers, Ira Gershwinwho wrote with brother George, Johnny Mercerand Johnny Burke. Country musicpioneer Hank Williams and folkies Woody Guthrieand Pete Seegerpointed the way for American artists from Bob Dylanonwards. Specialists also have, on occasion, wrote for somebody else to perform (the spectacularly successful Diane Warrenfor example) both words and music.
Collaboration takes different forms. Some composers and lyricists work closely together on the song, with each having an input into both words and tune. Often a lyricist will fill in the words to a tune already fully written out.
Dorothy Fieldsworked in this way. Lyricists have often added words to an established tune, as Johnny Burke did with the Erroll Garnertune "Misty". Some partnerships work almost totally independently, for example, Bernie Taupinfamously writes lyrics and hands them over to Elton John, who then sets them to music, with minimum interaction between the two men.
Christian hymn-singing tradition, many of the best-loved pieces have words written to fit existing melodies. The Christmas carol, "What Child Is This", had its words set to an old English folk tune that formerly was a lover's lament, Greensleeves. The English composer Ralph Vaughan Williamsfamously set existing poems, by men like William Cowperand Charles Wesley, to traditional folk tunes to create hymns, many of which he published in the English Hymnal. A different way in which this happened was the marriage of non-related words and tune, the best-known example being " The Star-Spangled Banner", the national anthemof the United States, with words written by Francis Scott Keystrictly as a poem, which was later set to the tune of an old drinking song.
In opera, the librettist is responsible for all text, whether spoken or sung in
Resources for Lyricists
* [http://www.grahamenglish.net/ Songwriting Tips] Songwriting Tips and Tricks from Graham English
* [http://www.discoverahobby.com/learnsongwriting.htm Discover a Hobby:] Online guide to learn Songwriting
* [http://www.musiclyricsfyi.com/ Music Lyrics] - Reviews, critiques and news.
* [http://www.nashvillehype.com/ NashvilleHype!] Hit Songwriter Interviews
* [http://www.wwswa.com/ The World Wide Songwriters Association] Worldwide organization of songwriters with tips, articles etc. Be Heard. Get Published.
Major Music Publishers
* [http://www.emimusicpub.com EMI Music Publishing]
* [http://www.warnerchappell.com Warner Chappell]
* [http://www.sonyatv.com Sony ATV Music Publishing]
* [http://www.umusicpub.com/ Universal Music Publishing]
Major Independent Music Publishers
* [http://www.peermusic.com Peer Music Publishing]
* [http://www.chrysalismusic.co.uk Chrysalis Music Publishing]
* [http://www.pigfactory.com pigFACTORY Music Publishing]
* [http://www.bugmusic.com Bug Music Publishing]
* [http://www.kobaltmusic.com Kobalt Music Group]
Performing Rights Societies in the USA
* [http://www.bmi.com BMI]
* [http://www.ascap.com ASCAP]
* [http://www.sesac.com SESAC]
Mechanical Rights Societies in the USA
* [http://www.amermechrights.com AMRA]
* [http://www.harryfox.com Harry Fox Agency]
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Look at other dictionaries:
lyricist — 1832, one skilled in lyric composition; from LYRIC (Cf. lyric) + IST (Cf. ist). Meaning one who writes lyrics is from 1908 … Etymology dictionary
lyricist — [n] songwriter composer, lyrist, musician, music writer, poet, songsmith, songwriter; concept 352 … New thesaurus
lyricist — ► NOUN ▪ a person who writes the words to popular songs … English terms dictionary
lyricist — [lir′əsist] n. a writer of lyrics, esp. lyrics for popular songs … English World dictionary
lyricist — UK [ˈlɪrɪsɪst] / US noun [countable] Word forms lyricist : singular lyricist plural lyricists someone whose job is to write words for songs … English dictionary
lyricist — [[t]lɪ̱rɪsɪst[/t]] lyricists N COUNT A lyricist is someone who writes the words for modern songs or for musicals … English dictionary
lyricist — noun Date: 1881 a writer of lyrics … New Collegiate Dictionary
lyricist — /lir euh sist/, n. 1. a person who writes the lyrics for songs. 2. a lyric poet. [1880 85; LYRIC + IST] * * * … Universalium
lyricist — noun A person who writes the lyrics of a song … Wiktionary
lyricist — (Roget s 3 Superthesaurus) n. songwriter, songsmith, poet, composer … English dictionary for students