My songwords

And other stuff

The simplest song form

I’ve written some lyrics in the AAA song structure.

The AAA song structure is the most basic form of song, it consists only of verses. There is no chorus to build up to, no bridge, no intro, no outro. You can have as many verses as you like, but they are all of the same internal structure. At the end of each verse there is often a repeated refrain.

How boring, you may think, but when I tell you that Blowin’ In The Wind by Dylan and Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Simon and Garfunkel are both AAA songs, you may rethink. And there are many, many more AAA, or Strophic form, songs around.

Strophic is from strophe which is Greek for “turn” and in Greek plays the strophe was a verse that swept across the orchestra from one side to the other and then turned and swept back – the anti-strophe.

My song, In The Afterglow Of Dreams, is about waking up. An afterglow, or alpenglow, is when the setting sun briefly illuminates snow covered peaks before disappearing over the horizon. I’ve used this phenomenon as a metaphor for waking from a dream – those few moments before full awakening.

Here’s the song:

In The Afterglow of Dreams

2022©John Schofield

Verse 1

Subtle shades of dark dissolve

Into half-remembered scenes

Sighs and slow awakening

In the afterglow of dreams

Verse 2

Vague thoughts and recollections

Are they really what they seem?

These strange hallucinations

In the afterglow of dreams

Verse 3

Waking brings back memories

Of someone’s silent scream

One disturbing moment seen

In the afterglow of dreams

Verse 4

Pushing through that barrier

Lets the morning sunlight stream

Bringing full awakening

In the afterglow of dreams

My method

I write lyrics by hand and only when they are virtually complete do I type them into Word for final edit. I write in pencil on blank unlined paper. The paper becomes covered in words, phrases, rhymes, ideas, possible structures and anything else that springs to mind during brainstorming. From this chaos emerges a song. It’s like magic.

New lyrics

I’ve added a couple of new lyrics, in Lyrics3 and Lyrics 4.

I tend to write short lyrics so sometimes musicians repeat sections of a song and move sections around a bit – I have no objection to this at all. I favour short lyrics because I like a song to have space to breathe and not be so syllable-dense the singer has no room to manoeuvre. Have fun!

April Fool’s day

Well, April Fool’s day has come and gone without someone contacting me and pretending to be Elton John looking for a new lyricist.

A rush of visits to the site recently, I hope people are finding something they like and can hang their melodic magic on.

I’m working on new lyrics, as usual, but also trying to write to someone else’s melody which is new for me. It might take me some time but I’m determined to do the melody justice.

Thought’s are with the brave people of Ukraine. There’s a particularly unpleasant place in hell for Putin.

ISC2021

I’ve just been informed I am a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition., 2021, for my lyrics “It’s Later Than You Think”. Cool.

The competition has 21,000 entries and 11% made it to the semis. Fingers crossed for the finals! And I get this big logo thing to display:

Lyrics and music, hand-in-hand

Lyrics come from the head and music comes from the soul, but they both have the same task – to create emotion. The trick is to make sure both are evoking the same emotion.

If you’re writing lyrics to music you need to be sure you aren’t subverting the composer’s intentions in order to accommodate your lyrics. Similarly, if you’re writing music to lyrics it’s important to recognise the emotion those lyrics evoke and compose appropriately. A dirge-like melody is not going to sit happily with words of a glorious spring and budding romance, and a happy floating melody shouldn’t be dragged down by funereal lyrics.

Food for thought.

How could we have known

Just added lyrics for a song about dementia, at Lyrics 2. Not the most cheerful subject by any means, but sometimes sad songs can have a beneficial effect. This is certainly true for songs about personal relationships, so why not about other difficult situations?

More awards!

I’m delighted to say my song Circle Of Life won the crisis-lyrics category of the UK Songwriting Contest 2021. And I also won, with composer Elisabeth Roberts, the co-writer category for It’s Later Than You Think. The lyrics to Circle of Life are in one of the lyrics sections and here’s “Later”:

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