Philosophical zombies, moral zombies, empathy, art, and hope.
Now, back to the rhyming. The version of the lyrics created using the second standard foot has lines that end with: “beneath,” “lies,” “parts,” and “will.” None of these even come close to rhyming. This is frustrating, but also means that our options are wide open. We could go with any one of the five Read more about 10.4 Can We Do It Again?[…]
You may be concerned, however, that to create the rhyme we had to destroy the meaning. What in the world is a “supergroup collusion”? And does being “parts of some collusion” really mean the same thing as being “parts of some supergroup”? Is it worth getting a rhyme if it turns the lyrics into something Read more about 10.3 But Now It Makes No Sense![…]
Now, it would be nice if, in making either of these adjustments if we could also get the stanza into rhythm as well, so let’s reintroduce the three rhythm-sculpted versions of the stanza and see if we can work our rhymes into them. Non-Standard Foot: Do you think reality lies above us or below us Read more about 10.2 Rhyming the Rhythimified[…]
You may recall that what we’ve been doing is practicing for situations in which you have something you want to say. First, I told you just to write it down, and not to worry about rhythm and rhyme. Then, we did three chapters of practicing the introduction of rhythm into the rough lyrics we created Read more about 10.1 Sculpting Lyrics for Rhyme[…]
Now for line 4: “Or submit to being nothing but the parts of some supergroup.” We could start the line with, “Or parts of some supergroup.” However, we would then need to figure out how to fill in the rest of the line. It so happens that the notion of “the general will” is often Read more about 9.5 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 4[…]
So far, we have this. Reality lies where? Above or beneath? And what do we see here? Surrounded by lies? And our next line is: “We either must reduce ourselves to the particles that compose us.” How shall we make it fit? How about “Should we reduce ourselves to particles?” Let’s write it out to Read more about 9.4 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 3[…]
But what of line 2? . , . . , . . , . . , . And what do we see here? Surround with illusion? Hmm. Well, that works, technically, but I don’t like the word “illusion” going further into the fourth foot than its first syllable. Perhaps instead we should say: . , . . , . . , . . , And what do we see here? Surrounded by lies? This would create an interesting link with the word “lies” in the first line, especially since the two words, Read more about 9.3 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 2[…]
Let’s take a minute, then, to reexamine the stanza we’ve been sculpting. I sometimes worry that reality lies above us or below us And what we see at our level is an illusion We either must reduce ourselves to the particles that compose us Or submit to being nothing but the parts of some supergroup Read more about 9.2 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 1[…]
So far, we’ve taken two approaches to rhythmically sculpting our lyrics. In one, we allowed the rhythm of the first line to dictate that of the others. In the other, we imposed a two-syllable foot on all four lines. However, the foot we used in the previous chapter is far from the only one. There’s Read more about 9.1 Sculpting to a New Foot[…]
Therefore, our first stanza is: I worry that reality’s above us or below us And everything we see here at our level’s an illusion We either must reduce ourselves to pieces that compose us Or bow to being nothing but the parts of something bigger Compare that with the product of rhythmic sculpting we did Read more about 8.7 Comparing the Two Versions of Our Stanza[…]
So, on to line 4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 , . , . , . , . , . , . . Or submit to being nothing but the parts of some 1415 16 , . , supergroup As the line stands, we cannot treat “Or” as a pickup, because it has to be stressed. And it has to be stressed because “su-,” in “submit,” has to be unstressed. If we could find another word that started with a stressed syllable, however, Read more about 8.6 Stamping Our Foot on Line 4[…]
Now for line 3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1213 . , . , . , . , . . , . . We either must reduce ourselves to the particles 14 15 16 17 , . , . that compose us What we need is a 14-syllable line with at most a 1-syllable pickup, for a total of fifteen syllables. So we need to get rid of two syllables somewhere. The most obvious place to look for expendable syllables is in the areas where the rhythm Read more about 8.5 Stamping Our Foot on Line 3[…]
What, therefore, if we rethought the beginning, changing “what we see here” to “everything we see here”? Let’s try it. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 . , . , . , . , . , . , . And everything we see here at our level’s nothing 13 141516 , . , . but illusion So, lines 1 and 2 are now: I sometimes worry that reality’s above us or below us And everything we see here at our level’s nothing but illusion But Read more about 8.4 A Mistake, Quickly Fixed[…]
Can we rewrite line 2 with the same stress pattern? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 111213 . , . , . . , . . , . , . And what we see at our level is an illusion But since the “And” is unstressed, we can treat it as a pickup. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101112 . , . , . . , . . , . , . And what we see at our level is an illusion That has a kind of stuttering rhythm to Read more about 8.3 Stamping Our Foot on Line 2[…]
But that’s too fancy for us just yet. Let’s start off with one of the simplest feet possible: “, .” with the understanding that a line can have a single pickup syllable that is unstressed. How many times should we repeat the foot on each line? As many times as we need in order to Read more about 8.2 Stamping Our Foot on Line 1[…]
We are working with the following set of lyrics. I sometimes worry that reality lies above us or below us And what we see at our level is an illusion We either must reduce ourselves to the particles that compose us Or submit to being nothing but the parts of some supergroup Last chapter, we Read more about 8.1 Rythmic Sculpting Continues[…]
And finally, for line four: “Or submit to being nothing but the parts of some supergroup.” We’ve already used “nothing but” in line 2, so we probably should get rid of that here. It is, as it were, “too soon” to repeat it. Likewise, we’ve already used “parts,” and so we need to change that. Read more about 7.5 One More Duplication (Line 4)[…]
Now for line 3: “We either must reduce ourselves to the particles that compose us.” The phrase “particles that” fits the section of the rhythm where “reality lies” and “see with our eyes” are in lines 1 and 2. But to get it in the right place, we’d need to shorten the first part of Read more about 7.4 Duplicating the Rhythm in Line 3[…]
Now we need to figure out if we can make the other four lines fit the same rhythm. At the moment, line 2 says, “And what we see at our level is an illusion.” That is too short. We need 15 syllables, and it only has 13. Furthermore, its first word is “and” which would Read more about 7.3 Duplicating the Rhythm in Line 2[…]
Some inspiration from “Pop Goes the Weasel” helps us refine the first line.
Is “Hey Ya” by Outkast? Or by André 3000? Did America elect [???]? Or was it just a small group of crazy people? Social ontology is fun for the whole family!
We begin sculpting the rhythm of the rough lines from the previous post.
We start by just getting what we want to say on paper. We’ll worry about HOW we say it later. It’s okay to write something clunky, awkward, and boring-sounding to start.
Is it really okay to use negative feelings and experiences as inspiration for writing lyrics? Does focusing on negative things like that just make you depressed? Or is it part of redemption?
Let’s talk about some strategies for coming up with something to write about. First, I find it easiest to get motivated to write about things that make me feel scared, angry, worried, or frustrated. So, if you’re looking for something to write about, you might start by asking yourself what you feel scared, angry, worried, Read more about 6.2 Finding Inspiration[…]
Our list of reasons for writing lyrics began with several different situations in which you actually have something you want to say. When you have something to say, you don’t need to have music first. What you want to say will be the initial constraint that guides your writing, rather than listening for parts of Read more about 6.1 Writing Words without Music[…]
In this post, we examine another set of lyrics to explore the various ways in which lines can be interlinked.
To see more concretely what it means for lines to have internal links (rather than just rhyming ends), let’s examine a song I wrote. (I don’t want to violate anyone’s copyright by quoting their song in full.)
C. S. Lewis was an amazing poet, though most people have only read his prose. In this post, we examine the way Lewis used internal links and other structure to make his poetry awesome.