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Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure: Tools and Techniques for Writing Better Lyrics (Songwriting Guides) Paperback – December 1, 1991

4.4 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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  • Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure: Tools and Techniques for Writing Better Lyrics (Songwriting Guides)
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  • Writing Better Lyrics
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  • Pat Pattison's Songwriting: Essential Guide to Rhyming: A Step-by-Step Guide to Better Rhyming for Poets and Lyricists
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Product Details

  • Series: Songwriting Guides
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Berklee Press (December 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0793511801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0793511808
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.3 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Simply put, to know Pat's work is to revere it. He is the absolute master of the craft of lyric structure and it's consequential impact on the quality of a song. Period!
Pat Pattison has been teaching lyric song writing and poetry at Berklee College of Music since 1975, and has played an integral part in developing Berklee's songwriting program, which was the first complete songwriting degree program to be offered anywhere, and is arguably the best in the world. Among the many other vast contributions Pat makes to the music industry, he also spends a lot of time writing in Nashville, works for TV and film, and does a ton of workshops and clinics all over the world.
In the forward of "Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure" Pat indicates that "This is not a general book on lyric writing...it's specific purpose is to help you handle your lyric structure more effectively."
This is great because, instead of trying to deal with all aspects of lyric writing in a diluted overview, Pat instead, offers a very concentrated and detailed discourse on the aspect of song craft that seems to be most absent in most songwriters background...the deliberate use of structure.
Throughout the book Pat uses an analogy, comparing lyric writing to juggling. When you juggle, you start with one ball and work on attaining that skill before adding a second, third or fourth ball, or before attempting to juggle with flaming batons or chainsaws.
The first "ball" we want to try and juggle in our lyric development is the identification, study and manipulation of a lyric phrase.
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Format: Paperback
Pat Pattison's book on lyric structure can be recommended only to musicians who are ill at ease with words, and even they will find that the book is padded to three or four times the length it should be.
Pattison's lyrics and the lyrics he quotes (by Sting and Steely Dan for example, as well as "Can't Fight This Feeling"!) are both of poor quality. They use cliched images and tired idioms, and they abuse the apostrophe in a parody of the language of regular Joes ("Leave 'em hangin' . . .").
But worse than this, the book is padded with needless "exercises" repeated over and over to illustrate obvious points. (For example, Pattison reveals to us that if a song lyric's lines go from longer to shorter, the pace will speed up, and if they go from shorter to longer, the pace will slow down. Now, we're asked, does this example speed up or slow down? How about this one? How about this one?)No one, even the most non-verbal student at Berklee, where Pattison teaches, needs this.
Pattison's points about structure would make a worthwhile ten- or twenty-page handout, or an acceptable chapter in a book on lyric writing. To inflate them into an entire book, however, is a reprehensible con.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought the below review from 'an amazonian' was a bit negative and bought it anyway. After reading it however I have to agree with everything they stated.

My advice is only get this book if you really, really struggle with lyric form and structure because otherwise you might find that you've wasted your money. I did.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought the book for a course of self study. There are a lot of exercises in the book, which is great, and obviously critical to one's learning progress, but there are no solutions either in the book or anywhere on line. I attempted to use berklee's web site to ask the question about finding solutions, but it kept rejecting my question so I emailed "customer service". They told me they were too busy to answer and that I should use the web site to ask questions. Guess I won't be buying any more of their books or signing up for any of their courses.
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Format: Paperback
This book to great for the songwriter who needs that extra push from ok songs to great songs. Whether you are starting from scratch or revising songs already written, this book will help you see your songs with an objective eye. Not only will you write better but you'll listen better. You'll learn to listen to hit songs and figure out why they are hits. Great tool for any songwriter.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is just like Meat Loaf's last big hit. It's a great song, but it was even better the first time I heard.it. It's a repeat, seemingly word for word,
from one of his earlier books, You know like when Snicker's, Hershey's etc. resize and repackage the same product for the holidays, oh neat.
He's a great writer on songwriting, but don't buy it if you have a previous work of his, it's simply in a different package.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is such a good songwriting book. I'm a songwriter for the last 13 years, and a new high school English teacher, yet this book has been schooling me! Here are some positives and my difficult.

Positives: It is a workbook, so you learn by practicing. I follow a lot of the rules naturally after years of practice, but he has brought to light new ideas such as matching stress, how to add emphasis, how to make a song pick up faster, etc. It is all relevant to not only lyric writing but poetry. And it isn't simple stuff. He artfully breaks down the complex into much more manageable chunks.

Difficulties: My biggest hangup is that the book doesn't include a way to check any of your work, so although I did it and learned a lot, I may have done it incorrectly (in particular the more difficult section of syllable stress). You also need the internet in addition to the book. There are parts, such as in the syllable stress, where he gives great info, but you need the internet to completely understand what it's saying. However, the book is a good starting point and place to practice it.

Bottom line is that I
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