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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
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The thing I love about Pat's teaching is that he is clear. His metaphors also go a long way for me to grasp the concepts of what he is getting across.Published 29 days ago by Kit Grenon
This book has a lot of great information and is great for someone just starting out in songwriting.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Used this book for a class in Songwriting and it paid off.Published 5 months ago by Robert D. Freid
Bought all 4 of Pat's books and have been slowly working through them. I will probably work through them more than once. Lots of info, examples, guides and some exercises. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Snake Boy
This book is thicker than expected but that means more information and more knowledge is great for me!!! Damn I'm a nerd...Published 15 months ago by Empeccable