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Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure: Tools and Techniques for Writing Better Lyrics Paperback – Dec 1 1991


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Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure: Tools and Techniques for Writing Better Lyrics + Writing Better Lyrics + The Complete Rhyming Dictionary
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Berklee Press; Softcover edition (Dec 1 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0793511801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0793511808
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 0.7 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #119,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By An Amazonian on Jan. 20 2002
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
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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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31 2000
Format: Paperback
This book encompasses all that is neccessary for writing good lyrics
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 34 reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Book Review � James Linderman Dec 17 2002
By James Linderman - Published on Amazon.com
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. Pat is very skilled in providing perfect examples to show; how to match lyric phrases with the musical ones they sit on, how to write sections of a song with balanced or unbalanced sets of phrases, and how to contrast balanced and unbalanced sections to create a feeling in your listener that the song is moving forward to another section, or is resolving; coming to rest to end that collection of ideas.
This is very cool to know, especially if you are like me and really struggle with lyrics and usually find that, after a lot of frustration, that a structural oversight or flaw is often the problem.
Enough about me...back to the book.
The remaining chapters in the book break your lyric into syllables, rhyme schemes, song parts like; verses, choruses and those dreaded bridges. It then takes a concentrated look at song form and where to place the hook...you know, the part that makes your listener remember that you have a song.
The thing that Pat Pattison's books do better than any other books out there, is that they make people write purposefully objective rather than aimlessly subjective. He does it in a way that channels creativity rather than controlling it and he does it with a sense of style and humour that is very engaging.
I can now see why the publisher decided to name this book, Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure because essential is just how I would describe it.
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
have to agree with the below review March 13 2006
By sherri - Published on Amazon.com
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.
71 of 88 people found the following review helpful
Deeply disappointing Jan. 20 2002
By An Amazonian - Published on Amazon.com
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.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent tool Jan. 28 2006
By Nikki Heyward - Published on Amazon.com
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
awesome April 14 2010
By ted r - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I learned much more than I thought was possible to learn. Great, clear explanations yet very in-depth. Book provides plenty of appropriate exercises which are good for beginner or advanced. My skills grew practically with every page of the book. Note: DO the exercises! They are difficult at first but you really build creative muscle and feel like you understand lyric writing inside out. Also, the examples are mainstream yet interesting and not at all cheezy. Some books with cheezy examples really make it a chore to learn. This book has smart cool examples. In summary, awesome. So far the best of about 8 songwriting books I own.


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