Thursday, May 03, 2007

Economy of words

Today I talked with Ben Senterfit about the economy of words. We were analyzing the lyrics to a song I'm working on. The discussion centered around how much detail do you need? and How to describe something with one word instead of two? An example is hot water heater (do we really need the word hot). Ben's point was the less words you use, the more weight each word gets. Also, the less you define, the more the listener can develop their own image.

A example from today was:

I started out with "The first drop of rain falls on the mountain top,"

then went to "A drop of rain falls on the mountain top,

we ended up with "a drop falls on the mountain top."

I'm not sure if I like it, but its an option. The key to crafting a song is to have options and then pick the one that works best.

P.S. I cut the number of words in half when editing this post. It works in writing too!

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At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Rob Roper said...

I agree, you should always send your first draft through the "economy of words" filter, and see what can be cut.

Also search for "I feel" and "I felt like" and see if those can be eliminated. 90% of the time they're unnecessary. For example, in my song "Bipolar", I originally wrote:

"Last week it felt like I was living /
on the shady side of the street"

I changed it to:

"Last week I was living /
on the shady side of the street"

Of course it's a metaphor for being depressed; it's understood not be literal, so it's not necessary to say "felt like". And it made it easier to work into the melody.

-Rob Roper


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