Making Lyrics Sing

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Fly me to the moon. I’ve got you under my skin. The lady is a tramp. How long has this been going on? We hear the words, and we hear the music too.

The lyrics from the Great American Songbook linger in the mind. Can’t go on, everything I have is gone, stormy weather. There’s a reason these lovely words, from the ’20s to the pre-rock-and-roll ’60s, keep ringing in our ears. They follow a formula, as strict as a Shakespearean sonnet. Thirty-two bars, a set rhyme scheme, a verse that serves as an hors d’oeuvre, a chorus as satisfying as dessert. Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you.

Out of the strict confines of structure come miracles of concision, songs that bring pure pleasure. We’re learning the tricks that make those lyrics sing, forever and a day.
(Hosted by Tom Askbrook)


William Zinsser, author of “Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and their Songs;” Jack Perricone, songwriter and chair of the Songwriting Department, Berklee College of Music.