our motto: we write songs...

Literary criticism has difficulty with sung words...

Many years ago I wrote a (very academic) study of the Irish writer Thomas Moore. And I remarked in passing that 'Thomas Moore is remembered for his lyrics, though there is still little appreciation of his special skills. English literary criticism has difficulty with sung words...'

That was true then, and I do not think that the picture has changed much in the intervening years. Academic literary criticism still refuses to tangle with song - it is, for example, quite difficult to find in current literary criticism a kind word for rhyme. And therefore it is difficult to find sensible analysis of the ways in which rhyme works. Or indeed any analysis of what a lyricist is doing when she or he brings a lyric to the musician and the performer.

At the same time comment on the lyrics of songs seems rarely to get beyond simple enthusiasm, against a background which often seems to privilege the naif and unlettered.

But you do come across sensible comment on the craft of the song lyric. Songlyric.co.uk is the place where I will collect useful articles and links, as I come across them, or track them down.

Send any suggestions to


And Songlyric.co.uk is the place where I will share material to do with specific song development projects,

beginning - March 2013 - with the Robert Story Song Project for the Gargrave Autoharp Festival,

May 31, June 1 & 2, 2013.

Patrick O'Sullivan