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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Does Songwriter Vocabulary Matter?

Eminem vocabulary imageIn a study looking at the largest vocabularies in the music industry, it seems that rappers take the cake. The Musixmatch lyric site found that 4 out of the top 5 largest songwriter vocabularies come from rap. Here's what they found.

1. Eminem - 8,818 unique words
2. Jay Z - 6,899
3. Tupac - 6,569
4. Kenye West - 5,069
5. Bob Dylan - 4,883

It should be noted that many artist/writers like Bruce Springsteen don't make the list because they haven't granted permission for Musixmatch to use their lyrics.

There have been other studies that have looked at parameters like lyric density and intervals between new words, but this is the first to check overall vocabulary size.

The study looked at 93 top artists across  25 different genres that ranged from pop to new age.

In the grand scheme of things, this matters little to the listener and is far from a factor in determining a hit, but you can look at it as a gauge of the intelligence of the writer. On the other hand, Julio Iglecious, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Andrea Bocelli also rank high, and no one has ever accused their songs of catering to intellectuals.

Personally, I'd just prefer to listen and not analyze. Do you think songwriter vocabulary matters?


CoopMusic247 said...

I think different things matter to different people for different reasons and even at different times. I enjoy large vocabularies in hip hop/rap, but I prefer complex ideas broken down into simple concepts and words for most songs, especially pop. Then again, I like surprises too.

Anonymous said...

Art is about simplification. If you can say something profound with simple language and few words, THAT is impressive.
Nobody counts the colors used in a painting.

Anonymous said...

As the previous commentator stated I agree songwriting is the art of communicating with the least amount of words. this practice can be very difficult to do at times. But so many words and syllables can fit into a given measure. Breaking up the words to fit into a given melody is the challenge. Cramming a lot of words destroy often times destroy melody and in music melody and rhythm is king.

Rand said...

I'm sorry, did I miss something? Since when has (c)rap ever qualified as music?


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