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A songwriter is someone who writes the lyrics to songs, the musical composition or melody to songs, or both. That is to say, a songwriter is a lyricist, a composer, or both. The word 'songwriter' is however more commonly used to describe one who writes popular songs than to describe a writer of art songs.

History and background of songwriters

Songwriters may perform the songs they write themselves, or may write for somebody else to perform. People who sing their own songs are nowadays typically called singer-songwriters, although the tradition of doing this dates back hundreds of years. It is often speculated that pre-historic man must have made up and sung songs. More recently, the troubadours of the middle ages sang their own work, as did the German Minnesingers.

Most art songwriting is written for somebody other than the composer to perform, although it is known that Schubert often sang his own songs at private parties, and there have been a number of composers who were also singers and wrote for themselves, Carl Loewe being one example.

Many modern rock and roll bands have one or two songwriters, usually members of the band. In many cases, the lead singer is one of the songwriters.

There have been quite a few popular songwriting teams such as the Tamla Motown team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland and the teams of Lennon and McCartney, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, George and Ira Gershwin, Jagger and Richards, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, Rodgers and Hart, The Bee Gees,the Jackson brothers and Ashford & Simpson.

Many songwriters also serve as their own music publishers, while others have outside publishers. Legally, songs may only be copied or performed publicly by permission of the authors. The legal power to grant these permissions may be bought, sold or otherwise transferred. This is governed by copyright law. Songwriting and publishing royalties can be a substantial source of income, particularly if a song becomes a hit record.

See also

External links

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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