for all the songwriters and musicians out there, how can you tell what time signature a lyric is written in? Someone please explain to me the concept of writing lyrics in different time signatures!! Thank you!

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    The same lyrics can be put to many time signatures. It all depends on how the lyrics are actually performed when put to music. If you can focus in more on the exact problem you are having, we can offer a much better answer. – Dom Mar 3 at 21:26
  • can you explain how to set the same lyrics to different time signature? – Shacquille Mar 3 at 21:41
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    Your question is really broad. Do you know about poetic meters, stresses, etc? legacy.earlham.edu/~tobeyfo/musictheory/Book1/FFH1_CH2/… – Michael Curtis Mar 3 at 21:50
  • This is essentially your fifth question asking the same thing in different ways. You perhaps need to better explain what it is you're actually looking for. – Tetsujin Mar 4 at 7:43

Lyrics, and poems, often have a rhythm to them. When they're spoken (no need for music), there will be certain words that are naturally emphasised. That will give a basic beat to how they're spoken. Unlike prose, which is how a story might be read - without any specific rhythm.

By reciting these lyrics, and tapping a foot at the same time, a 'feel' will be apparent. Between the more emphasised syllables, a number of beats can be counted. That's the answer to 'different time signatures'!

Sometimes, a set of words can be recited in a couple of different ways. That's then up to the composer to decide which they prefer.

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There are long and short syllables and there are long and short notes.*) You can choose any rhythm you want to underlay to your lyrics, as long you respect the long and short syllables. Mark the syllables of your text with long and short underlines. Mark also the accents (the words you emphasize). Read your text only speaking "long short long" etc.

If a verse doesn't correspond to the rhythmic phrase you can make a rest at each line.

The best is you try different solutions. By this way you will learn the note lengths and the different possibilities.


e.g. __ _ __ _ long short can be 2:1 or 3:1 (there are no rules at all!)

So "long short" can be notated in a rhythm of half notes and 4th notes or 4th notes and 8th notes or by dotted notes. So this can be notated as 3/4, 6/8 or dotted in a duple meter.

_ _ _ _ is mostly an upbeat.

long short and short long very frequent patterns, but also long short short ...

If you can present a text here with your marks (underlines) and eventually an your own task you will be probably better helped here.

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