Abstract

Abstract:

Popular songs are ubiquitous in the lives of school-age children, but the construction of traditional school music curricula does not always provide an adequate framework for studying them. In particular, the salience of words qua lyrics is an inescapable feature of popular songs, and recognizing the musical properties of those lyrics opens for study an important dimension of the real-world music that students of all ages engage so readily. Rather than treating song lyrics as separate from the music, I here attempt to establish that lyrics can be treated as musical entities, as demonstrated in scholarship from popular music theorists and musicologists that highlights the musical properties of song lyrics and the musicianship of those who write them. Then, I argue that existing school curricula could do more to give lyrics their musical due, which would not only enhance the teaching and learning of popular songwriting itself, but also may expand notions of what counts as music more broadly, with benefits for school music curricula overall, perhaps especially in the domains of choral and general music.

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