Australian Song Lyrics Analysis

Two questions.

Who is Australia’s most erudite lyricist?

And how can you embed the General Capabilities in secondary music lessons?

Aussie Song Lyric Readability

In answer to the first (but no spoliers here, let me tell you) you’ll need to read all the way to the bottom of  How complex are Aussie song lyrics? Analysis shows our wordiest songwriters to find out. The article looks at readability scores, length and the difference between being able to read the words and having the life experiences necessary to understand them. Along the way there’s fine (YouTube linked) examples of our best talent, from Paul Kelly and ‘Dumb Things’ through to Kasey Chambers and ‘Nothing at All’.

Embedding General Capabilities

Now let’s use the con concept of assigning readability scores to song lyrics as a way of embedding general capabilities into music lessons:

Start with the article. It will make a fine primer and Australian-artist orientation for students before delving into lyrical analysis.

Now have students collect lyrics from their favourite artistes and paste them (the lyrics, not the artists)  into Word.

  • Click the File tab, and then click Options.
  • Click Proofing.
  • Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, make sure the Check grammar with spelling check box is selected.
  • Select Show readability statistics.

Word will also give a word count for the text. Record the results and organise them in Excel. Their efforts might look a little like this, from The Dumbest Hits of the Last Decade:

Click for full size view: from ‘The Dumbest Hits of the Last Decade

Questions to ask. Which artist pitches (hah!) their lyrics at the lowest reading age? Which at the highest? Who has the longest word count? Shortest? What’s the average readability? Who uses the longest words? Shortest? What correlations can be found across genres? What other generalisations can be made?

So what General Capabilities have been covered? You can certainly tick off:

Literacy

  • Comprehending texts through listening, reading and viewing
  • Text knowledge
  • Grammar knowledge
  • Word Knowledge

ICT

  • Investigating with ICT
  • Communicating with ICT
  • Managing and operating ICT

Numeracy

  • Estimating and calculating with whole numbers
  • Using fractions, decimals, percentages, ratios and rates
  • Interpreting statistical information

Critical & Creative Thinking

  • Inquiring – identifying, exploring and organising information and ideas
  • Generating ideas, possibilities and actions
  • Inquiring – identifying, exploring and organising information and ideas

Resources

 

 

Radik Tyulush

A big shout out to Radik Tyulush, a truly gifted Tuvanese musician who gave me permission to use his photograph in my A-Z Musical Instruments Poster Pack. (I is for Igil!)

He learned throat singing and playing the Igil from his grandfather and since graduating from the Kyzyl School of Arts performed in the folk groups “Tyva”, “Yat- ha”, and won a BBC Award for World Music. He is the youngest member of the “Huun Huur Tu.

The Internet still amazes with its potential to make international connections!

Links:

Radik Tyulush: Facebook

Radik Tyulush: Home page

 

A-Z Musical Instruments Poster Pack

I’ve been looking for a set of A-Z musical instrument posters for our music room. But most sets seem to skimp on the difficult instruments (quick- name an instrument beginning with I, N, Q or Y!) and many are just line drawings.

So I’ve created my own with all letters represented including I for Igil, N for Nyckelharpa, Q for Quena and Y for Yanqin.

You can download the first set – letters A through H – here for free and I’ve included links for the other two packs and the first ‘expansion pack’ below. They’re just £3.90 (around $6.50) on the TES store.

A-Z Musical Instruments Poster Pack Set 1: A-H

Download: A-Z Musical Instruments Poster Pack Set 1 A-H

This is Set 1  (containing 8 posters)  of the A-Z Musical Instruments Poster Pack, a collection of 26 alphabetical posters in three packs depicting a range of common and uncommon musical instruments. Set 1’s eight posters include the Accordion, Bassoon, Clarinet, Didgeridoo,  Electric Guitar, Flute, Glockenspiel and Harp.

Each instrument poster features a highlighted alphabet-letter, colour and icon coded categorisation, a large photograph of the instrument, smaller supporting photographs of features and playing positions and an information box detailing alternative names, era of development, related instruments and more. Just the resource to brighten your music room walls or use as a hands on lesson resource!

It also includes a PowerPoint presentation with audio files (or YouTube links ) of each instrument.Use the PowerPoint presentation to introduce new instruments, feature an ‘instrument of the day’ or supplement other music lessons.

DownloadMusical Instruments PowerPoint A-H

Other sets

Set 2 (I-Q) posters include Igil, Jaw Harp, Kalimba, Lute, Maraca, Nyckelharpa, Oboe, Piano and Quena.

Set 3 (R-Z) posters include Recorder, Saxophone, Timpani, Ukulele, Violin, Washboard, Xylophone, Yangqin and Zither.

Set 4 (Brass) posters include Bass Trombone, Bugle, Cornet, Euphonium, Flugelhorn, French Horn, Sousaphone, Trombone, Trumpet and Tuba.