Minimum requirements for lyrics

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I recently stumbled over some borderline cases regarding lyrics.

There are several tracks with vocal credits, but most of them do not have actual lyrics. I try to differentiate between composer and lyricist credits, and I did not add a lyricist if only O-o-oooh or suchlike is sung. On other tracks I doubt that the “written by” credits apply on the sung or spoken lyrics. Especially on Sublimity ‘Bunny’s Dream’ where South African singer Jonathan Butler sings a few lines in an African language. The 3 credited writers (Miller, Alex Han and Brett Williams) are all Americans. On other tracks there are only a few phrases (improvisation?) and I don’t think these words are actually written.

Should I switch the “writers” to “composers”? :thinking:

Previous to this album on two consecutive albums I found songs with very, very spare lyrics.

On Change the lyrics consists of only one word and that’s the title, repeated several times.

Should there be any lyricist credits at all?

Lourau’s Voodoo House is mainly an instrumental track, with the title and one further line sung, so probably there should be a lyricist credited. Are there any minimum requirements for crediting lyrics writing? :confused:

And there was another (tiny) problem (and of course another topic, but I hope there’s a simple answer)
How should instrument credits be implemented, if information about the appearance of an artist is given on track bases, but the instruments he is credited for are for the whole album?

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My general rule is to use “writer” as the credit unless it explicitly states “composer” and “Lyrics” separately.

Even if I see a “writer” credit on a CD that I know means the artist is writing both words and music then I still stay at the “writer” level.

With the instruments, that is a bit of a headache when you only have “release level” credits. They have to go at the Release level unless you can be sure.

I have some bands where the Release Level credits are almost good enough to just copy to tracks. A drummer always drums on every track, the Bass player only plays her bass, the keyboards are always the same person, another member always on guitar. So I listen to the album to check each track, and give them track by track credits.

And then that pesky lead vocalist will sometimes pick up a guitar… and he ends up being a “performer” on the tracks and his instruments end up listed at the Release. I can’t hear when he has his guitar or not. So I wait until I can see an actual video of a performance to nail him down.

It is that old “if in doubt, leave it out” rule. You put credits at the level you can be sure about. And later if better references appear, this can be adjusted.

I have been known to watch concerts on YouTube with a pen and paper. Noting down when that Mandolin is brought on to stage. Or when they swap from acoustic to electric bass.

One word is lyrics. No words sung mean the language changes to [no lyrics]

“Change” is lyrics. He probably thought long and hard over that single word.

As to the “doobie doobie dooo” type singing. - is this lyrics? I’d say yes. It is a vocalisation, may not be “English”, but any noise created by a voice I’d put down to “lyrics” as you can still write it down phonetically.

Is yodelling singing? I’d say yes even though it is mainly not real “words” used. It is still a form of lyrics as it would sound wrong if the yodeller kept shouting “bananas” instead.

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Is yodelling singing in MB? I would think it’s like an instrument. There is no text at all. (Luckily I have no such recordings :wink: )
And doobie do? I don’t know. Is it lyrics if there is no written lyrics, but improvisation? Do you know Keith Jarrett? His vocalizations are his trademark, but he definitely an instrumental performer.

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The voice is an instrument. And gets used in many ways. Songs don’t have to be literally written on a sheet of paper to have lyrics. The words don’t need to be perfect grammar or even make sense.

I have no idea who Keith Jarrett is. Got an example YouTube link?


Famous piano player:

But I’ve checked, no lyrics credited, not even vocals, although there far more heard then on an average Marcus Miller album.


I asked about YouTube just so I could hear an example. I tried to do a quick search myself by all I got was someone gurning while playing a piano. He looked in pain all those weird face expressions. :smiley:

If he is playing instrumental pieces, the set him as “[no lyrics]” as the language and credit him as either writer or composer.

Yeah - that was the weird gurning link I mentioned :rofl: He looks in pain. But that is an hour and fifteen minutes and a bit long to whizz through just to hear if he sings at any stage.

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He starts singing after a few seconds, but it seems to be an older recording where his voice was only captured by the micro in the grand piano he played. Later he had a special microphone only to record his voice.
That’s an old one too, but I tried to copy a part where he actually performs vocal contribution.

Ah - so it is a different recording. This is only 5mins - the other was over an hour. Same weird expression though.

Did you actually listen to this example? This 5:14 piece starts with clapping from the audience in the first seconds, and then goes into piano. I never hear him make a vocal noise at all.

He is playing too fast for me. It reminds me when I used to learn the clarinet as a kid and did not like the teacher. So practing I’d try and race through the pieces as fast as possible to get it over with. :smiley: I am a keyboard man and prefer the keyboard, but something weird about how this guy plays that means I didn’t make it to the end.

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He isn’t very fast in general but his voice is louder if the music gets quicker. I don’t find any new performances on YouTube (solo). And Marcus Miller have far less voice added to have credited vocals. On the first track of this album Miller’s vocal contribution is thanking the audience and saying This is a new song. It seems to be an uncredited live performance.

Hang on… you change the clip. I was talking about the 5:14 video you posted first. I didn’t see the second example. And still can’t hear him say anything. I’d call this a [no lyrics] piece. It is just the piano. He is unlikely to repeat those noises in the same place every time he plays this. He looks like he is just vocalising as he gets carried away.

This is more my type of piano (also I am biased at being Pink Floyd fan). And no words here.


I agree. And it is. But it was about any sung content.

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That is not lyrics. An introduction is separate to the performance of the song.

And, to get more confusing. If there are no words then the Work is not a “song” and ends up with a blank where you would normally select “song”.

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Where is the sung bit? So far there is no singing in any example you have shown.

Really? But there is - it is faint, because the where recorded without separate microphone.
But I agree 100% - there’s no lyricist to credit.

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All I hear are a few groans in the background.

If he played the piece 10 times in a row, would he always make the same noises at the same place?

If someone else performed this piece, would they also make these noises at the same place?

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I suppose these groans are his vocals. :rofl:

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I would say that is an artist just getting carried away and lost in the performance. He clearly is deep in what he is doing otherwise he would not have those facial expressions.

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