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Figurative Language In Music

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Kara Austria

on 19 September 2013

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Transcript of Figurative Language In Music

Figurative Language In Music
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
Alliteration
"Somehow , someday, somewhere."
Personification
"Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend"
Which type of figurative language do you find most effective in song lyrics?
I know that when Lea Salonga sings "On My Own" as Éponine she is using a simile. When she sings "In the rain the pavement shines LIKE silver" she is comparing rain on the pavement and silver. Two completely unrelated things but when put together it means that the rain on the pavement resembles shining silver. The way the simile was used in this context adds more feeling and depth to Éponine's desire to be loved.
Simile
"In the rain the pavement shines like silver."
http://www.elyrics.net/read/l/les-miserables-lyrics/on-my-own-lyrics.html
Metaphor
I know when Barbara Streisand sings "Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter" in her song "Don't Rain On My Parade" she doesn't mean it literally. If what she were singing was real it would be absurd. Life isn't actually candy it just means that life is sweet from her perspective. The sun isn't actually a ball of butter it just means that she will enjoy the comforts of success (butter is considered as a comfort food). The countless metaphors in her song made it unique and added a deeper meaning to it: Fanny Bryce (her character in "Funny Girl") was headed to success.
"Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter"
http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/barbra+streisand/dont+rain+on+my+parade_20012809.html
In the song "Somewhere" from "West Side Story", Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as Tony and Maria sing "Somehow, someday somewhere." I know it is an alliteration since it repeats the 's' sound.
This verse made the song one of the most
popular love songs in musical theater. It made their characters look and feel
more realistic to the viewing audience.


http://www.metrolyrics.com/somewhere-lyrics-westside-story.html
The song title itself says it all. "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" uses personification. I know this because a diamond is an inanimate object and cannot be anyone's best friend. Personification was used in this song to show Monroe's character-Lorelei and her fondness for rich suitors and their gifts. Today, this song has inspired other singers like Madonna to produce a song similar to "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" (Material Girl).
http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/m/marilyn_monroe/diamonds_are_a_girls_best_friend.html
Onomatopoeia
"Eye on the target and WHAM!One shot one gunshot and BANG!"
We return to the song "Don't Rain On My Parade"where Barbara Streisand uses two onomatopoeias when she sings "Eye on the target and WHAM! One shot, one gunshot and BANG!" 'BAM' and 'WHAM' are onomatopoeias because they sound like what they are. This small verse showed Fanny's 'shots' to be successful and her target being fame and the stage.
Simile
"She was just like a ghost to me, one minute there then she was gone."
Metaphor
"In the darkness the trees are full of starlight,"
Hyperbole
"And so pretty, that I hardly can believe I'm real!"
In the song "On My Own" I found another form of figurative language:a metaphor. When Lea Salonga sings "In the darkness the tress are full of starlight," she doesn't actually mean that the trees are literally full of starlight. What she means is that there is hope for her and her true love. "In the darkness" represents despair and being alone while "the trees are full of starlight," represents hope and that one day someone will love her back. This adds more weight to her despair even further.
http://www.elyrics.net/read/l/les-miserables-lyrics/on-my-own-lyrics.html
http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/barbra+streisand/dont+rain+on+my+parade_20012809.html
When Natalie Wood sings "And so pretty, that I hardly can believe I'm real!", it shows that the song "I Feel Pretty" contains a hyperbole. I know it is a hyperbole because of the exaggeration. No one can believe they're not real because they feel so pretty, that's just delusional. Although as narcissistic as Natalie Wood sounds, this adds to her character Maria feeling more pretty and special because she is in love.
http://www.metrolyrics.com/i-feel-pretty-lyrics-westside-story.html
In "Red and Black" from Les Mis, a simile is used when Marius is talking about the love of his life. "She was just LIKE a ghost to me,". I know it is a simile because of the use of the word LIKE and a simile has the words 'like' or 'as' because it compares two unrelated objects,topics or beings. The use of the simile adds the idea that he only saw his true love for only a fleeting moment.

http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/lesmiserables/redandblack-theabccafe.htm
Hyperbole
"My heart was unprepared when he tapped me and knocked me off my feet"
Alliteration
"What you are, what you do, what you say."
In the song "I Can Hear The Bells" from "Hairspray", Tracy Turnblad played by Nikki Blonsky sings,"My heart was unprepared when he tapped me and knocked me off my feet." in which she uses a hyperbole. I know it is a hyperbole because of the exaggeration: "When he tapped me and knocked me off my feet,". You can't be knocked off your feet when someone taps you, the hyperbole was just used to further emphasize Tracy Turnblad's lovestruck feelings for Link Larkin.
http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/hairspray/icanhearthebells.htm
Personification
Has the moon lost her memory? She is smiling alone
In the song "Memory" from "CATS" Elaine Paige as Grizabella uses personification when she sings "Has the moon lost her memory? She is smiling alone". I know she is using personification because the moon can't actually lose her memory nor can it smile alone as it is not a living thing. Personification was used in this popular song to show Grizabella's despair after the end of her turn to bask in the limelight (I don't know why or how they're just cats).
http://www.metrolyrics.com/memory-lyrics-cats.html
Again, we return to the musical "West Side Story" for it's song "Tonight, Tonight" a song that contains an alliteration. I know "What you are, what you do what you say." is an alliteration because it repeats the 'w' sound. It made the song catchy and set a tone for Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer's characters.
Onomatopoeia
"One that bell will go CLANG!"
http://www.elyrics.net/read/w/west-side-story-lyrics/tonight-lyrics.html
Another onomatopoeia from "Don't Rain On My Parade" is "One throw that bell wil go CLANG!". 'CLANG' is an onomatopoeia since it sounds like what it is. The use of this in Barbara Streisand's song shows that Fanny will be able to make the bell go 'clang' in one throw, this again, further emphasizes that Fanny is star material and it added a nice touch to this now well known song.
http://www.metrolyrics.com/dont-rain-on-my-parade-lyrics-barbra-streisand.html
Even out of musicals and show tunes most singers use metaphors. In the song "Love Is A Battlefield" by Patt Benatar the title itself is already a metaphor. Love isn't actually a battlefield what it means is you have to fight for what you love and sometimes you will get hurt. I think metaphors are the most effective in song lyrics because you can't write out the whole meaning of what you're trying to say because your song would just be dull and too long. Metaphors help fix lengths of songs. Instead of saying "I have to fight for love and occasionally I will get hurt" Patt Benatar just sings "Love Is A Battlefield" because it's more catchy and interesting.

I think metaphors are most effective in song lyrics. When singers and songwriters use metaphors in their songs they can use simple or dramatic words that lead to a deep meaning. Most of the time artists use metaphors, when I looked up the songs that I have on this presentation almost all of them had a metaphor. The two songs "On My Own" and "Don't Rain On My Parade has so many types of figurative language, especially metaphors. " All the lights are misty in the river" and "Freckle on the nose of life's complexion," are just two examples of the countless metaphors in those two songs.
So in conclusion I would say metaphors are the most effective figurative language used in song lyrics because it gives the song uniqueness and depth.
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/patbenatar/loveisabattlefield.html
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