How do you go about writing a song using strange words?

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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One way to go about this task is to use a narrative within the song.

Bob Dylan often wrote songs that told a story, using each verse to tell sequential parts of an extended story. In doing this, the song uses the story (often) as a loose skeleton, building an atmosphere around that skeleton and presenting a brief tale through poetic language. This method of song writing allows a writer to craft songs that dramatize themes through narrative. 

The chorus of the song becomes a condensed statement on those themes. In your case, the chorus would not necessarily have to include the ten terms you are trying to incorporate, which means that you would be free to use more comfortable verbiage for the section of the song that might require the most melodic creativity. 

For your assignment, this method has the virtue of allowing you to choose a story that might include the ideas that relate to your terms. The story could be about a holiday season where a figure goes shopping but disdains all the products available or resents the obligation of shopping for others. The story could be about preparing for a party of a certain kind, one that might feature some of terms drawn from Jewish language and culture. The story could be anything. By using a narrative, you allow yourself to contextualize the terms you are employing.

Here is a verse from Dylan's "Visions of Johanna," a song using a broken narrative structure to develop ideas on themes of existential angst and cultural stagnation set against an overarching sense of the redemptive power of art/poetry.

Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin' to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin’ you to defy it
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind

For a song, Dylan's lines are rather long, which is one of the virtues of using this narrative strategy when undertaking a task like yours. Long lines mean the writer has space to build context. 

The technique of using a narrative is an alternative to a more strictly poetic approach with short lines dedicated primarily to theme as opposed to story.  

The most important part of writing a song like the one you are writing may be to decide on an attitude or a perspective from which the song will be written. Selecting a point of view and metaphorical temperature for the song, you should be able to then construct the  lyrics so that they make a sensible whole. Building the song with your list of ten words as the basis of the song would be much harder, I would expect, than writing a song from a specific attitude and fitting the terms into a framework built from that attitude. 

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