Subject: One for the pedants: "birdsong".
Posted on: 2021-09-06 07:48:51 UTC

Like, it's a song, because no other term fits it. But it doesn't really meet the criteria at all.

Also: if you sang an operatic aria a capella, I think it would have to be a song. So does that mean you can make something no longer a song by adding instruments to it? That seems weird; I would have assumed songishness was a character of the vocals.

Then again, is it still a song if it's only written? Is Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott" a song, or is it only a song when Loreena McKennitt gets her hands on it? And did her writing a tune for it retroactively make the poem a song?

Just for a little extra quibble: the OED defines a song as having lyrics and a melody, but adds "(hence also) an instrumental piece or passage having structural or other characteristics suggestive of a song." If I play "Three Blind Mice" on a recorder, is it a song...?


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