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lyric


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[li-rik]

In the modern sense, any fairly short poem expressing the personal mood, feeling, or meditation of a single speaker (who may sometimes be an invented character, not the poet). In ancient Greece, a lyric was a song for accompaniment on the lyre, and could be a choral lyric sung by a group (see chorus), such as a dirge or hymn; the modern sense, current since the Renaissance, often suggests a song-like quality in the poems to which it refers. Lyric poetry is the most extensive category of verse, especially after the decline—since the 19th century in the West—of the other principal kinds: narrative and dramatic verse. Lyrics may be composed in almost any metre and on almost every subject, although the most usual emotions presented are those of love and grief. Among the common lyric forms are the sonnet, ode, elegy, haiku, and the more personal kinds of hymn. Lyricism is the emotional or song-like quality, the lyrical property, of lyric poetry. A writer of lyric poems may be called a lyric poet, a lyricist, or a lyrist. In another sense, the lyrics of a popular song or other musical composition are the words as opposed to the music; these may not always be lyrical in the poetic sense (e.g. in a narrative song like a ballad). For a fuller account, consult Scott Brewster, Lyric (2007).

Subjects: Literature.


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