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The latest inspirational column from Rev. Dr. John Kreutzwieser.
Word Wisdom

My spouse, Patti, enjoys writing songs, especially for children. She spends hours on the lyrical content, matching the words with the notes of music that she pens. The results are very good, at least as far as I am concerned. Her songs have been used at kid’s events and church conventions across Canada and the United States.

Lyrical means relating to song lyrics or having an artistically beautiful expressive quality, suggestive of song. The lyrical content of a song is the words.

An author can write a lyrical account of Moose Jaw’s history, if the writing is done in a melodious style.

In the May 8 edition of The New Yorker (2023), renowned artist and contributing editor at Frieze magazine Chris Wiley, wrote, “Charlie Engman studied Japanese and Korean at Oxford University and became interested in photography after stumbling on a book by the Japanese artist Rinko Kawauchi, who makes lyrical pictures of nature and domestic life.”

Lyricism is a term used to describe a piece of art considered to have deep emotions.

The linguistic roots of lyrical come from the Greek word lyrikos, meaning singing to the lyre (a small U-shaped harp). The lyre was highly regarded by the Greeks and was used to accompany intensely personal poetry.

Lyrical was adopted into English in the late 1500s, referring to things pertaining to the use of the lyre. It initially described poetic forms, like odes and sonnets, meant to be sung. Lyrical is now more common to describe creative works that have beautiful or expressive quality, not necessarily connected to music, but have a song-like style.

Lyric is most common in the plural form. A song’s lyrics are its words.

Lyric is still used as a technical term in poetry. A lyric poet writes poems that express direct emotion.

Many opera companies employ a lyric soprano, who has a light voice and melodic style.

Synonyms for lyrical include euphonious, mellifluous, and melodious.

Euphonious means pleasing to the ear. Our new doorbell has a number of noticeably euphonious chimes. Euphonious is derived from two Greek words; eu meaning good, and phone meaning sound or voice.

Mellifluous implies having a smooth, rich flow. She has a mellifluous voice that gets her a lot of work in radio and TV commercials. Mellifluous can also describe a filling that sweetens. The bakery goodies were filled with honey and provided a mellifluous confection.

Melodious signifies having a pleasing or agreeable succession or arrangement of sounds. We keep our bird feeders full at this time of year to hear the melodious sounds of the various birds. This year a pair of orioles stopped in our yard on their migration route to feast on the sweet nectar in the hummingbird feeder and entertained us for a couple of days with their melodious songs.

The Boss (Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen) during a career spanning six decades, is known for his descriptive lyrics and energetic concerts. He often features his backup group, the E Street Band. Clarence Clemons had been a staple on the saxophone until he suffered a stroke in 2011 and died a few days later on June 18. Musical journalist, Stephen Deusner wrote, “On his iconic Born to Run solo, Clemons rockets away from the rest of the E Street Band, his saxophone running double time on an already-revved-up song. He crams his short sequence with notes, as though mimicking the Boss' word-heavy lyrical style, his sax embodying the promise of escape and freedom more than anything else in the song.”


John would like to know if anyone has a sincere interest in a relevant word that he could possibly research for an upcoming column. If so, please send your requests to Words will be selected according to relevance and research criteria. We cannot confirm that all words will be used.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 

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