Filler & Fluff

The great lyric writers seem to find ways to say so much in so few words.  The fact is, when you really only have 2 or 3 verses and a chorus in which to communicate, you quickly begin to recognize the importance of the tiny words.  When writing a lyric, every single word counts.  For you young folks, think of it like Twitter, where you can’t afford to waste a character … where you use short-links and you sum it all up in a very limited space.

There are no “throw-away” words and certainly no “filler”, in songwriting.  Choose your words wisely.  Recognize that even the tinyest words can sometimes make the biggest difference in a lyric.  Become a master of the small words; they deserve your attention.

According to songwriter, Jimmy Webb in his book, Tunesmith- Inside the Art of Songwriting,

“Conjunctions such as “but”, “of”, “and”, “or”, “when”, etc. can have a surprisingly potent effect on an entire line.”*

He gives the following examples to show how conjunctions matter:

  • I loved her but she let me down
  • I loved her and she let me down
  • I loved her when she let me down

So be careful not to discount the importance of the small words.  You have a confined space in which to work, so don’t waste a word.

* Copyright 1998 Jimmy Webb. Available here at


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