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The Songwriter's Idea Book by Sheila Davis

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STRATEGY TWENTY-ONEThe Setting as Framing Device

The Purpose

The majority of lyric “plots” are attitudinal; that is, they merely express the singer's feelings. Placing those feelings in a particular setting lends both distinction and memorability to a lyric. Songs with settings break down into present-tense plots—with the action happening in a particular setting right now—and past-tense plots, where the action happened in a particular setting. A place that's merely referred to (“Sunny Side of the Street”) is not a setting that frames the action.

Present-Tense Titles The Setting
Last Dance a dance floor
One for My Baby a bar
Heaven on the Seventh Floor an elevator
I Will Survive inside the singer's door
Sniper a campus clock tower ...

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