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[1] [2] Lyrics are words that make up a song, usually composed of verses and choruses. A lyricist is a songwriter. However, the words of an extended musical composition, such as an opera, are often called the "libretto" and its author "librettoist". The meaning of the lyrics can be explicit or implicit. Some texts are abstract, almost incomprehensible, and in such cases their descriptions emphasize symmetry of form, articulation, measure and expression. Rappers can also create lyrics (often with a variation of words that rhyme) that are intended to be sung rhythmically rather than sung.

The word lyrics is derived from the Latin lyrics, which comes from the Greek word λυρικός (lurikós), which is the adjective form of the lyre. It first appeared in English in the mid-16th century regarding the Petrarch translations of the Earl of Surrey and his own sonnets. Greek lyric poetry was defined by the way it was sung to the accompaniment of a lyre or kithara, as opposed to official epics or more fiery laments sung to flute accompaniment. The personal nature of many verses of the Nine Poets, meaning 'lyrical' in the present, but ultimately in the original Greek 'lyric' - 'poetry with lyre', i. H. "words set to music" - led to its use as "lyrics", first approved in Stainer and Barrett's 1876 Dictionary of Musical Terms. Stainer and Barrett used the word as a singular noun: "lyric, poem, or blank verse intended to be set and sung to music". In the 1930s the present use of the plural tantum "texts" began; It has been the standard for many writers since the 1950s. The singular form "lyric" is still used by authorities such as Alec Wilder, Robert Gottlieb, and Stephen Sondheim to denote the full lyrics of a song. However, the singular form is also commonly used to refer to a particular line (or phrase) in a song's lyrics.