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The Songwriter's Idea Book by Sheila Davis

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STRATEGY THIRTY-TWOSong, Music, and Dance as Plot Devices

Some Background

Because we so commonly use both music and dance as metaphoric, euphemistic or symbolic stand-ins for a variety of concepts, those words often appear in lyrics figuratively to suggest something other than their literal meaning. For example, in the title “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” music acts as a metaphor for “be your own person.” In “I've Heard That Song Before,” song—as in the expression “don't give me that song and dance”—acts as a metaphor for insincere talk. In “Do You Want to Dance?” dance acts as a euphemism (metonym) for the four-letter vulgarism for sex. “Dancing in the Dark”—the Dietz/Schwartz standard—symbolically implies that the singer tries to face life's ...

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