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Songwriter's Rhyming Dictionary [Paperback]

Sammy Cahn
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

18 Jun 1984
'The Songwriter's Rhyming Dictionary' is for all who know the frustration of seeing their inspiration come to nothing, simply because they just cannot find the right rhymes. No other rhyming dictionary has been put together so carefully, with the songwriter's needs so much in mind. But this dictionary is more than just a collection of rhyming words: it is a companion no songwriter can afford to be without. The introduction alone is full of generous tips and amusing anecdotes, and as Sammy Cahn reminices about his songs and how he came to find the right rhyme for every occasion, he gives the reader invaluable insights into the whole process of songwriting. Most important of all, he reveals the secret of that extra 'something' that made his songs the perennial favourites they remain - the fact all his rhymes are singable. I doesn't matter what the rhyme looks like on paper, he tells the reader, it is how it sounds when sung that counts. And so the 50,000 words contained in this dictionary are arranged phonetically, according to vowel sounds, rather than alphabetically. For anyone with a song in his heart but a block in his mind, there is no better guide than Sammy Cahn's 'Songwriter's Rhyming Dictionary'.

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Songwriter's Rhyming Dictionary + The Penguin Rhyming Dictionary (Dictionary, Penguin)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Souvenir Press Ltd; Reprinted Ed edition (18 Jun 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0285626469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0285626461
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Sammy Cahn was, without doubt, one of the best songwriters ever, with a genius for rhyming that it would be hard to beat. A professional songwriter for more than forty years, he earned over thirty Academy Award Nominations and numerous Oscars. He knew everything there was to know about the art of lyric writing, and his dictionary was his bequest to his successors - the fruit of his long experience.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, highly useful book 22 July 2005
As a keen singer / songwriter, I often need to come up with decent lyrics very quickly, as well as avoiding obvious, overdone rhymes.
Sammy Cahn's Songwriting Dictionary was the first of its kind to be written from the singers', amateur or professional lyricist or jingle writers point of view, unlike other dictionaries that are geared towards linguists and poets. If you can rhyme parlimentary with elementary and get a good tune out of it, you're a better writer than me! Lyrics are not the same as poetry!
Perhaps most enlightening is the 30 page introduction from Sammy Cahn, himself, explaining the creation of some of his best-known and loved works. This is a masterclass from Sinatra's favourite lyricist, worth the price of the book in itself.
Regardless of whether your tastes run from pop, jazz, musicals, punk (me!) or heavy metal, you can learn something from the intro! Hits and good songs, are hits and good songs, regardless of genre. The fact that his songs are still being sung today is testament to this.
WHAT IT IS NOT - it is not a ready reckoner of rhymes that will give you a surefire hit. Sammy himself says that a rhyming dictionary should provide ideas, not be a substitute for creative thinking and originality.
I personally use a lot of near or impure rhymes in my work (mainly because my singing voice allows me to get away with it!), to break free of stale lyrics. However, there are times when this can be a cliche in itself, so I'll reach for Sammy's tome.
A great price for a great little book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite amazing! 14 Aug 2010
By Mike
On the back cover it says, "The one book no songwriter can do without, by one of the all-time masters of the craft."

I have not read it all as its a reference book, but what I have read certainly made me smile. My songwriting is a solitary life as I use Band-in-a-Box for my musical creation and this book fills that gap of not having a companion to help break down the barriers (blocks) that we all face at times. My method of songwriting is to create music and then let my creative mind put lyrics to it. With this book, I am able to polish my rhymes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could be more comprehensive 16 Dec 2009
Decently priced and written from a songwriter's point of view, it's probably the best you'll get for the money. However, this is quite a slim volume, not overly comprehensive, and quite confusing to navigate. Personally I found that it served me quite well for my first couple of years as a songwriter, and then I felt the need to upgrade. If you've got a little more money to spend, I would recommend the Oxford Rhyming Dictionary instead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book 13 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got it on the recommendation of my music teacher, and it didn't disappoint. It gives some useful theory on songwriting, and the dictionary itself as well; a compact book, not too big or difficult. A good addition to a musician's library.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The works of Sammy Cahn 6 Mar 2010
By Red
I bought the 'Songwriter's Rhyming Dictionary by Sammy Cahn because I needed a rhyming dictionary for my own songwriting.

As a rhyming dictionary, I found it very disappointing; although not completely impossible to use, it is nonetheless rather limited and very dated, and so I would say it was not a lot a use for modern writing.

However, the introduction by Cahn I found extremely entertaining and informative, both biographically and as an appreciation of the working methods of a successful songwriter.

If you are happy with a 28 page insight into the work of Sammy Cahn, you will be very satisfied (as indeed I have been). On the other hand, if you simply need a rhyming dictionary, you'd be better off looking elsewhere.
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