that tell a story have always been a defining characteristic of American
popular music, yet the narrativity of pop music is underrepresented in academic
literature. This paper utilizes a combination of semiotics and narrative theory
to present a systematic method that can be used to analyze and codify the
lyrics of virtually any pop song into one of four major categories based on
whether it has an open or closed reading and a defined or undefined narrative.
It is hoped that this typology can be used both to better understand how pop
music plays a role in cultural storytelling and to aid teachers and students in
the development and understanding of songwriting pedagogy.
Keywords: lyrics, semiotics, narrative theory, songwriting, popular music, music education, music pedagogy
Randle, Quint and Keith Evans. “So
What Does “Set Fire To The Rain” Really Mean? A Typology for Analyzing Pop Song
Lyrics Using Narrative Theory and Semiotics.” Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 13, no. 1 (2013): 125-147. https://doi.org/10.25101/13.7