Songs constitute a valuable part of the oral tradition because they have persisted through generations almost unaffected. A song was always a kind of technique, which helped people to transmit information from one generation to another. But why is it songs have outlived the generations of people and remained unchanged?
The secret of songs may be revealed if you attempt to fix a song into the written form (the text of lyrics and music notes). The written form can help us to analyze the structure of a live song. But looking at the text of lyrics and music notes you can only guess about many aspects which make this song a unique musical composition.
What is the difference between the written form and a live song?
The written form lacks the information related to the singer’s voice, as well as the information about the manner of sound production, visual information that accompanies the act of singing and other aspects of information — all of which make people experience the unique impression produced by this song. In other words the written form loses a significant and very important part of a song, which helps people to perceive and memorize the song.
The fact of revealing the structure can lead us to consider a song as a means for verbal coding of human speech. Let’s look closely at the definition of coding.
The coding is the arrangement of loosely connected (or not connected) elements of information into a complete system. All elements are collected together into some system and become organized by the rules of this system.
Now, let us look through the properties of the conception of a song.
- A song has the visual structure of a text (the structure of lyrics). The text of lyrics has several stanzas and a repeated refrain. The number of stanzas usually varies from 2 to 5. Each stanza has definite number of lines and the lengths of lines being in corresponding positions are equal.
Thus I can conclude that a song has repeating cyclic structure. This is very important! Since the compact structure of a song can be observed, recognized and memorized visually.
- The conception of a song includes rhyme, rhythm and a melody. In fact, these three features produce a song and constitute the rules of coding of the information in any particular song.
- Another very important component of a song is a plot. The plot is often written in a figurative language, combining images, similes and words that denote mood, psychological atmosphere and colors to reflect the changes in the singer’s interpretation. The changes are mostly psychological and emotional and often characterize the national way of behavior and thinking. The plot is inseparably connected to the structure of a song text. Usually, when I try to recall some episode of any particular song, I’m scrolling the imaginary scenes succeeding one another in my mind.
Now you can clearly see that the conception of a song complies with the definition of the coding. All elements of a song — rhyme, rhythm, a melody, the structure of lyrics, the plot are collected together and constitute a song, which anyone can easily perceive.
Is a song the best way of memorization for humans?
This is a well-known fact that the best memorization of any object happens when
- the perception of the object for memorization activates all possible parts of a human nervous system and
- this object is the object with distinct structure.
As it is pointed out above, a song has the structure in accordance with the rules of the coding. A person can perceive a song through hearing and vision. The process of listening to a song unites the functioning of both hemispheres of a human brain, and sooner or later a person begins to empathize with a song. This emotional process helps to retain in a person’s memory an indelible trace.
If you compare the memorization via songs with other techniques of memorization, you can conclude that a song uses more parts of human nervous system than any other technique of memorization. The memorization of a text via songs is faster, easier and, as a result, a song makes a long-lasting memory. The more effective way of memorization is currently not known. The understanding of the fact, that a song is a means for verbal coding of human speech, can help us in achieving life-long memorization of foreign words and expressions.
Learn more about the approach using songs at
and about the Via Songs to Russian software (as an example of application of the approach) at