• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 6. THE PRINCIPLE OF ONIONS > Searching for Lyrics

Searching for Lyrics

Are there really lyrics to that song you're listening to or is the singer just saying “Ugga oomp blat argh”? Now you can find out by searching for the lyrics online. Though the lyrics transcriptions provided by any given Web site are not guaranteed to be accurate, they'll get you a lot further than “ugga oomp.”

Full-Text Engines

For full-text engines the onion is simple. Search for the name of the artist, if you know it, and one line of lyrics that you're absolutely sure of, the more unique the better. If you're not sure of a single word within a line, use the full word wildcard. A nice narrow search therefore might look like this:

"they might be giants" "dot or is he a speck""

06-01. A simple search still gets a lot of lyric results. (Image from http://www.google.com/search?q=%22they+might+be+giants%22+%22dot+or+is+he+a+speck%22%22&sourceid=opera&num=100&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8.)

This search will get you results. But if it doesn't, start by removing the line of lyrics (you might be absolutely certain that you have the right lyrics, but you might be wrong) and substitute the name of the song:

"they might be giants" "particle man"

If that still doesn't work, use the band name and the words “lyric” and “search”—remove the song title. If you're lucky you'll land on a lyrics search engine.

Do you see how you're moving from more specific to more general with just a few searches?

Searchable Subject Indexes

Searchable subject indexes are lousy for searching for the lyrics for one song. Instead, you'll want to use them to search for lyrics collections. Search for the name of the band and the word “lyrics”:

"they might be giants" lyrics

Not only will that get you results, but you'll also discover that there's a category for that band, which will lead you to other resources if you want them.

The two techniques above will work for any band that's halfway well-known. But you may be interested in a band that has only a regional following. In that case you'll have to realize that “as specific as possible” is not going to be very specific. You may have to go to Google and just search for the band name and the word “lyrics.”

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint