Multiple times in the past I've considered creating this blog for all the former users who wished to help with song pages but were unsure about how to construct them. Today I'm going to finally go over the important aspects of song pages for everyone so any confusion can be cleared and obstacles blocking editing of these pages can be lifted. The basic structure of these pages will be first outlined before editing technicalities and singer attribution are discussed.
The Basic Structure
Nearly every song page is constructed the same (with few clear exceptions such as "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)"). Each song page is expected to have four primary parts: the intro paragraph, a video, the lyrics, and relevant categories.
This paragraph seeks to inform the reader of the background information about the song, including, at minimum, who originally sung it, whether it's a cover or original, and where a fan is able to find it (episode, album, game, etc). Other relevant information may consist of whether the song is a single, if there are multiple versions, if it's comprised of multiple parts, or if the song contains lyrics that are heavily modified. The writer or composer aren't usually included unless relevant to the franchise or when there's no clear original singer (old classic tunes, for example).
If the song is part of a longer list of albums (typically five or more), the albums aren't stated in the intro paragraph but instead in a separate headed section below the lyrics that is then linked to from the intro. Many of the Christmas songs, such as "All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)," are formatted this way.
Our Video Policy outlines some specifics regarding videos. The songs themselves are typically the sole focus here, and videos that are fan collaborations (fan fiction), include lyrics, have images not related to the song (ie. CGI film characters in a video of a song only sung in the 80s series), or clips of an episode/film aren't encouraged and tend to be deleted or replaced.
Our Manual of Style lists some requirements for the lyrics section(s). Song lyrics are broken up into the different song versions, if more than one exists, and the original version is typically the first listed (sometimes the shortest version appears first just so it doesn't get lost at the bottom of a page). Dialogue is only added to a lyrics section if it's within an album track, not an episode, special, or film. Background lyrics (discussed more below) are also provided on most song pages.
The wiki has an extensive, and highly organized category system, and there are more categories for song pages than any other article type. All songs should be included within the Songs category. Other potentially relevant categories can be found on similar song pages or by looking through the Songs category tree for when a category should/shouldn't be used. New song categories should be discussed before being added to articles.
Part of the confusion of song page editing and creation revolves around the way these pages were/are constructed. Granted songs make up about a third of the wiki's content, consistent structure and appearance on various devices (such as small screen mobile devices) are taken more seriously to provide the best reader experience. Given the methods available to achieve these goals, editing can unfortunately be more difficult for some users.
Song Header Template
As with the basic structure, nearly all song pages use the Song Header template at the top of the page. The details of the header are provided in the template's documentation, though the most important parameters are
Header, containing the title for a video uploaded, the intro paragraph, and a different header title (if there are multiple song versions), respectively.
Lyric Poem Tags
All lyrics sections (and pieces of lyrics that repeat) are wrapped in
<poem></poem> tags, which automatically style the lyrics section. These tags allow lyrics to look pleasing on all devices while simplifying formatting for users with experience using the editors (see Making Your First Edits for more details). As long as these tags are used, simple line breaks are all that's needed between lines of lyrics.
Using the tags in the middle of a lyrics section will cause a line to appear before and after the section of repeated lyrics. Tags should only be used this way if all lyrics (including background lyrics) are the same. At the end of the repeated section, (Repeat) or (Repeat 2x), is added to the second line below those lyrics.
As mentioned above, some songs have multiple versions, hence have multiple song lyric sections. To create a new section for a new version, simply create a new header (based on the origin of that version) and use the lyric poem tags. The SongTabs template is then added after each song version header (details can be found in the template's documentation). Between the SongTabs and the opening tag, a video for that version is added by using the code
<span class="lyrics-vid">[[File:Add the video file name here|right|200px]]</span>.
One of the biggest issues I've encountered with new song pages is users copying existing song pages to make new ones. The problem with this idea is that new users copy the visual version of a page instead of the source version (this usually leads to an editing disaster). If copying the formatting from an existing page is what you prefer to do, copy the source version instead (be sure you've read the blog Making Your First Edits if you haven't yet!). The recommended method is using the wiki's song preload template, accessible when using the Classic editor.
The last topic to discuss is singer attribution and formatting, some of which is mentioned in the Manual of Style as well. All singers (not background singers) should be attributed within the lyrics section (all singers are mentioned in the intro paragraph) by bolding and italicizing them (don't do either in the intro paragraph). Only refer to a singer's first name if performing lyrics solo.
Background lyrics and multiple singers singing at once is another point of confusion. Background lyrics are always in smooth brackets and aren't attributed while multiple singers in a single verse are attributed (within smooth brackets next to the main singer) as well as their non-background lyrics being included within smooth brackets. The purpose of multiple singer attribution is to distinguish that the lyrics are not background harmonization while maintaining a better lyric structure. "Trouble" is an example of multiple singers and "Bad Romance" some simple background.
A decent amount of information was covered for relatively simple looking articles, and, of course, more detail could have been provided in some of the mentioned areas. I'm hoping this blog was detailed enough that it's helped to give constructive guidance to anyone considering to add song pages, or simply to work on existing ones. If there are any questions/concerns, I'd be happy to continue the discussion in the comments below!
Still reading and are interested in more minor particulars. The following is a quick list!
- If unsure of any lyrics, add an ellipsis (...) in the place of the word(s) and/or discuss them on the song's talk page. Be sure you leave a space before (if not the first word or entire line) and after. Prior to saving, add the page to the Missing Lyrics category.
- If a sentence or word is suddenly cut off by another singer/speaker, add a hyphen (-) immediately succeeding it (ie. "But I didn't-"). Don't use an ellipsis!
- Add an apostrophe (') to any word that's spoken incompletely (ie. goin', c'mon, 'til).
- Sections of dialogue should always have proper punctuation after every sentence, whereas song lyrics themselves shouldn't contain periods or commas at the end of lines (only exclamation points and question marks, where appropriate).
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