Today I stumbled upon Visualizing Repetition in T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets . Will Kurt devised a simple and brilliant method to visualize repetition structure in poems and lyrics. And that got me wondering, how would lyrics of Hindi songs look in this visualization?
They have so much repetition and so many different repeating patterns in the lyrics I was pretty sure I would find something interesting. So, I coded a similar and simpler version (visualize-lyrics).
What will the visualization look like?
You’ll be seeing a grid for each song. Each square in the grid visually represents the similarity between two lines of the song. The bluer the square is, the more similar the two lines are. Maroon means the lines are dissimilar. A color legend is attached with each image for clarification.
What patterns can you look for?
Repeating patterns in blue correspond to repeating patterns in the song. More maroon means the lyricist used lots of different words and did not adhere to a lyrical structure. Remember the grid will be symmetric about the diagonal. So, don’t look for that.
Let’s get started.
1. Rim Jhim Gire Saawan
A short and melancholic song. It returned the following:
The lyrics Rim jhim gire saawan, Sulag sulag jaaye mann is shown by the repeating blues. I daresay the grid resembles falling raindrops which is also the visual imagery created by the lyrics. Most probably just a coincidence.
2. Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si
Here’s another song set against the backdrop of rain. And its visualization:
Again falling raindrops! Am I onto something here? On a more serious note (Inserted music pun. Score!), this is a longer song and the lyrical structures are very evident. Heck, the structures are almost symmetric about themselves too. That’s sheer brilliance.
3. Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh
I chose this song on purpose. It has too many repetitions.
So many that maroon can’t be assigned as the background color. And the number of big squares formed shows how this song’s music is also structured.
4. Emotional Atyachar
I included this because the repeating structure in this song develops around the middle and by the end we are only left with Tauba tera jalwa… emotional atyachar. So the visualization gives us this:
This is a very powerful song whose lyrics don’t give in to direct repetition to get lyrical structure.
The lack of blue squares and increased number of yellow squares shows how the lyricist follows a certain structure but does not repeat lines altogether.
Speaking of repeating lines altogether, one cannot ignore the contribution of a certain Mr. Himesh Reshammiya and his lyricists. As an apt ending to anything about repeating lyrics, I attach this masterpiece.
And its cosine-similarity graph.
The repeating pattern is so damn beautiful. Lots of descending electric rays, seeking the deepest crevices on earth, in the hope that the ocean will muffle the song that created them.