Lyric genre characteristics and elements

Lyric genre

The lyrical genre is a form of literary expression in which an author expresses and transmits his emotions or personal sensations in relation to someone or something that awakens his inspiration.

This genre is usually expressed in poems, that is, through verses, although it can also be in prose through poetic prose. An example of a poem is El País del Sol , by Rubén Darío. An example of poetic prose is Charles Baudelaire’s Little Poems in Prose .

Historically the lyrical genre is known in this way because in Ancient Greece the settlers used the musical instrument known as the lyre to accompany their songs. In addition, this type of poetic manifestation is visible in the biblical episodes related to the psalms of David and the songs of Moses.

The lyrical works stand out mainly for the melody, rhythm and harmony, which are mixed in a balanced way to connect the reader with the most intimate emotions of the author. The content of the lyrical genre is based on literary images or rhetorical figures, such as metaphor, allegory or simile.

For a text to belong to the lyrical genre it must meet certain characteristics and have some elements, among which the lyrical speaker, the lyrical object and the lyrical motif stand out. In modern literature there are innumerable authors who have developed this expressive form.


The lyrical genre has its origin in Ancient Greece. The singers gathered around an audience to sing their most emotional songs accompanied by the lyre as a musical instrument. Hence the lyrical term is related to the lyre.

Etymologically, the lyrical word comes from the Latin word lyricus, which in turn was derived from the Greek. So, the lyric is the ability to express feelings and emotions through poetry as a form of manifestation.

General characteristics


One of the main characteristics of the lyrical genre is expressiveness and the way in which feelings, emotions, thoughts and sensations are transmitted. The content of this literary genre can express joy, sadness, hopelessness, joy, happiness, among others.


The lyrical genre stands out because the author —that is, who announces what he feels— does so in the first person, which means that he gets involved with what is expressed.


The lyric or lyrical genre can deal with a wide variety of topics, all of which will depend on the feelings of the author or speaker. The content of this type of expression can be related to life, nature, the end of existence or the landscape.


The works developed within the lyrical genre are structured or developed in verses, but there is also the particularity of being written in prose and it is called “poetic prose”. The meter and rhythm are subject to the author and are what give intonation and musicality to the work.


Lyrical speaker

It is the character that the author of poetry creates to express his feelings and emotions. Its main objective is to make the reader connect with their most intimate and personal world.

Lyrical object

This element is related to the person or object that inspires the poetic speaker. This type of muse is usually something that can be seen and felt, be it a person or an animal.

Lyrical motif

The lyrical motif refers to the main theme of the work, the type of emotion or feeling that is awakened in the author through the lyrical speaker. It is usually related to some kind of circumstance or experience.


This element of the lyrical genre is associated with the state of mind that the main character of the work or lyrical speaker goes through. Lyric genre characteristics elements

Lyrical attitude

The lyrical attitude is associated with the way the lyrical speaker expresses what he feels. This element comprises three varieties:

Enunciative attitude

In this type of attitude the situations revolve around the lyrical object and not the speaker. In this case the poetic narration or the verses are exposed in the third person, therefore the lyrical speaker is more distant and objective.

Apostrophic or appellative attitude

The apostrophic or appellative attitude refers to the fact that the speaker or fictitious character has a conversation with the lyrical object, and, generally, it involves the reader. In this variety of attitude the second person singular predominates, that is, the “you”.

Carmine or song attitude

This attitude is closely related to what the lyrical speaker feels and expresses it with passion and a reflective character. The carmine attitude mixes the feelings of the speaker or the fictional character with the lyrical object. The poetic content is developed in the first person singular which is none other than the “I”.

Structure of the lyrical genre

Remember that the lyrical genre is expressed mainly through poems. The poem is made up of a certain number of verses that are grouped by stanzas.

On the other hand, in the lyrical genre poetic prose is also presented, that is, the text that is not written in verse . However, it has the same characteristics of a poem in terms of rhythm, emotions, expressiveness and sensitivity.


A verse is each of the lines that make up the poetic work, they are endowed with meter and rhythm to give sound and meaning. Lyric genre characteristics elements


It refers to the part of the poem that groups two or more verses, which can have a similar measure and rhyme. In the case of poetic prose it is called a paragraph.


The metric refers to the set of rules that determine the number of syllables that the verses of a poem have.


The cadence is related to the proper distribution of pauses and accents within the poem. In poetic prose, cadence is associated with the balanced proportion of sentences and words.


Rhythm refers to the way the pauses, sounds, and verses are distributed throughout the poem to make everything blend harmoniously. Within the rhythm there are three phases: anacrusis, interior and conclusive.


Rhyme refers to the times that a sound is repeated from the stressed vowel that makes up the last word in the verse. The rhyme can be of two forms: consonant and assonance.


The lyrical genre is made up of the following subgenres:

– Major genres


A song is a poetic text full of expressiveness and feeling, it is accompanied by one or more instruments and deserves someone to use their voice in a melodic way to recite what is written.


This lyrical subgenre is presented in the form of a song or song and its content is usually patriotic, religious or national.


An ode is a type of poem that is characterized by exalting an object from meditation and reflection.


The elegy is almost always a long poem that stands out for its nostalgic and reflective content.


An eclogue is a poetic work that is characterized by being peaceful or placid.


Satire as a lyrical genre stands out for being a poem with an ironic character.

– Minor genres:


A madrigal is a poem that revolves around the theme of love and is sometimes simple in character.


It is a type of short poem, whose verses can be hexasyllables or octosyllables, that is, of minor art. The letrilla is divided into stanzas, at the end of each one of them the ideas are usually repeated.

Works and authors of the lyrical genre

Below are some of the most outstanding works of the lyrical genre with their respective authors:

  1. – Twenty love poems and a desperate song by Pablo Neruda.
  2. – Rayito de estrellas and The President of Miguel Ángel Asturias.
  3. – Poetry, A la luna and A Cali by Jorge Isaacs. Lyric genre characteristics elements
  4. – The other, the same and El Aleph  by Jorge Luis Borges.
  5. – Parole and Wild Moon by Octavio Paz.
  6. – To Buscón and Salicio and Nemeroso de Garcilaso de la Vega.
  7. – Letters from my cell and El miserere by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer.
  8. – The ingenious gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes.
  9. – Platero y yo by Juan Ramón Jiménez.
  10. – The mayor of Salamanca and Life is a dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca.
  11. – Art of Forgetting, Poems and Letters to Silvia by Mariano Melgar Valdivieso.
  12. – Fruits of Felipe Pardo y Aliaga’s education .
  13. – Desolation by Gabriela Mistral. Lyric genre characteristics elements
  14. – Prosas profanas y Azul by Rubén Darío.
  15. – The outlaw and American Silvas by Andrés Bello.
  16. – A summer night and Campos de Castilla by Antonio Machado.

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