What and what are the lyrical subgenres?

Simon Doyle
What and what are the lyrical subgenres?

The lyrical subgenres are all those classifications in which the lyrical genre can be manifested, in which emotions framed in different literary figures are reflected in writing that amplify their understanding.

The lyric is a literary genre in which the author transmits feelings with a certain depth and that can be manifested in very different ways. Generally, the lyric is presented in the form of verse, especially in poetry. However, the presence of lyric in prose is not negligible..

The historical presence of the lyric transcends the current era. One of the first recorded manifestations of this literary genre is the Rigveda, a text written in Sanskrit and which is probably the oldest found written in an Indo-European language. This writing is composed of hymns and its writing is located between 1700 and 1100 BC.

It was not until Ancient Greece when the lyric was consolidated as a genre and from there began its expansion in Western culture. Name lyric comes precisely from this historical moment, since the sonnets were recited to the sound of the lyre.

Currently, this genre is subdivided into many types and the understanding of much of modern literature is manifested from it.

Classifications of lyric: subgenres

As in any literary genre, the lyric has several subdivisions that allow its study to be carried out in a more specific way. Some of them are:


It is one of the most popular types of lyric and has been represented throughout history at different times. In song, compound feelings are expressed, usually in verses, intended to be reproduced in music.

The lyrical song reached its peak in the Middle Ages, with innovative works such as The Songbook scored by Francesco Petrarca. At present, it is manifested through lyrical singing, especially in choirs, orchestras and operas, with the participation of tenors, sopranos and many other singers of this subgenre. It differs from other types of singers by the length and depth of the voice.


Part of admiration and veneration. The ode can be understood as a poem that has a deep reflective character, but at the same time, whose purpose is the veneration or exaltation of a certain quality, object, environment or person.

In Ancient Greece, the ode was made to mythological deities, military victories or beauty, framed in a reflection on their role.

In the Middle Ages it had Fray Luis de León as one of its greatest representatives, who made more than 23 odes, among which the Ode to Retired Life Y To Our Lady.

Later, in 1785 the German poet Friedrich von Schiller published the Ode to Joy, from which Ludwig van Beethoven would later be inspired to make Symphony No. 9, known as Hymn to Joy and which is currently the anthem of the European Union.


The dialogues reach the lyric through the eclogue. In it, a dialogue between two or more people is traditionally shown, which can constitute a small theatrical piece, generally of a single act.

Its origin is in the field, so in most of its presentations there are usually two shepherds talking about their country life.

The first eclogues date from centuries prior to the current era, but their popularity spread throughout Renaissance Europe, having Garcilaso de la Vega as one of its greatest authors in his Eclogue I.


The motor of this lyrical subgenre is lamentation, accompanied by melancholy and bucolic memory. The elegy mourns the loss of something or someone, physical or not. For this reason, it is commonly used together with different genres, among which is the song.

The elegy has been present in practically any historical moment, so melancholy has transcended political and social changes. In Ancient Greece it was defined by the elegiac meter, composed of the alternation of a hexameter with a pentameter.

Hispanic literature is one of the most abundant in elegies. For example, one of the most famous are the Coplas for the death of his father by Jorge Manrique, written in 1476.

More recently, the Cry for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías by Federico García Lorca is one of the best samples. So is the song Eternal love, by the Mexican artist Juan Gabriel, where he narrates the regret he feels for his mother's departure.


Considered by many to be the funniest lyrical subgenre, satire is featured in scathing poems with burlesque intentions..

Through satire, some person, object or circumstance can be discredited or ironic. It is one of the most versatile subgenres, being able to be written in prose or verse frequently.

Satire is also used as a literary device, auxiliary to many other presentations such as theater. Among the elements he uses the most is irony and sarcasm.

Although, like almost all of them, it has its origin in Ancient Greece, its literary application developed more in the Middle Ages, with authors such as Francisco de Quevedo and Félix Lope de Vega.


Some authors place it within the song, because it is usually interpreted in this way. Hymns are a lyrical subgenre that is based mainly on the exaltation of a people or a certain group that stages it..

In ancient times, it was a song of a religious nature, which was used in liturgies to exalt some divinity.

Subsequently, his concept evolved to shape national anthems. Today, all the countries of the world have a National Anthem, which is usually together with the shield and the flag, one of its three national symbols.


Considered by some as part of the song. However, it has specific delimitations, with a maximum of fifteen seven-syllable and hendecasyllable verses..

That is, they are extremely short poems that generally have a theme of shepherds or love stories. The Spanish poet of the Generation of 27, Rafael Alberti, wrote Madrigal to the tram ticket, which is one of the largest samples of this genre.


Transcending Western culture, lyrical manifestations are also found in the Eastern Hemisphere. One of them is the haiku, traditional in Japan, made up of seventeen blackberries, which are units smaller than the syllable. These don't usually rhyme.

Its content is usually related to the contemplation of nature and amazement at actions related to it. Authors such as Jorge Luis Borges or Mario Benedetti have written haikus adapted to the Spanish language.


  1. Aguilera, A. (1990). Eternal love. In Juan Gabriel in the Palace of Fine Arts. [CD]. Mexico: Sony Music.
  2. Alberti, R. (s.f.). Madrigal to the tram ticket. Poems of the Soul. Recovered from poemas-del-alma.com.
  3. De la Vega, G. (2003). Eclogue. Universal Virtual Library. Recovered from library.org.ar.
  4. Editorial Santillana. (2008). Language and Communication 1. Caracas: Editorial Santillana.
  5. García, F. (s.f.). Cry for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías. City Seva. Recovered from ciudadseva.com
  6. Little Universes (s.f.). The Haikus of Jorge Luis Borges. Little universes. Recovered from pequeniosuniversos.wordpress.com.
  7. Petrarca, F. (s.f.). Song book. Wikisource. Recovered from es.wikisource.org.
  8. Von Schiller, F. (1785). Ode to joy. The letter travels through the wave. Recovered from artontheradiogorliz.wordpress.com.

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