Wednesday 07/28/2021 by Lemuria

THE PHISH LYRICS INDEX IS BACK!

Want to name a pet something besides Tela? Can't recall which song mentions Aquitana or Elihu? Remember which nine Phish songs mention birds? Now, and once again, you can. Originally published in the second edition of The Phish Companion, extended with input from forum regulars in an earlier (c.2012-2015) version, and now thoroughly rebuilt from the ground up, the Lyrics Index is coming back!

This is a selective topical index of the lyrics to 253 Phish originals1 – 26,835 words2, indexed in 2,393 references3, organized in 51 topical categories4, some more selective than others5. And it's rolling out, though still getting populated with entries (1,117 entered so far - 1,276 OTW!).

The included references follow this logic:

  • A single index entry typically refers to multiple forms of the root, such as
    • "party" for "partying" and "parties", or
    • "circle" for "circled" and "circular."
  • Some specific instances of a word are indexed in more than one place, such as
  • Different instances of the same word may be indexed differently based on contextual meaning, such as
  • Summarily, for example, "fly" covers "flying" and "flew", but not "flyers" (Tools) or "flies" (Animals) - and the "to" in "to fly" is not indexed at all, while "flying mockingbird" is indexed three different ways. (Can you find them all?)

The index excludes lyrics based on this set of logic:

  1. Songs: We acknowledge 1024 song titles at Phish.net, of which 48 are aliases. Of the 976 unique songs, 626 (64%) are covers. (The index excludes songs performed only by side projects, though does include, for example, Army of One, written for and first performed by Vida Blue but later performed by Phish.) Of the 338 unique originals, 71 (20%) are instrumental, 12 (3%) have lyrics by someone else (such as the Disney samples, or Jon Popper on "Don't Get My Wrong"), and 13 (4%) are excluded for other reasons, leaving 253 songs indexed here.
  2. Words: In those 253 songs, there are 38,980 total words, 4,773 unique words, and 3,710 roots after pluralization and verb tenses are removed. That includes some version of many words that would be neither interesting nor practical to index, including 20 pronouns (appearing 4,461 times), 17 conjunctions (1,858 times), 11 prepositions (833 times), 8 definite or indefinite articles (3,730 times), 9 forms of "to be" (1,210 times), 16 words (such as Rouge in Baton Rouge) treated in compound with another (53 total), and 21 words (such as 'to' in an infinitive) skipped for other miscellaneous reasons (1,629 total). Those 102 words appear a combined 12,145 times in some form (not including indexed instances, such as of "about" and "with"; see above), 31% of the full 38,980 words of original lyrics.
  3. References: Removing those 102 words from the 3,710 roots leaves 3,608 identified references, of which 2,000 appear in only one song, 546 appear in two, and 1,062 appear in three or more. Of those, 1,293 fall below a specified threshold, leaving 2,315 indexed references to, including duplicate references, 40,213 total entries.
  4. Categories range from tshirt-friendly basics to arcane grammatical hair-splitting:
  5. Some categories are exhaustive - such as Animals, Colors, Names, Numbers, and Proper Places - including all potential entries even if only in one song. Some are selective based on frequency - such as Miscellaneous Verbs, indexed only if they appear in at least five songs. The list of categories itself is also not exhaustive (we could, for example, add a category for Education?) - and for some entries in some categories (such as Groups and Amounts, or Mind and Logic), we're definitely splitting hairs.

Only a fraction of Phish lyrics have been officially published, and there are variations in the performance, interpretation, and transcription of others. We thus welcome your feedback, and look forward to future updates.

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Comments

, comment by ColForbin
ColForbin Very cool! Love this sort of thing.
, comment by lysergic
lysergic This is great. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see a link to the "home page" of the Lyrics Index: https://phish.net/lyrics
, comment by EvenCarlSagan
EvenCarlSagan This pertains to my OCD.
Thank you!
, comment by trimpe
trimpe So much better than the version I made for phish.net in 1995. At the time we were concerned about copyright, so the version was on the site but not linked publicly because of legal concerns. Glad to see it's back.
, comment by akjed
akjed This is great! Now can Millenial coder get working on updating the Helping Friendly App please?
, comment by Blais_On
Blais_On Excellent, this will be very helpful in the office.
, comment by Lemuria
Lemuria @trimpe said:
So much better than the version I made for phish.net in 1995. At the time we were concerned about copyright, so the version was on the site but not linked publicly because of legal concerns. Glad to see it's back.
You had a lyrics index in 1995? would *love* to see that! Or, maybe you mean an unindexed lyrics collection?
, comment by Lemuria
Lemuria @akjed said:
This is great! Now can Millenial coder get working on updating the Helping Friendly App please?
As you may know, that wasn't anyone at Phish.net. The data here was licensed to that app, and to three others, but I don't think any of them have been updated in many years, and don't anticipate updates of them. Meanwhile, Phish.net is designed to be mobile-friendly and - though we're experiencing some issues now with the traffic deluge, and have some new solutions OTW - at least some folks have preferred m.phish.net to those apps, in part because it's dialed-in to the user stats, forum, etc.
, comment by trimpe
trimpe @Lemuria said:
@trimpe said:
So much better than the version I made for phish.net in 1995. At the time we were concerned about copyright, so the version was on the site but not linked publicly because of legal concerns. Glad to see it's back.
You had a lyrics index in 1995? would *love* to see that! Or, maybe you mean an unindexed lyrics collection?

It was unindexed. It was essentially Grabinsky's original 92-93 file updated with everything new through the 94 NYE run broken into individual pages for every song. Occasional notes were thrown in at the bottom a la song histories pointing out recommended versions, significant changes, etc. This was also before databases were easily usable, so I coded the whole damn thing in HTML via Notepad. It was on the old Netspace site for about 2 hours before we (the unofficial r.m.p group... I honestly feel like you and I talked about it directly...?) decided we should pull it down until we ironed out some details with the band about the legality. For a while it was going to come back WITHOUT songs that were part of studio albums, but then A Live One came out and nobody could agree on details without a direct line to the band. I think I was about to send a message to Mike's old AOL account but thought better of it.

Like I said, the files were there on the server for a while, but I removed the links to it and password protected it just in case. It was a different time when there was still people who thought Ask Jeeves was cool.
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