Leonard Cohen Lyrics – Word Trees

Quick Start Instructions
Creating a word tree is simple and intuitive. Click in the large box below to start the interactive software. A small search box will emerge in the top left corner of the large box. Entering a term (either a single word or a phrase) in the smaller box and hitting “enter” displays all the occurrences of that term (whether a single word or a phrase), followed by the phrases that appear after the term in Cohen’s lyrics. More information is available below.

Note: Loading of the Word Tree set-up below may be slow. After set-up, operation is much faster.

More Information About Word Trees

The following excerpts are from Many Eyes, the web site that is home to the mechanisms that produce these word trees:

You can manipulate the tree in several ways. Clicking on a word in the diagram will zoom into that particular branch. If you control-click on a word, the diagram will use that new word as the main search term. And if you wish to see the context occurring before rather than after a phrase, click the “End” radio button. As you navigate the word tree, you can use the “Back” and “Forward” button just as you would in a browser to quickly step through your history of views.

Highlighting: If you want to point out particular words in the tree, select “Highlight Mode” from the menu at the upper right. You can then click to highlight words, or control-click to highlight multiple words. Once you’re done with highlighting, you can choose to the “Clicks Will Zoom” menu option so that you can once again zoom by clicking.

Punctuation Matters: Unlike like many text visualization methods, such as tag clouds, the word tree does not ignore punctuation. In fact, it treats periods, commas and the like as separate words in the text. The reason is that within the flow of a text, punctuation can be critical to the meaning and rhythm of the phrases.

Branch Order: By default, the tree branches are ordered from top to bottom by order of occurrence in the text. For instance, if the phrase “we saw” first occurs before “we conquered,” then the “saw” branch will be above the “conquered” branch in the word tree for “we”. You can choose two other modes: alphabetical, or ordered by overall branch size.

The Leonard Cohen Lyrics Data Set Description

The data set used to generate these word trees includes all lyrics and titles from albums released by Leonard Cohen.

The albums are listed in chronological order and songs within each album are listed in the database in the same order as the album’s track list.

The database does not include bootleg albums, the Blue Alert album (soon to be available as independent data set), or songs distributed in formats other than albums (e.g., “Do I Have To Dance All Night,” which was only issued as a 45 rpm single). Words from album titles (e.g., “Ten New Songs”), credits and dedications are also not included.

Techno Info

The software works via Java. Consequently, Java must be enabled on the computer and in the browser. Because of the way Java is managed, Mac users will find that the Word Tree is best viewed on Safari rather than other browsers.