Rhyming

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Lyrical Structure & Style

Rhyme

Rhyming

The use of rhyme is integral (although not entirely essential) to successful lyric writing. It helps us to structure our lyrics, makes them easier to follow and understand, and adds poetry and rhythm to engage the listener’s interest. Rhyme can also make lyrics more memorable, and can be used to add a deeper level of connection between different lyrical ideas.

In lyric writing, rhymes don’t have to be close together. For example, you could rhyme the first word of verse one with the first word of verse two. The melody helps our audience remember and understand the words, which means rhymes can be remembered and ‘felt’ at further distances across the song structure.

Beat & Meter

In songs, there is a beat (pulse) created by the music, and a meter (phrasing) created by the way words sound together. In other words, we have two kinds of rhythm to consider in our writing, and the interplay between them helps a lyric to sound musical and well-crafted.

Rhymes in Genre

Rap and hip-hop music are excellent examples of this interplay, hosting some of the most successful rhythm, meter and rhyme in music. Even if you’re not a fan of the genre, listen to a couple of rap songs to hear the significance of rhyme and rhythm in lyrics and how they’re used together to deliver emotion. 

You can also look at well-known poetic forms, like limericks and sonnets, to see the relationship between meter and rhyme in action. 

Location of Rhyme

Rhyme is used in different locations within lines to create all kinds of effects on the rhythm, emphasis, and pacing. Here are the most common types of rhyme location:

  • End Rhyme: most rhyme are placed at the end of lines
  • Initial Rhyme: rhyming words at the start of each line
  • Linked Rhyme: rhyming the last word of one line with the first word of the next line
  • Internal Rhyme: a word from neither the beginning nor the end of a line, which rhymes with another word in that line (most commonly the end of the line, e.g. ‘There’s no business like show business.’
  • Interlaced Rhyme: rhyming a word in the middle of one line with a word in the middle of another

Kind of Rhyme

There are lots of kinds of full and half rhymes to know, all of which have different effects. Whichever kind of rhyme you use, bear in mind the effect of accent and pronunciation; this is especially important in genres such as folk, country and musical theatre.

True rhymes can sometimes feel contrived or ‘too clever’, while half rhymes generally add the effect of a rhyme but maintain the feeling of truth and honesty within a lyric. Here’s a little more on true and half rhymes.

True Rhyme Forms

Also known as perfect rhymes or full rhymes, these include:

  • Single Rhyme e.g. mat, sat, cat, elite, defeat, mistreat.
  • Double Rhyme e.g. fitting, sitting, knitting.
  • Triple Rhyme (or compound rhyme) e.g. liable, pliable, viable, reliable.

Half Rhymes

Also known as soft rhymes, imperfect rhymes or near rhymes, these include:

  • Assonance: the vowels match but the consonants do not, e.g. gape and hate, feet and sheep, or line and rhyme
  • Consonance: the consonants match but the vowels do not, e.g. rhyme and scheme, or trinket and rankle.
  • Light Rhyme: rhyming a stressed syllable with an unstressed one, e.g. thing and having.
  • Unstressed Rhyme: rhyming unstressed syllables with one another, e.g. risible with farcical.
  • Broken or split Rhyme: splitting a word between lines in order to manufacture a rhyme, e.g. ‘I know that I can fright- / -en you it’s just not right.’
  • Alliteration: the repetition of the initial consonant of a stressed syllable, e.g. round the ragged rock the ragged rascal ran

“Rhyme” Quizz

Lyrical Structure & Style

Rhyme

Rhyming

The use of rhyme is integral (although not entirely essential) to successful lyric writing. It helps us to structure our lyrics, makes them easier to follow and understand, and adds poetry and rhythm to engage the listener’s interest. Rhyme can also make lyrics more memorable, and can be used to add a deeper level of connection between different lyrical ideas.

In lyric writing, rhymes don’t have to be close together. For example, you could rhyme the first word of verse one with the first word of verse two. The melody helps our audience remember and understand the words, which means rhymes can be remembered and ‘felt’ at further distances across the song structure.

Beat & Meter

In songs, there is a beat (pulse) created by the music, and a meter (phrasing) created by the way words sound together. In other words, we have two kinds of rhythm to consider in our writing, and the interplay between them helps a lyric to sound musical and well-crafted.

Rhymes in Genre

Rap and hip-hop music are excellent examples of this interplay, hosting some of the most successful rhythm, meter and rhyme in music. Even if you’re not a fan of the genre, listen to a couple of rap songs to hear the significance of rhyme and rhythm in lyrics and how they’re used together to deliver emotion. 

You can also look at well-known poetic forms, like limericks and sonnets, to see the relationship between meter and rhyme in action. 

Location of Rhyme

Rhyme is used in different locations within lines to create all kinds of effects on the rhythm, emphasis, and pacing. Here are the most common types of rhyme location:

  • End Rhyme: most rhyme are placed at the end of lines
  • Initial Rhyme: rhyming words at the start of each line
  • Linked Rhyme: rhyming the last word of one line with the first word of the next line
  • Internal Rhyme: a word from neither the beginning nor the end of a line, which rhymes with another word in that line (most commonly the end of the line, e.g. ‘There’s no business like show business.’
  • Interlaced Rhyme: rhyming a word in the middle of one line with a word in the middle of another

Kind of Rhyme

There are lots of kinds of full and half rhymes to know, all of which have different effects. Whichever kind of rhyme you use, bear in mind the effect of accent and pronunciation; this is especially important in genres such as folk, country and musical theatre.

True rhymes can sometimes feel contrived or ‘too clever’, while half rhymes generally add the effect of a rhyme but maintain the feeling of truth and honesty within a lyric. Here’s a little more on true and half rhymes.

True Rhyme Forms

Also known as perfect rhymes or full rhymes, these include:

  • Single Rhyme e.g. mat, sat, cat, elite, defeat, mistreat.
  • Double Rhyme e.g. fitting, sitting, knitting.
  • Triple Rhyme (or compound rhyme) e.g. liable, pliable, viable, reliable.

Half Rhymes

Also known as soft rhymes, imperfect rhymes or near rhymes, these include:

  • Assonance: the vowels match but the consonants do not, e.g. gape and hate, feet and sheep, or line and rhyme
  • Consonance: the consonants match but the vowels do not, e.g. rhyme and scheme, or trinket and rankle.
  • Light Rhyme: rhyming a stressed syllable with an unstressed one, e.g. thing and having.
  • Unstressed Rhyme: rhyming unstressed syllables with one another, e.g. risible with farcical.
  • Broken or split Rhyme: splitting a word between lines in order to manufacture a rhyme, e.g. ‘I know that I can fright- / -en you it’s just not right.’
  • Alliteration: the repetition of the initial consonant of a stressed syllable, e.g. round the ragged rock the ragged rascal ran

“Rhyme” Quizz