by Mary DawsonRhyme! It’s one of the most powerful tools in the songwriter’s toolkit, and there are many reasons for it.
The first and most basic reason is simply that rhyme helps us humans to remember things, From our earliest childhood we find that it’s easier to learn something if it rhymes. Remember little ditties like this one...?
One...two -- Buckle my shoeOr consider this amazing bit of trivia:
Three...four -- Shut the door
Five...six -- Pick up sticks
Seven...eight -- Lay them straight
Nine..ten -- A Big Fat Hen
Police officers who test motorists suspected of DUI have reported that when asked to recite the alphabet, intoxicated drivers have trouble remembering the sequence of letters unlessthey sing the alphabet using the familiar children’s rhyme:
ABCDEFGBecause of its amazing power to imprint words and concepts on the mind, Rhyme is a resource that songwriters must study in depth and use wisely. Over the next several articles we will explore the subject of Rhyme, how it has evolved and changed over the years, and how we can use this powerful tool to craft better songs ourselves.
HIJK -- LMNOP
QRS and TUV
Y and Z
Now I’ve said my ABC’s
Next time sing along with me
Before we delve into the mystery and historyof rhyme (we obsessive compulsive rhymers can't stop even when writing prose) we need to establish a few common denominators and definitions.
Rhymes at the Bottom Line
At its most basic level Rhyme can be defined by the following qualifications:
Two or more words which have...
Examples: mate, plate, date
- the same final accented vowel
- the same final consonant sound
- different consonants preceding the vowel
Rhymes are called Perfect Rhymesif the stressed vowel and ending consonant are exactly the same. If the rhyming words are one-syllable words like those above -- they are called Singleor Masculine Rhymes.
When the rhyming words have two matching final syllables, they are called Doubleor Feminine Rhymes. Even if the words have different numbers of syllables, they still qualify as Feminine Rhymes as long as the last two syllables match exactly. For example, you might rhyme:
static with attic (both two-syllable words)But you could also rhyme:
static (two syllables) with traumatic (three syllables) or democratic (four syllables)Notice that these words have differing numbers of syllables, but the last two syllables of each word are exact matchesand are therefore Double or Feminine Rhymes.
Triple Rhymesare words which have threematching final syllables. As with Double or Feminine Rhymes, Triple rhyming words may have varying numbers of syllables as long as the last three syllables match exactly as in:
clarity and charity (both three-syllable words)--or--
clarity (three syllables), disparity (four syllables), and regularity (five syllables)Words can also be said to rhyme perfectlyif they are spelled differently but have the same ending vowel sound like...
grew and true
fate and eight
Rhymes Evolution and Revolution
For most of the first half of the Twentieth Century, Perfect Rhymes were the "gold standard" for songwriters. Most of the hits crafted in Tin Pan Alley from the 1920's to the 1950's were written in the AABA or AABC song forms for theater or films. The great lyricists of the day were consummate craftsmen witty, clever and sophisticated and far too polished to ever allow themselves to use anything but Perfect Rhymes! Wordsmiths like Gus Kahn, Irving Berlin, Yip Harburg, Lorenz Hart and Ira Gershwin lifted the bar of rhyming excellence to an all-time high and together with their musical collaborators created songs that are still being recorded and re-recorded today. Using single, double and triple rhymes and creative vocabularies, these rhyming geniuses defined the meaning of creativityas they "massaged" ordinary words into unforgettable lyrics.
Every aspiring songwriter owes it to him/herself to study these masters. Today there are websites dedicated to lyrics of all the "greats." It's well worth the time invested to search them out and study them in depth. It's also invaluable to invest in recordings of these amazing writers. Become familiar with their hits and watch for the "gems" of craftsmanship that appear again and again. Some of my personal favorites (and perhaps a good starting place for your study) are:
"My Heart Stood Still" – Lorenz Hart
"Putting On the Ritz" – Irving Berlin
"Embraceable You" – Ira Gershwin
"Mountain Greenery" – Lorenz Hart
"September in the Rain" – Al Dubin
"I'll See You in My Dreams" – Gus Kahn
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" – Yip Harburg
While it is never completely clear to me as to whether art imitates lifeor life imitates art, one thing is certain: As the stable and peaceful 1950's gave way to the turbulent 1960's, American society began to undergo some very radical changes. Issues like the Civil Rights Movement, the Viet Nam War and other serious matters began to dominate American consciousness.
Enter Bob Dylan!
Perhaps no one songwriter in any generation has had such a profound influence on music as an art form -- or on culture as a whole -- as this scraggly, unrefined, enigmatic folk singer/songwriter. This angry young man had far more important human issues to address than making "perfect rhymes" and clever lines to amuse theater-goers. The message of the songwas now paramount and communicationbecame far more important than sophistication.
Besides, no matter how fastidious a lyricist might be, there are only so many Perfect Rhymes to be had. After a while they become overused and clichéd. Like a painter who only uses primary colors and never mixes his paints to create new shades, lyricists became tired of using the same worn out options. Master songwriter, Jimmy Webb1, summarizes the problem quite succinctly:
The consistent use of overly familiar language in line after line nudges the writer inexorably toward cliché. Why so? Because generations of industrious rhymers have already applied themselves to wringing out the possibilities of such standbys as "love-dove-above" -– "heart-start apart" -– and "eyes-cries-tries." The cliché is waiting in the tired rhyme with a Cheshire cat grin.
Bob Dylan's 1964 hit, "The Times They Are a-Changing," was not only a philosophical observation about the state of the union, but also an artistic departure from the clever, urbane word techniques of Tin Pan Alley. His "wake-up-America lyrics" certainly rhymed, but they did not rhyme perfectly. Dylan allowed himself rhymes like roamwith grown-- or pen with againand spin. His Double or Feminine Rhymes linked the word changing(the key word in the hook/title) to other words with the same stressed long vowel sound, but different ending consonants -- words like saving, naming, raging. They weren't Perfect ... but they were fresh and they worked!
And, of course, Dylan's entrance set the stage for all kinds of other folk-rock artists of the era -- artists like Janis Ian, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and many others. Like the "flower children" of that generation, their emphasis turned from sophistication and wittiness to naturalness, honesty and authenticity. By the time the 1960's were in full swing, both lyricists and listeners were becoming comfortable with the use of Near Rhymesin the songs they loved.
Today, Near Rhymes are accepted and even preferred by hit songwriters. Lyricists have discovered that if you start "mixing the primary colors" you can create all kinds of interesting shades of meaning and emotion. Come back next time and we'll examine the craft of Near Rhyme and unlock some of its amazing possibilities!
Continue on to Rhyme or Reason Part 2.
**From her earliest childhood years writing simple songs and poems with her father, through her twelve years as an overseas missionary, to her present, multi-faceted career as an author, lyricist/songwriter and conference speaker, Mary has always been adept at using words to communicate her heart to others. She is the President of CQK Records & Music of Dallas, Texas, a company which creates and produces songs in a panorama of musical styles for a variety of audiences, She is also the host of "I Write the Songs," a nationally syndicated radio talk show, especially created to inspire and instruct the more than 25 million aspiring songwriters in the U.S. "I Write the Songs" is broadcast over the Internet. Mary is a frequent public speaker and seminar lecturer on songwriting. She is a regular columnist for Independent Songwriter Web Magazine. Mary's commitment to discovering and mentoring talented new songwriters has given her extensive experience in song analysis through adjudicating songwriting competitions and conducting songwriting workshops across the country and around the world. Because of her role as president of an independent music company, she is also well qualified to instruct aspiring songwriters on the various business aspects of the music industry. She is married and a mother of four. She resides in the Dallas area.
Free Rhyming Dictionary
Find rhymes fast. Create original lyrics or prose. Choose from six types of rhymes:
End Rhymes (blue/shoe)
Words with ending rhyme have the same final vowel sound and following consonant sound(s). For example, if you enter the word laughter under this option, Rhymer retrieves a list of words with the ending sound er (e.g., admirer, doctor, pleasure, scholar, watercolor, and were). Other examples of ending rhyme include:
This option lets you easily find exact rhymes (words in which the final vowel and consonant sounds are the same) and masculine rhymes (rhyming words with a stressed final syllable).
Last-Syllable Rhymes (timber/harbor)
Words with last-syllable rhyme have the same sounds following the last syllable boundary (commonly a consonant, a vowel, and another consonant). For example, if you enter the word explain using this option, Rhymer retrieves a list of words with the last syllable sound plain (e.g., aquaplane, biplane, plane, and plain). Other examples of last-syllable rhyme include:
This option lets you find masculine rhymes and all other words with final syllables (stressed or unstressed) that rhyme with the word you entered.
Double Rhymes (conviction/prediction)
Words with double rhyme have the same vowel sound in the second-to-last syllable and all following sounds. For example, if you enter the word soaring using this option, Rhymer retrieves a list of words with the sound oring (e.g., adoring, exploring, pouring, scoring, touring, and restoring). Other examples of double rhyme include:
This option lets you find feminine rhymes (rhyming words with an unstressed final syllable). Words entered using this option must have at least two syllables.
Triple Rhymes (transportation/dissertation)
Words with triple rhyme have the same vowel sound in the third-to-last syllable and all following sounds. For example, if you enter the word combination using this option, Rhymer retrieves a list of words with the sound anation (e.g., explanation, coronation, destination, and imagination). Other examples of triple rhyme include:
Words entered with this option must have at least three syllables.
Beginning Rhymes (physics/fizzle)
Words with beginning rhyme have the same initial consonant sound(s) and the same first vowel sound. For example, if you enter the word plantation using this option, Rhymer retrieves a list of words with the sound pla (e.g., plan, plaque, plaster, and plateau). Other examples of beginning rhyme include:
This option lets you find words with initial alliteration (the repetition of initial consonant sounds), initial assonance (the repetition of initial vowel sounds), and front rhyme (the succession of beginning sounds of words).
First-Syllable Rhymes (carrot/caring)
Words with first-syllable rhyme have the same sounds preceding the first syllable break. For example, if you enter the word explanation using this option, Rhymer retrieves a list of words with the sound ex (e.g., excavate, exhale, expert, and extra). Other examples of first-syllable rhyme include:
biblical, biddable, bimetal, binnacle, binocle, biphenyl, bridgeable, cinquefoil, citable, climbable, clinical, criminal, cystocele, difficile, digital, diphenyl, disenable, drinkable, fictional, finagle, findable, finical, fixable, frictional, gingival, imbecile, integral, intimal, kickable, liminal, livable, liveable, minable, minimal, miscible, miserable, mixable, mythical, philomel, pinnacle, pinochle, piperonal, pitiful, pivotal, principal, principle, printable, quincuncial, quizzical, risible, shrinkable, silicle, sinkable, synchronal, syndactyl, thimbleful, thinkable, timolol, tithable, trigonal, typical, vicinal, victual, vincible, visible, visional, visual, writable
acritical, additional, admissible, admittable, ancipital, anticlinal, antipodal, assignable, attritional, bicipital, conciliable, conditional, confiscable, convincible, curvilineal, decidable, deliverable, derivable, despicable, disciplinal, dividable, divisible, divisional, dominical, episcopal, equivocal, explicable, extricable, forgivable, formidable, fratricidal, fungicidal, germicidal, hospitable, immiscible, indictable, invincible, invisible, juridical, levitical, medicinal, meningocele, multivocal, municipal, nutritional, occipital, officinal, omissible, original, papistical, permissible, political, polyclonal, polygonal, pontifical, positional, predicable, predictable, prescriptible, provisional, reciprocal, remissible, rescindable, resistible, sophistical, spermicidal, thersitical, traditional, transitional, transmissible, transmittable, unbridgeable, undrinkable, univocal, unlivable, unprintable, unsinkable, unthinkable, varicocele, veridical, volitional, war criminal
aboriginal, aphrodisiacal, apparitional, appositional, archiepiscopal, compositional, concupiscible, definitional, diacritical, eosinophil, geophysical, imprescriptible, inadmissible, inconvincible, individual, inexplicable, inhospitable, irresistible, jurisdictional, loculicidal, paradisiacal, paralytical, pleasure principle, prepositional, propositional, psychophysical, suboccipital, supraliminal, unconditional, unequivocal, unforgivable, unoriginal, unpredictable
definite integral, exclusion principle, inextinguishable
habitual criminal, indefinite integral, myelomeningocele, psychoanalytical, reality principle, uncertainty principle
pauli exclusion principle
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At least one of the newly arrived workers there, so easy to see and evaluate. Imagine my surprise when, entering the steam room, I saw him .the very boy whom I met with my gaze in the corridor. ) How delighted I was.
Words three syllable rhyming
Escorting each girl to her position, she slyly glanced at the gentlemen, stroking her ass and shaking her breasts. From such a presentation, the members of the older men also hardened and came into combat readiness. Accidentally or deliberately, she allocated places, but this time Alexei got a. Very small ass with prominent breasts in front.
The young man did not attach any importance to this, but simply rejoiced at his luck.English Practice: Syllable Stress – 3- Syllable Words
Arriving in the room, I lay down on the bed on my stomach, Andrei gently began to lubricate my buttocks with a cooling-anesthetic ointment and gradually began to excite me by putting his hand on my pussy and pubis. I was very excited, and Andrei continued, in general, I consider him a great professional in sex, he always knows when the moment. Of penetration has come. Having strongly aroused me, my husband turned me on my back, entered me and began to move gradually increasing the pace, although the priest was very sick, I experienced.
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Yes - she answers shortly, Lana sat down. Spread your legs, - I say with a slight hoarseness. The voice began to tremble a little, it's all from excitement. I see Lana blushing, but she does it. Her pussy is just amazing.