Basic Poetic Patterns

What a wonderful ability it is to put thoughts into a spoken word structure. The possibilities are endless from a quaint nursery rhyme for children to beatnik poetry, haiku, the 'Immortal Bard' to Bob Dylan at his finest. Seeing that the taste for lyrics is largely subjective let's not get all involved in some sort of superior versus inferior lyrics debate. After all, Duran Duran were oft criticized for their weak lyrical capability but in the legacy of contemporary music they have made their undeniable and lasting mark.

Basic poetic structure for writing verse uses letters of the alphabet to represent words that rhyme, A, B, C, D and so on. Usually this is just for individual rhyming lines. You can get complex by having multiple rhymes in the one sentence as demonstrated by Mr Dylan previously mentioned and all the way to rap music. This post will not explore complex lyrical structure. 

Example 1:


Although the words 'moon' and 'June' don't look like they have any similarity based on the construction of their component letters they actually rhyme pretty well. So A is used to show these two rhyming lines. 


Example 2:

four rhyming lines

The first two lines rhyme with each other (A), the next two lines rhyme with each other (B). This pattern would be AA,BB.

If you're getting stuck writing lyrics or feel like you are in a rut why not try working with a new poetic structure. You could plan a structure to write to and then compose lyrics to suit. It might be just what you need to come up with something new.

Here's some suggestions you could try: AA,BB,AA,BB or AB,AB,CC or AB,CB,AB,CB or AB,CB,DB

Have a listen to some of your favourite songs and work out what rhyming patterns they are using. This technique doesn't work quite so well with instrumental music. With a little inspiration and some effort you will be able to create something new and add an extra component to your lyrical style.

#songwriting #lyrics #composition