Although writing a lyric is not the same as writing a poem, we still use a lot of the same poetic devices and colorful language that a poet would use. Using poetic devices can really add color and bring a lyric to life.
Below is a list of some of the most commonly used poetic devices. You've probably used them already without even knowing you were so it shouldn't be too hard to get your head around the different poetic terminology.
After reading the different definitions and examples why not take the poetic terminology quiz to see just how well you understand everything. There's only 11 questions, so it doesn't take long.
Alliteration - This is when neighboring words have the same beginning consonant sound.
"Why would women want to have a baby?"
"It's time to thank the world"
Assonance - This is the repetition of internal vowel sounds in neighboring words.
"Try to light the fire"
"Jay plays a lot"
Imagery - The use of words/phrases that use the 5 senses to form mental images.
"The taste of dirt lingered in his mouth"
"The smell of stale perfume filled the room"
Metaphor - Comparing two unlike things without using "like" or "as".
"Life is a rat race"
"Time is moving faster"
Meter - The rhythm of stressed and unstressed syllables.
Onomatopoeia - Imitating sounds with the use of words.
"The drum went bang"
Point Of View - The point of view is the perspective from which the songwriter will tell his/her story. Some songwriters find it important to stick to one point of view for the entire song but if done correctly this rule doesn't have to be followed.
- 1st person: This is when the singer is an actual character in the story/song and tells everything from his or her own perspective. The singer describes the event and his/her emotions which are tied to the event (uses "I, me, we, us, and/or mine")
- 2nd person: This viewpoint is used when the songwriter (uses "you, us and we")
- 3rd person: This is the storytellers perspective. It is used when the singer wants to the story, but is able to "know" and describe what all characters are thinking. (uses "he, she, they, her, him, or it")
Repetition - The repeating of words, phrases, lines, or stanzas.
Rhyme - The similarity of ending sounds existing between two words.
"There she stood in front of me
stripped me bear for the world to see"
Simile - A comparison between two objects using a specific word or comparison such as "like" or "as".
"He attacked the poor girl like a man possessed"
"As big as a bus"
Think you understand everything on this page? Take poetic terminology test and see what you're made of.