The power of Rhyming Lyrics
So you are in the groove and you’re hot on a roll as a new lyricist. You know you sound good and your jam sessions go on for hours and sometimes a weekend non-stop. That’s awesome! Now is the time to look for anything you can do to take your writing to the next level.
A little secret
What is the one thing that keeps people singing and remembering your songs? Think hard now, what happens when you hear a commercial jingle? Do you need to have bought the product or even know what it is? No; all you had to do is remember the jingle. And what about the most successful jingles have in common?
The power of rhyme!
Why is rhyme so important?
For several reasons; one being the fact that a song is essentially a poem set to music and a rhyme, at least a chorus that rhymes is what gets people to sing and enjoy your song. It is what keeps your song in their minds and will evoke memories when they listen.
How rhyme can help you when you are stuck
When you have a writer’s block, it helps to write some stanzas in poem form before you think of the music. When you think of the words first, the melody or a back-beat will begin to form and before you know it, you have a song or at least a strong basis for one. No one knows why writers get writers block whether it is a songwriter or a copywriter but the brain seems to react well to repetition and rhyme.
One of the coolest tools you can use is a rhyming dictionary. You can find one online in electronic form and there are some which are programmable into other equipment for use to use conveniently.
Are there any specific ways to rhyme; like rhyming rules?
No but there are several ways that this technique works best. There are rhyming basics. Like the first and fourth line rhymes in a four line stanza. Then maybe the second and fourth line rhymes. In poetry it is possible to have every line rhyme but then throw in a melody and that changes the scene; why? This is true because reading words is different than singing them. When you sing words, then you are changing the sound and the sound of those words when sung sound better and are catchier when each line doesn’t rhyme.
The Different Types Of Rhyme:
When it comes to rhyming there are two main types:
- Perfect Rhyme
A perfect rhyme is when the words start with different sounds but end with the same.
- Die - Pie
- Bad - Mad
- Missing - Kissing
- Careful - Tearful
- Imperfect Rhyme
These are words that sound similar but don't rhyme exactly.
- Aching - Shaky
- Around - Down
Within these two types of rhymes, you can also find:
- Open Rhymes
Open rhymes don't end with a hard consonant which makes them sound softer. They work well when used against a sustained note.
- Show - Know
- Be - Me
- Closed Rhymes
These rhymes do end with a hard consonant which makes them more difficult to sustain when sung.
- Non-sustainable consonants - e.g. B, D, K, P, Q and T words (e.g. said, look, drop)
- Sustainable but unpleasant consonants - e.g. F, S, V and Z words (e.g. leaf, lives)
- Internal Rhymes
Instead of rhyming the last words of a line try rhyming words in the middle of lines.
- I got in my CAR to drive away
- But didn't get FAR I need to stay
Using words that rhyme at the end of your lines will pull your song together, but don't over do it as it becomes too predictable.
Masculine and feminine rhyme
The masculine and feminine rhymes are things most people don’t know about. This is a bonus tip here that can help when you are formulating your rhymes for song writing. You can think of them in terms of the masculine rhyme being simple one syllable rhymes. And feminine rhymes are more complex as we think of the sexes in life right?
So for instance, an example of the masculine rhyme is the words high and die and an example of a feminine rhyme can be as simple as rhyming and timing. Any rhyme that the rhyming is stressed at the second to the last syllable is a feminine rhyme.
This makes things easier when you start to use a rhyming dictionary. Now I know that it is almost ludicrous for some folks especially male lyricists’ to use a rhyming dictionary and while you may feel that if you let anyone know, you may get beat up, but, I’ll let you in on a little secret; even very famous lyricists have admitted using them regularly to stop the block and just push them beyond the groove.