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SAC Blogging Challenge 2013: End of Week 3

flowers in spring


Spring is here at last…  Well, we used the rhyming dictionary and the thesaurus a fair bit this week.

I wanted another way to say “luminous”.  For such a task, a thesaurus is very handy.

OK, it doesn’t always help.  If I called a lady luminous, she might well be flattered, but I’m concerned she might give me a black eye if I followed the advice of my thesaurus and used the synonym “refulgent” instead.  My, you look refulgent tonight.

So, it’s the end of week 3 of the SAC Blogging Challenge 2013 and of the Coursera.org SONGWRITING course which many of my fellow members of the Songwriters Association of Canada are taking online.   It’s been a hugely busy week for us all, as it coincides not only with Canadian Music Week but also the lead-up to Easter, which involves a fair bit of effort for those of us who enjoy singing in a choir .  I am losing my voice from overuse!

I wrote a song for this week, called “I’m 2 Used 2 This” and it is a dance-influenced pop song – and I bet the numerals in the title tipped you off!   It was supposed to be a very unstable chorus, and for the assignment I posted a less stable version, but in the interests of good songwriting I have allowed the song to go where it wants.  It liked a more stable chorus – I think most songs do.   It has an uneven number of lines and some less stable internal rhyming so it is not entirely against instructions.

Personally, I do feel a chorus OUGHT to be stable in most songs, but there is plenty of emotional scope to be had from less stable choruses.

The amount of singing I have done this past week has left me unable to hit all the notes well enough in my song, so I have not recorded the vocal yet.  In the next few days, I will be able to find time to sing it and then mix.  I will post the recording of “I’m 2 Used 2 This” on Soundcloud at http://snd.sc/10dYJlX and here at my blog, so that you can hear it.

In the meantime, here are the lyrics for the song I got from this week’s efforts.  Sorry to delay uploading the audio – it can’t be helped since I can’t sing properly right now!

I’M 2 USED 2 THIS  (words and music by M. Holland 2013)

Champagne by the bed
The ice has melted
She promised she’d be here
At a quarter after 9

Clock radio says 12
She wasn’t tempted
Just me and roses wilting
In this heat tonight

I’m acclimatized to let-downs
And I’m tougher than I was
I try to feel revitalized
And change my ways because

Cold words that she said
Come back to haunt me
She thought I was cute
But wanted more than that

“I’ve got to go”, she said
“See you this evening”
“Same time, same place” she said
But she’s not coming back

I’m acclimatized to heartache
And I’m hoping I can heal
I try to feel revitalized
But that’s not how I feel


This week we reviewed the topic of rhyme, covering both rhyme schemes and rhyme types.  A lot of interesting information was discussed.  Next week, the meter of rhymes will be examined (the stress syllables and their rhythms as related to natural, conversational speech – or not).

An example of a rhyme scheme might be, say, XXAA, where each line is represented by a letter, and an X means there is no rhyming word, and an A means that any other line described as A will rhyme with all other lines described as A.  If there is a different line ending again, that might be described as a B.  A third would be represented by a C.

Here’s a four-line verse I have written simply as an example for this blog:

There are no wings
That grow on me
But if I try
Perhaps I’ll fly

This scheme is XXAA, since wings and me do not rhyme, but try and fly do.   After the end of the second line, you feel there must be more to come, because the first two lines do not rhyme with anything.  The powerful sense of resolution after the fourth line comes from the way the try and fly rhymes are so perfectly matched.   It is all the more stable from being in contrast to the first two lines, showing another layer of stability – that of what came before contrasted with what you hear next.

This is all very well, and allows the use of various levels of drama and resolution in a song’s rhyming patterns, but I found rhyme types considerably more interesting.

Rhyme type exists on a continuum between stable and unstable rhymes.  A completely stable rhyme, such as try and fly, is a perfect rhyme.   A little less stable rhyme would be something like time and mine and this is a family rhyme.   Unstable, but retaining some half-measure of stability due to similarity, are the additive and subtractive rhymes.  An example of a subtractive rhyme would be a line ending in train followed by a line ending in pay (pay has less content than train) and an additive rhyme might be the other way around – pay followed by train.

The less similar rhyme sounds (for example, retaining and unveiling) lie further along the rhyme type continuum in the land of assonance rhyme.   At the far end of this continuum lie consonance rhymes, which have barely any stability at all.   These are rhymes which share the same final consonants in the sound but have different vowel sounds preceding the final consonant(s).  For example, dread and broad could be rhymed together in this way.

That’s not rhyming, you say?  Well, it turns out that there is a great deal of flexibility in the English language for rhyming – provided you do not stick doggedly to the perfect rhyme types.

English is a rhyme-poor language, so it is hard to avoid other rhyme types in order to finish a song.  Try finding a rhyme for love that is perfect.  When you have written a few songs, you soon realize that glove, above and dove  only get you so far.

Suddenly the word enough leaps to the imagination as it has for so many others before me and voila – I have left the world of perfect rhyme behind in my bid to break new ground in rhyming with the word love.  You’ve heard that one before?   Curses!

As you can see, it’s handy to explore the non-perfect rhyme types when you are painting yourself into a corner and you simply MUST end the line with orange.  The thing to keep in mind is that these less stable rhyme types will convey a sense of resolution or tension in and of themselves.  This is critical, because it allows unstable feelings to be conveyed by unstable rhymes.

Supporting the emotion of the song (rather than deflating it by using elements in disagreement) is our goal.  The prosody of the song can be observed through the lens of the rhyme schemes and types, and a decision made as to whether the song idea in progress is being helped or hindered by the types of rhyme chosen.

So that’s it for this week’s adventures in the world of songwriting.

Check back soon to hear the song “I’m 2 Used 2 This” in all it’s glory.




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dream beautiful music tonight