Understanding rhyme patterns is one of the best ways to increase your songwriting ability.
What Are Rhyme Patterns
To me, rhyme is one of the fundamental building blocks, or can be one of the most destructive forces, in a song. How you arrange your rhymes is called the pattern.
You’ll sometimes hear someone refer to your verse as an AABB or your chorus as a CCCC. When you hear this, the person is talking about the song’s rhyme pattern. An AABB rhyme pattern means the first two lines rhyme with the same vowel sound, and the next two lines rhyme, but not with the vowel sound from the first two A lines.
The “A” is a label only. It doesn’t mean the rhyme is an A vowel sound.
The B lines use a different vowel sound from the first two lines (the AA lines).
Let’s go ahead and chart a rhyme pattern in a song!
Charting – How Do You Do It?
Rhyme is about sound, not spelling. It helps bring regularity, linking, audio separation, tempo, and many other things to the rhythm of a song or poem. It’s often overlooked, but can be one of your strongest tools when writing a song.
One of the best ways to understand the power of rhyme is to look at other songs and their rhyme patterns. Charting a rhyme pattern is easy, and follows a very basic process.
With each end rhyme, you’ll indicate a letter (always start with A). As you progress through the song, with each end rhyme change, you’ll indicate the next letter in the alphabet. If you hear the same sound later in the song, use the letter associated with the sound the first time you heard it.
Sounds complicated, so I’ll just show you.
Here’s a charted rhyme pattern for a song called ‘Chasing Pavements‘ by Adele:
I’ve made up my mind, A (long i sound)
don’t need to think it over. B (ur sound)
If I’m wrong I am right, A (long i sound)
don’t need to look no further. B (ur sound)
This ain’t lust, C (u sound w/s consonant)
I know, this is love. C (u sound w/v consonant)
Go to the whole song lyric and chart the rest!
Now you pick a few songs and do the same thing. Have you noticed any similarities between the songs you charted? Anything different? Does it work in the song?
Now, try some of those patterns in your own songs!