Rhyming, The Nexus Of Art And Craft

Rhyming has been one of mankind’s main methods for making sense of the world for eons. Poems, for centuries, were the chief province of rhymed verse. Not anymore. Now rhymed poetry is rare, whereas songs, regardless of genre, rarely are without rhymes. Sure, there are famous rhyme-free songs, such as “America” by Paul Simon, “Moonlight in Vermont” by Blackburn & Suessdorf, and “I’ll Be Your Man” by The Black Keys. But they are exceptions. Generally in songs, be they rock and roll, rap, folk, blues, funk, or hip-hop, rhymes are integral to the solidity of the lyric. But not without reason. Rhyme adds a completion to a line that nothing else can replace. They not only perfect a line sonically and rhythmically by matching sounds, they also link words in terms of associative meaning. Although Dylan is more famous for exploding the content of song than his mastery of craft, he’s been a remarkably virtuosic rhymer since his first songs, often using intricate rhyme schemes, like abab, which requires each line to rhyme, or aabb, which is also a quatrain – four lines – in which each line rhymes. These are rhyme schemes of interlocking rhymes that romantic poets, such…

To view this content,

Join Today

or Sign In

The Benefits of Membership:

  • Subscription to the American Songwriter Print Magazine
  • Access to all Feature Magazine Content Online
  • Access to Print Edition Archives
  • Premium content in our Songwriter U section
  • Discounts on vinyl, Songwriter services, and other American Songwriter Partners
  • Exclusive access to members-only contests and giveaways
Click to Join

We've started an American Songwriter membership! Click here to learn more.