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Scheming with Rhymes for Better Songwriting – Challenge 2013, Week 3

March 18, 2013
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by Debra Alexander

Over 50 Songwriters Association of Canada members from across the country are meeting regularly in an exclusive Facebook Group to discuss new concepts and homework for the free Songwriting Class they signed up for at Coursera. The group is supportive and friendly, forging new ties, networking like crazy; realizing that they make up a fraction of the 63,000 folks taking this class worldwide!

Navigating the course and extracurricular activities has required time and dedication. Watching Pat Pattison’s instructional videos, taking notes and quizzes, writing and recording songs for weekly due dates, providing peer feedback, participating in Coursera forums and Meetups, and submitting personal blogs means everyone is super busy, and super motivated. Everyone now has a good understanding of why the S.A.C. calls this “Challenge 2013”!

Week Three builds on foundations presented in the first two weeks, and invites a deeper examination of the craft of songwriting in order to support a song’s meaning and intent. Meaning is reinforced by drawing attention to certain ideas. This is accomplished in a lyric by setting up sonic expectations… and then by either jolting those expectations or satisfying them.

Pat makes the point in one of his lectures that most songwriters understand how chord choices lend different emotional resonances, but perhaps not as many understand (until now!) that rhymes work in exactly the same way. It’s a subtle and sophisticated art, because it can be done with varying degrees of intensity. In addition to the length of lines and the number of lines in a lyric, we now must consider how rhyme schemes and rhyme types can work to enhance those elements, creating even more of a certain desired effect.

Different emotional resonances are achieved by choosing different rhyme types (perfect, family, additive, subtractive, assonance, and consonance), as well as different rhyme schemes (abab, aabb, abba, etc.), in order to create varying degrees of resolution. All of a song’s compositional elements work in tandem, and the skill with which a writer can manipulate them adds up to the Art of songwriting.

Challenged Ones! Please post the following for Week Three:

1. Your stable verse idea, and the rhyme scheme and/or rhyme types you chose to support it, OR your unstable chorus idea, and the rhyme scheme and/or rhyme types you chose to support it.

2. The URL to your Week 3 blog. (NOTE:  please post the exact URL to the entry and not just the general URL to your blog)

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2013 9:38 am

    Thanks Debra. Looking forward to this week’s Challenge!

  2. March 18, 2013 11:29 pm

    The title of the song I wrote for lesson three is “Nowhere In Particular” I would not normally have written such a blatent expected country songIt is not that I don’t like country but I do not usually restrict myself in keeping the whole verse stable and the whole chorus unstable. I like to play a bit. The forced stucture though did force me to write a song I would not have thought to write .That is a very good thing. I just thought about telling a story and started to tell it. it was quite suprising for me I did it in about ten minutes then spent a few days tweaking it. It sort of aswered one of my long time delemas “where do I get a Idea for a new song from?” I think most song writers have this problem from time to time. Now one solution for me is to pick a form stick to it and try to write a story to fit. Yea!!! Thanks Pat!!!!

  3. March 19, 2013 5:25 am

    http://barrygilmour.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/song-writing-course-lesson-three-blog-rhymes/
    Finally!!! sorry Im a bit late 0322 here in Edmonton Here is my link to my blog on lesson 3.

  4. March 19, 2013 3:00 pm

    My stable verse idea is the unfolding of expected love. Things falling into place as they should, e.g. a royal with a royal, the rich with the rich, same classes together, champions of the aristocracy keeping things as they should be. However, the unstable chorus comes in with the reality that this is all just a masquerade. Things are not as they seem. I used perfect rhyme in the verses and the abaa rhyme scheme in the first verse to add extra stability but gradually became less stable (but still stable) with the second verse with an xaxa rhyme scheme and a perfect rhyme. The chorus becomes more unstable with the questions and a family rhyme (I know, it should have been assonance or consonance rhyme to be truly unstable) but the chorus is mostly unstable because of the number of lines and line length. The last line is shorter and does not rhyme, giving a rhyme scheme of aax. Ok, I won’t get 100% for rhyme type but lets not split hairs! Enjoy 🙂 http://www.supernova.com/KathrynBERRY#/KathrynBERRY/blog/1841838/Week-3-Pat-Pattison-Songwriting-Course-Berklee

    • March 21, 2013 10:35 am

      1) Unstable chorus idea: rhyme scheme aax xx with consonance rhymes and differing line lengths as well as a wee alliteration. 🙂

      I won’t accept this
      I will resist this
      I couldn’t bare its loss

      You can’t grasp water in your hand for long
      You can’t fully feel love before it’s gone

      2) Wanna package?! Blog: http://wp.me/p29Jb2-iq

    • March 26, 2013 10:54 pm

      Kathryn, Way to keep your promises! Excellent prosody here…and your voice sounds perfect on this song. Keep keepin’ on!

  5. March 21, 2013 8:40 pm

    My week 3 rhyming assignment is here, as well as a link to soundcloud. I got a gem in the works, I think. Not in good voice for the recording … very rough! Rhyming is my most favourite thing to do. I had fun!

    http://dawnsacblog.blogspot.ca/2013/03/week-3-creating-stability-and.html

  6. March 22, 2013 2:21 am

    I haven’t had time to come up with a new song for this week’s assignment, yet. However, I did analyze one of my previous songs quite in-depth in my blog post this week, in the context of how rhyme contributes to stability. The song is “Dancing with Daddy”. Enjoy.
    http://www.talenawinters.com/blog.cfm?feature=2529634&postid=3782827

  7. March 23, 2013 3:17 pm

    Hey everyone! I chose to write a song called “Silent”.
    The verse explains why the song character is in the situation she’s in, and it’s factual which is why the verse is stable.
    The chorus is urging the character to leave her past behind and move forward, making it an unstable message.
    The Verse Rhyme Scheme is: ABAB, using perfect rhyme, and there is a little prechorus which is CC, using additional rhyme.
    The Chorus Rhyme Scheme is: ABBAABBAX
    The first A’s use Assonance, and the first B’s use Assonance and additional rhyme.
    The second A is a repeat, the second B’s are perfect rhyme, and the last A is consonance rhyme. The last line, the X is unrhyming.

    My Blog for this week: http://adriannesoundslike.tumblr.com/post/46092292039/week-3-the-creative-process-feeling-rhyming

    Soundcloud link to the song demo: https://soundcloud.com/#adrianne_r/silent-demo-cut-week-3-3-22

    Love & Music, Y’all!
    Adri-Anne Ralph

  8. March 24, 2013 11:57 pm

    I never know what I’m going to say in a blog until I start to say it…this time the ties between motherhood and songwriting surprised me – similarly writing a song about motherhood surprised me too. I’m grateful for this course and the blogging challenge to force me to engage with my blogging and songwriting muse weekly!

    My verse is stable as it explores the beauty of love experienced by a mother of a baby. It is written ABAB with mostly perfect rhymes. The chorus becomes unstable as I explore the sadness of knowing that mothers will all have to let go of their children when they grow up.

    Here’s the blog: http://lilycblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/first-comes-love-then-comes-discipline/

  9. March 25, 2013 12:16 am

    Whew! I had a hard time keeping up with the lessons of this course and my blog to boot, so I just finished my blog clumping weeks 1,2 and 3 together. So far I have 2 partial songs written, I need to write a 2nd verse and a bridge for each of them.
    It’s been fun and time well spent.

  10. March 25, 2013 12:59 am

    I’m so entrenched in writing 4-line sections with AABB rhyme schemes, with perfect and family rhymes, that coming up with anything unstable takes a conscious effort.

    For this week’s unstable chorus, I implemented a 5-line section, ABBBA rhyme scheme, as well as additive/subtractive and assonance rhyme types.

    My first verse and chorus via link:

    http://whogivesapop.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/sac-songwriting-blogging-challenge-week-3/

  11. March 25, 2013 1:20 am

    Here’s my blog for week 3
    http://www.rossdouglassongs.com/blogamente/

  12. March 26, 2013 12:46 am

    Week Three Blog:
    http://www.songstuckerwrote.com/songstuckerwrote/2013/3/25/a-rhyme-like-a-pixel.html

    My verse/chorus description for this assignment is described in this post:
    http://www.songstuckerwrote.com/songstuckerwrote/2013/3/25/the-passion-for-your-poison.html

    In short:

    aabaab – Perfect and Family rhymes.

    aaxx – Assonance and Consonance rhymes.

    And it’s about addiction. Or bad love. Or cheese. That’s up to you to decide.

  13. March 26, 2013 10:01 am

    Here’s my blog–posting it a little late. I’ve been locked offline over here in China, but back up now! http://www.emberswift.com/2013/week-4-rhyme-time/

  14. March 27, 2013 11:04 am

    Debra, Here is the url to my face book. https://www.facebook.com/neil.werden

  15. March 27, 2013 12:50 pm

    I’ve posted lyrics for week 3 and a blog on rhyming schemes and types at

    http://wigglytoesmusic.com/sac-blogging-challenge-2013-end-of-week-3/

    Please enjoy! Sorry for the delay in posting.

  16. March 30, 2013 6:22 pm

    Okay I got ‘er done. A little late… but i manage to pull it off.

    verse: aabb (perfect, and assonance/subtractive rhyme) chorus: aabbx (assonance/additive rhymes and a surprise shorter line length with no rhyme at the end)

    http://wp.me/p2Dudb-fh

    feedback welcome 😉 now off to write week 4…

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