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Are rhymes necessary?

greg stephens 14 Dec 02 - 08:28 AM
John Hardly 14 Dec 02 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,Fred Miller 14 Dec 02 - 09:20 AM
dermod in salisbury 14 Dec 02 - 09:38 AM
Peg 14 Dec 02 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,daylia 14 Dec 02 - 10:40 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 14 Dec 02 - 12:58 PM
khandu 14 Dec 02 - 01:19 PM
Ebbie 14 Dec 02 - 01:20 PM
Mark Clark 14 Dec 02 - 01:38 PM
Don Firth 14 Dec 02 - 02:39 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 14 Dec 02 - 03:05 PM
John MacKenzie 14 Dec 02 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Fred Miller 14 Dec 02 - 07:39 PM
Richie 14 Dec 02 - 11:27 PM
GUEST,adavis@truman.edu 15 Dec 02 - 12:09 AM
GUEST,JennyO 15 Dec 02 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,daylia 15 Dec 02 - 12:07 PM
Jim Dixon 15 Dec 02 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,JennyO 15 Dec 02 - 07:41 PM
GUEST 16 Dec 02 - 02:54 AM
poetlady 16 Dec 02 - 03:59 AM
GUEST,Declan 16 Dec 02 - 12:03 PM
Genie 16 Dec 02 - 01:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Dec 02 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,JennyO 17 Dec 02 - 12:57 AM
mack/misophist 17 Dec 02 - 02:58 AM
Bagpuss 17 Dec 02 - 06:56 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 17 Dec 02 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,T-boy 17 Dec 02 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Fred Miller 17 Dec 02 - 08:45 AM
Wolfgang 17 Dec 02 - 08:55 AM
greg stephens 17 Dec 02 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,daylia 17 Dec 02 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,daylia 17 Dec 02 - 10:42 AM
Genie 17 Dec 02 - 12:17 PM
Mr Red 18 Dec 02 - 09:17 AM
robinia 19 Dec 02 - 04:17 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Dec 02 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,T-boy 19 Dec 02 - 08:09 AM
Dead Horse 19 Dec 02 - 10:04 AM
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Subject: Are rhymes necessary?
From: greg stephens
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 08:28 AM

Rhymes seem pretty universal in English language songs (with the notable exception of "Dirty Old Town"). But I noticed(after singing some for many years) that cajun French songs dont rhyme. Do French songs from France rhyme? Anybody got any information on other language traditions?


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: John Hardly
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 08:41 AM

It was once pointed out me that one of the most masterful standards of pop ever written, "Moonlight in Vermont", does not rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 09:20 AM

There was a discussion on Guitar Notes about writing songs without rhymes, John Lennon has a few, like Julia, which only has Shimmering, Glimmering within a line. The western songs like that which don't rhyme tend to have a lot of repetition of a central phrase or word, sort of rhyming with itself. And after thinking about it, it seemed to me many use dom 7's a lot for a swing-back effect, sort of like a rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: dermod in salisbury
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 09:38 AM

Though not essential, the value of rhyme is the same as the value of form. Form is the opposite of chaos (or random form and formlessness). In the creative arts, form provides a dimension in which creativity can be focussed, and therefore recognized and appreciated. Obviously, a painting of a sunset can never have the beauty of an actual sunset. But the opposite applies. Something that happens accidentally can never have the attraction of something which an individual has worked to create. Hope this doesn't sound too pompous. But the question touches on some interesting fundamental matters concerning things which distinguish aesthetics from mechanics.
This applies as much in a traditional song as in a Shakespear play.

Happy Christmas.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Peg
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 10:15 AM

I agree some rhyme makes things flow better; though of course it depends what sort of song it is. I am a fan of internal rhyme!


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,daylia
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 10:40 AM

IMO rhymes are not 'necessary', but they do provide a satisfying pattern - like another type of 'rhythm' - that makes songs easier to remember. Without rhyme, I have to be really intrigued by the subject matter of the song to make the extra effort of memorizing the words.

daylia


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 12:58 PM

There are different kinds of rhyme as well. In Gaelic songs, the older types of songs had a rhyme of the vowels. Not the ending of a line necessarily either. It could be contained within a line, or several lines. The rhythm of the song would be enhanced by the various vowel sounds which had similar sounds.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: khandu
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 01:19 PM

Good question and some great answers!

Like Peg, I love internal rhymes. Another thing i enjoy is subtle rhyming, the best example I can think of is in "Like a Rolling Stone", in which Dylan rhymes the last word of every stanza just before entering into the chorus; "...your next meal","...make a deal", "...everything he could steal", "
The rhymes of which I speak are so distantly spaced that many do not even realize that they are there.

Are rhymes necessary? No. However, they do show that the writer is not only a tunesmith, but also a wordsmith.

k


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Ebbie
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 01:20 PM

Was it Frost or Sandburg who said something like writing free poetry was like playing tennis without a net?

I too prefer rhyme in song, especially with the addition of internal rhyme, which adds such a rich texture, partly because it means that a lot of thought and attention went into it, and it isn't really that difficult, besides. It continually amazes me that the English language lends and bends itself so readily to emotion.

That said, there are a number of songs that I enjoy that don't have even rhyming vowels.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 01:38 PM


Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

When I write poetry,

It never rhymes.

I guess I think rhymes are important in folk songs although Woody Guthrie certainly wrote his share of non-rhyming verses. Lyrics that don't rhyme are often like melodies with no rhythm. The may have their place in new age or “art” music but I'll never know cause I don't listen to those.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 02:39 PM

An old friend of mine is a poet. He points out that up until recent times, almost all the literature that we know about (e.g., Homer, other Greek and Roman works, especially drama, Psalms, Icelandic Sagas, Beowulf, Shakespeare and other playwrights, etc.) is in poetic form, as opposed to prose. Books and scrolls were expensive, rare (had to be hand-copied, remember), and cumbersome to carry about. Concurrently, only a small portion of the population was able to read. Skalds, bards, troubadours, and minstrels were the main forms of transmission.   They performed these works, not reading them, but reciting them from memory, usually chanting them or singing them to the accompaniment of lyre, harp, or similar instrument.

My friend's theory (which he says is not just his theory) is that rhyme and meter are mnemonic devices. It's a heck of a lot easier to memorize something that has a standard verse form (e.g. four lines of iambic pentameter with an end-rhyme scheme of aabb, followed by two lines of repetitive refrain with the same meter and rhyme scheme). A good strophic (repeating) melody is a further—and very powerful—mnemonic device. All aids to memorization.

A paragraph or two of prose is a heck of a lot harder to memorize, as are some singer-songwriter products that tend toward the amorphous, as so many of them do. A songwriter has to be, first of all, a competent poet. If a song you've written doesn't contain a fairly universal concept that catches the imagination, and if it doesn't follow a consistent enough form to make it easy to memorize, and if it doesn't have a melody that lingers in the mind, it's doubtful that anybody else will learn it and sing it. No future folk song there.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 03:05 PM

Rhymings and timings are slplendid and then hid
By meanings with screenings alluding our feuding...


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 04:07 PM

Rhymes schmymes, oi vey!!
Giok


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 07:39 PM

Dermod, interesting, I take you to mean that rhyme is the same as form to the extent that it's an example of an element of form? But there are some other, maybe lesser, but convincing ways to organise words, and rhyme itself doesn't constitute form to the extent that the pattern of rhymes does. Again, John Lennon's Across the Universe doesn't sound so odd or outre. Rhyme is hard to work around, but it's interesting how and especially why one might make it work. It's just a sort of repetition.

   Mark, now, to me a melody without rhythm is nearly inconceivable, while a song without rhymes is a special case, but not so far out there.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Richie
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 11:27 PM

I don't think rhymes are necessary, but I teach my songwriting students to rhyme in a variety of ways both in the internal line and the 1=3, 2=4 as well as the 1=2, 3=4 types of ending rhymes.

The important thing is conveying a message. This is a good song writing trick- try using rhyme and then not using it for one line. It really makes that line stand out!

I don't think rhymes and form are the same although rhyme can be a part of form.

One of the most important but sometimes overlooked songwriting skills is cadence.

Most of the songs I write have some rhyme but I try not to overdo it. It's harder to use a subtle rhyme scheme.

The cat was black,
She had no home;
Across the neighboring field she'd roam,
In search of food,
And easy prey,
I didn't know she was here to stay.


-Richie


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,adavis@truman.edu
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 12:09 AM

Don Firth's got it. Rhyme points us to the mnemonic dimension of what is sung. It also had the quality of what Walter Ong called the "paideutic spell" -- a hypnogogic tendency that enhanced learning, sent whatever was heard not only to memory, but to whatever part of the mind is opened when we're in a suggestible state.

Rhyme is only one kind of sound-patterning; it becomes the norm in English after the Norman conquest. Traditional Germanic poetry was alliterative, but tellingly, they called it "Stabreim," that is, the words rhymed at the beginning, not at the end of the words. Then there's assonance and consonance, syllabic quantity, all kinds of other features.

Best,

Adam


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,JennyO
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 12:04 PM

There was a man, stood on a hill

If he's not gone, he's there yet.......


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,daylia
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 12:07 PM

Don, thank you for your most informative post. There's a discussion in another thread (Music and the Brain) as to whether or not music is "necessary for human survival", in light of the mounting evidence that our brains have areas specifically designed for recognizing/remembering musical tones and that these areas are linked to both emotion and memory. I think your post resolves those questions.

IMO the educational roles played by the bards and troubadours in ancient times - using music and rhyme, as you described - were indeed "necessary for human survival". That is, for the evolution of what is unique to our species - our language, culture, religion, philosophy and search for knowledge. Without the 'mnemonic devices" of music and rhyme, human knowledge and history could not have been preserved. And we'd probably still be swingin' thru the trees.

Not that that's a bad idea, some days!

daylia


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 06:45 PM

In my experience, songs in English that are authentically "traditional" always have a regular rhyme scheme. Sometimes the rhymes are no longer exact because the pronunciation of some words has changed over the years. Also, traditional songs always have a simple, regular metrical structure. It is only in recent times (late 20th century, anyway) that singer-songwriters have taken to writing songs that resemble free verse.

Regular rhymes and regular rhythm make a song easier to memorize. And they provide a check on your memory. If what you "remember" has a faulty rhythm or rhyme, it's a clue that either the song is of recent origin, or your memory is faulty.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,JennyO
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 07:41 PM

Then there's meter. I assume when Fred Miller said rhythm, this is what he meant. I am inclined to agree with him when he said " a melody without rhythm is nearly inconceivable", more important than rhyme, in my mind, when it comes to music. Of course you can play around with these things just for fun:


There once was a man from Japan,
Whose poetry never would scan'
When asked why 'twas so
He replied "I don't know,
But I always try to get as many words into the last line as I possibly can!"


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 02:54 AM

Still, there is the question of why English songs tend to rhyme much more than French songs. If rhyming is an inherently necessary component of memorization (and thus storytelling/information imparting) why doesn't that hold true for French. How about German? Spanish??


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: poetlady
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 03:59 AM

Ebbie, that would probably be Frost, since Mr. Sandburg didn't seem too fond of form.

There are other ways sounds form patterns in poetry or songs. I suppose every culture develops it's own methods, and makes more or less use of certain things. It probably has to do with the properties of different languages and what kind of work they lend themselves to. If you want to read more on verse construction, you might want to check out something like the Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver at your local library.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,Declan
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 12:03 PM

There's a story about Brendan Behan being asked to give a talk at Oxford. He is alleged to have had a few drinks before hand and when he addressed the audience he was asked the difference between Prose and Poetry he said "Poetry rhymes and prose doesn't".

He was asked for an example and I don't have the exact verse but it was something like :

I love to go to Dollymount,
I love the Fun and Frolics,
I like to go in paddling
And get wet up to my kneecaps

"Now that was prose, If I had gone in another few inches it would have been poetry".


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Genie
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 01:20 PM

What dermod said.

Another lasting pop hit that does not rhyme, and doesn't need to, is "At This Moment."  Unlike "Moonlight In Vermont," this one does not even rely heavily on a repeated phrase ("hook"), although, IIRC, the title phrase may be used at least twice in the song.  

The musical versions of "The Lord's Prayer" and "Ave Maria" don't rhyme or use the repeated hook, either.

That said, much of the beauty and appeal of the lyrics of many classic songs does lie in the use of well crafted rhymes, especially internal rhymes.  As Daylia and Don Firth pointed out, these also make the lyrics much easier to remember.  Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In" is an example.  I even memorized Poe's "The Raven" in high school and remembered it for years, largely because Poe's meter and rhyme schemes were so tight.

I think what makes a string of words a good song lyric is the musicality of the sounds, where those words also convey the intended meaning (if any).  A line can be very musical without rhyming.   As adavis pointed out, rhyme is only one kind of sound patterning.  The lyrics to "Moonlight In Vermont" are very picturesque and their sounds fit beautifully with the melody.

Nevertheless, when I try to sing "Moonlight In Vermont" from memory, I keep mixing up the lines of one verse with those of others, partly because there are no rhymes (and partly because there's no logical progression, as in a story ballad).

Khandu, I know what you mean about distantly spaced rhymes.  Here's the rhyme pattern for one of my best songs:

Verse 1:
1-  A  - A
2- B
3 - C
4 -D
5 -C

Chorus:  E  F  E  F

Verse 2:
1-  G - G
2 - H
3 - C
4 - I
5- C

The rhymes do contribute a lot to the cohesiveness and symmetry of the song, but they don't hit you in the face, because they're not the usual patterns like AABB, ABAB, or AABBA.

No, rhyming isn't a requirement for art.  That said, there are a lot of songs I've heard (many on the top 40 of pop and rock) that sound like the writer just threw words together with no attempt at craftsmanship, ending up with badly chosen rhymes or half-rhymes or no rhymes at all.

One example of a good song that, to me, begs to have one line altered to produce an internal 'rhyme' is "The Strangest Dream."  I always want to sing "...While guns and swords and uniforms lay scattered..."  instead of the way it's written:  "...swords and guns and uniforms...".
 

So glad you folks acknowledged the importance of meter, too.  We've all heard, I'm sure very amateur 'poet' recite stuff that they think meets the criterion of "poetic" because the last line of each rambling, random-length, random-meter sentence rhymes with one other.

JennyO, are you sure that man wasn't Hungarian? *G*

Genie


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 01:59 PM

There are no rhymes in Woody Guthrie's Plane Wreck at Los Gatos - unless you count Rosalita and Maria. But I bet most people hearing it or singing it don't even notice that. (It's not in the DT, for odd copyright hassle reasons, but you can check at that link I gave there.)

Metre and especially stress is far more important than rhyme in English verse. And especially when it comes to singable verse.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,JennyO
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 12:57 AM

Genie, this deserves another limerick:

There once was a man from Hungaria,
Who used language that really could scare-ya.
When speaking in prose,
He was somewhat verbose,
But in verse he was terse, and much wary-a.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 02:58 AM

Rhymes are NOT necessary. Go ahead and do it anyway. You need the practice and you're not good enough to do without them.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 06:56 AM

I have vague memories from english language classes about the change in poetry as the english language changed from a synthetic to an analytic language. Old english was mainly synthetic: it relied a lot on inflections, and word order was unimportant - it also used alliteration a lot in poetry. The languge became more analytic, with word order becoming very important and inflections being dropped and rhyme was more commonly used in poetry.

I always liked songs in which you are led to expect a rhyme, but it doesn't appear where you are expecting it eg in

My Father's a Lavatory Cleaner
He works from morn till night
And when he gets home in the evening
His boots are covered in...
Sweet smelling lavender


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 07:07 AM

Poems Propelled by alliteration
Rather than Rolling Round with Rhymes
Seduced our Sires in Saxon Shires -
Some Still Survive into our times.

Consider, for example, Dylan's "Hard Rain". It has only one (repeated)rhyming couplet, and that's borrowed from the traditional ballad "Lord Randal". But it's loaded with potent alliterative lines like:


"I've walked and I've Crawled along six Crooked highways"

"I've Stumbled on the Sides of twelve Misty Mountains"

"I saw Ten thousand Talkers whose Tongues were all broken"

"I'll Stand on the ocean untill I Start Sinking"

And so on ...

I wish more poets and songwriters would explore the uses of alliteration.

Sorry I can't answer your question about ryhming in French, Greg.
But then, the French have always tended to "gang their ain gait", haven't they?


Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,T-boy
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 08:09 AM

Interesting thread!

Latin and Greek poetry didn't rhyme, what stopped it being prose was that it fitted a preset metre. Greek was more successful in this, as the metric "feet" were more suited to the Greek mix of long and short vowels. Latin struggled with them because it had more long vowels and fewer short ones.

As has been mentioned, mediaeval poetry went in for a lot of alliteration. Rhyming seems to have come later. Rhyming in song doesn't really count for much unless the line lengths are in a fairly obvious pattern, otherwise the listener tends to miss it.

Khandu's reference to 'Like a Rolling Stone' is interesting, but those deal, meal and steal words are each rhyming with the next line: 'How does it feel?' rather than with each other.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 08:45 AM

I think the French bother less with ryhme because it's all a mumbly blur anyway, what the hell. I was always embarrassed by the sing-songy quality of the few phrases I knew-- asking How much does it cost? in French always seemed to want to launch me into a jaunty "Alouetta" refrain, with a little dance. I suspect the whole language was originally a secret one that lovers made up between themselves, that nobody else was supposed to ever hear.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 08:55 AM

I have seen a reference to a rhyme in Latin from the year 283 (Commodianus). Does the first rhyme date from that year? The idea of rhyme came into the German language from later Latin texts.

Apart from that, Don Firth has made the relevant point for using rhymes. Rhymes reduce the possible number of words ending one line to a small set and therefore help the memory. That's the only rational reason for rhymes that has ever been discussed to my knowledge. Metre and stress, BTW, have a very similar reason, namely reducing the number of possibilities left. And they too are not necessary. You could have tunes without metres (remember some chants in, e.g. the Catholic Church?)

So, rhymes are not necessary but they help those with weaker memories.

For instance, try to memorise:

Pi = 3.14159265358979323846

Now try to memorise:

PIE

I wish I could recollect pi.
"Eureka," cried the great inventor.
Christmas Pudding; Christmas Pie
Is the problem's very center.

(and in addition to that, the deciphering rule that you have to count the numbers of letters in the words for to find the first 21 digits of pi)

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: greg stephens
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 09:59 AM

I seem to remember from school days being told that rhyme was a newish southern English habit in Chaucer's time, the examples being the Canterbury Tales(Chaucer, southern, rhymed) v the contemporaneous Gawain and the Green Knight (northern, unrhymed, alliterative). However, I wish I'd thought of another name for the thread: I know perfectly well rhymes arent necessary. I'm more interested in finding out which languages/cultures rhyme their songs, and which don't.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,daylia
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 10:35 AM

May I inflate
                  This great debate
                  With this small point
                  I'd like to make?

It just took me a few extra minutes to figure out a way to express my thought "Good discussion! I've something to add, if I may..." in poetic, rhyming and rhythmical form. But I had FUN doing it! :-)
                     
And that's my point. It takes extra time and effort on the part of a song-writer or story-teller to express themselves in rhyme. But imo it's well worth it for the emotional/mental satisfaction it brings not only to the writer but to the listener.

And it helps EVERYONE remember the words, not just those                     with "weaker memories"!

That said, I do enjoy lots of songs written in 'open form'. But my favourite is songs which trick your mind into expecting a rhyme, and then give you a surprise, like this old Mitch Miller ditty I remember from my childhood ...

"There once was a farmer who took a young miss
In back of the barn where he gave her a - LECTURE
On horses and chickens and eggs,
And told her that she had such beautiful - MANNERS
That suited a girl of her charms,
A girl that he wanted to take in his - WASHING AND IRONING
And then if she did,
They could get married and raise lots of -

SWEET VIOLETS - sweeter than all the roses!
Covered all over from head to toe
Covered all over with Sweet Violets!

The girl told the farmer that he better stop,
And she called her father and he called a - TAXI
Which got there before very long,
Cause someone was doing his little girl - RIGHT
for a change and so that's why he said,
"If you marry her, son, you're better off - SINGLE
Cause it's always been my belief,
Marriage will bring a man nothing but - SWEET VIOLETS...(chorus)

The farmer decided to wed anyway,
And started preparing for his wedding - SUIT
Which he purchased for only one buck.
But then he found out he was just out of - MONEY
And so he was left in the lurch,
Standing and waiting in front of the - END OF THIS STORY
Which just goes to show,
All a girl wants from a man is his - SWEET VIOLETS ... (chorus)"


It's been many years since I've heard that song and I still remember it. IMO it's the clever playing with "rhyme" - and the humour that
results, that makes it memorable. Whether the words actually rhyme or not!

daylia


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,daylia
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 10:42 AM

Oh, and poetry LOOKS pleasing as well, especially when you can get the d*** line breaks right! Sorry about that ...


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Genie
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 12:17 PM

Actually, McGrath, "Deportees" does contain several near rhymes:

CHORUS: .... goodbye, Rosalita,  ...Jesus y Maria;

Verse 1:  ...he made in his life;

......

...they took down and died.

Verse 3:   ... and died on your plains.

...

...we died just the same


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 09:17 AM

I always see rhyme as a mental pause for breath - not for the singer but for the audience. They anticipate the word and have more mindspace to take-in the meaning between the rhyme. Without that punctuation how is the song going to allow the listener to perform this trick? There are tricks, and music plays a big part but the song has to be crafted well, both lyrically and melodically to work the trick. Witness shanties. Unless the meaning of the words is largely unimportant and the voice is to be treated as another instrument, then who cares? I assume French poetry uses rhyme. English has about twice the lexicon of other languages (certainly French) which makes the choices more adaptable to rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: robinia
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 04:17 AM

Hey, the trouble you run into with rhyming in French is that it's just too darn easy -- that is, with all the dropped sounds, there're a tremendous number of words that end with the same possible rhyme....


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 05:43 AM

Exactly, genie - Woody used near rhymes rather than the full rhymes which would have been just as easy. Very often near rhymes seem to work better than full rhymes in song, they sound less as if the word was put in to get the rhyme.

Quite often in my own songs I have replaced a rhyme by a near rhyme, and thinking it over I realise that it is for that very reason.

That's particularly common in Irish-in-English songs, with the multy syllable internal semi-rhymes - if full rhymes were used it'd sound very clever, but maybe over artificial, except in a comic song.

In French it is so easy to get rhymes because the language is built that way (all those final e words, for example) - I suspect people making songs might sometimes work at avoiding them.


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: GUEST,T-boy
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 08:09 AM

Sorry, me again.

French does have rhymes, try this one:

Gal, amant de la reine, alla (tour magnanime)
Gallament de l'arène à la Tour Magne à Nîmes.

This is an (extreme) example of a 'rich' rhyme, i.e. with more than one syllable rhyming. In this case it's a whole twelve-syllable Alexandrine couplet with both lines sounding exactly the same.

(I hope the line breaks come out all right, I'm a bit thick).


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Subject: RE: Are rhymes necessary?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 10:04 AM

When our mob of morris sing "Martin Said" we do it as a sort of challenge in-the-round, when we all have to sing a verse, some (most on a good night) being made up on the spot.
My favourite is:-
I know the words to every song
Fie, man, fie.
I know the words to every song
Who's a fool, now.
I know the words to every song, but sometimes they come out incorrect.
Thou hast well drunken, man. Who's a fool now.

That and dyslexic verses have always gone down well.
(but they don't translate into Cajun French!)


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