• Lesson 3: The Romantic Era
Grade 7, Log On
Learn more about the use of poetic meter in folk and popular music.
In many cultures around the world, there is a close connection between poetry and songs. In its most simple form, poetry is often simply set to music by adding a melody to the words. The rhythm of the original poetry must match the rhythm of new melody, or else the words may have odd accents and sound strange to the listener.
To get a sense of this, try saying this sentence out loud and accent the bold syllables: "Mu-sic sounds beau-ti-ful an-y-time." Imagine if the beat of the music fell on the bold syllables-it would sound strange to someone who speaks English.
Ghazal is form of lyric poetry from Iran that is a good example of poetry set to music. There is a specific rhythm to the words and phrases in every ghazal. To keep this rhythm when ghazal is sung, a singer must make sure and keep the same accents as in the original poetry.
Sometimes the form of a poem affects the form of a song. The ghazal is a good example of this, too. The ghazal is made of couplets, or pairs of lines of poetry, that rhyme in the following scheme: AA BA CA DA, etc. The music must match the couplets so that the poetry keeps its form.
Poetry can influence music in other ways, too. For example, rappers often use other poetic devices in their lyrics, such as assonance, alliteration, and simile. Assonance is when a vowel sound is repeated. Alliteration is when the first letter of a word is repeated. Similes are when two things are compared using "like" or "as." Can you think of any examples of these three poetic devices in rap songs you know?