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RHYTHM AND METER

*RHYME SCHEME
 a pattern or sequence where the rhyme occurs
 (“Two Tramps in Mud Time” : abab cdcd)

 LABEL RHYME SCHEME:

A
A
B
C
C
D
LABEL RHYME SCHEME
*RHYTHM
 The pattern or musical quality produced by
the repetition of stressed and unstressed
syllables.
 Rhythm occurs in all forms of language, both written
and spoken, but is particularly important in poetry

 In poetry
 Rhythm in writing is like the beat in music. In
poetry, rhythm implies that certain words are
produced more force- fully than others, and may be
held for longer duration.
 The repetition of a pattern of such emphasis is what
produces a "rhythmic effect." The word rhythm comes
from the Greek, meaning "measured motion."
RHYTHM:
 In speech, we use rhythm without consciously
creating recognizable patterns.
 For example, think about the phone—
 Almost every telephone conversation ends rhythmically,
with the conversants understanding as much by rhythm as
by the meaning of the words, that it is time to hang up.
 Frequently such conversations end with Conversant A

uttering a five- or six-syllable line, followed by Conversant


B's five to six syllables, followed by A's two- to four-syllable
line, followed by B's two to four syllables, and so on until
the receivers are cradled.
 Don’t believe me?

Welp I gotta go now.


Allright, c-ya later.
Yup nice chattin’
See ya. Take care.
Till tomorrow
Bubye
IN POEMS, AS IN SONGS, A RHYTHM MAY
BE OBVIOUS OR MUTED.

 Vachel Lindsay's "The Congo" consciously recreates the


rhythms of a tribal dance:
Fat black bucks in a wine-barrel room
Barrel-housekings, with feet unstable,
Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table,
Pounded on the table,
Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom,
Hard as they were able
Boom, boom, BOOM,
With a silk umbrella and the handle of a broom,
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.
WHEN ASKED THE QUESTION- WHAT’S THE
RHYTHM?
YOU MIGHT ANSWER REGARDING—
RHYME SCHEME, METER
(BOTH TYPE AND PATTERN)
METER
 *Meter:Pattern of stressed and
unstressed syllables established in a
line
 Stressed syllable (‘) is the accented or
long syllable
 Unstressed (u) is unaccented or short
syllable
 Meter signifies both TYPE of pattern
and NUMBER OF PATTERN
RHYTHM
 RHYTHM:
 the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a
line.
 *POETIC FOOT
 unit of meter (two or three syllables)

 METER:
 the number and pattern of feet in a line.
*SCANSION
 Describing the rhythms of poetry by dividing the
lines into feet, marking the locations of stressed
and unstressed syllables, and counting the
syllables.

 Thus, when we describe the rhythm of a poem,


we “scan” the poem and mark the stresses (/) and
absences of stress (^) and count the number of
feet.
 *Iambic- two syllable foot with
stress on second syllable
 Below; delight; a muse
 A/ book /of /over/ seas/ un/ der/ neath /the/ bough

 A /jug / of /wine/ a /loaf/ of /bread /–and /though/


 *Trochee- a stressed syllable followed by an
unstressed syllable
 Dou/ ble, / dou / ble/ toil /and/ trou/ble
 Fire/ burn/ and /caul /dron /bub/ble
REVIEW/ PREQUEL
 In English, the major feet are:

 iamb (^/) ^/^/^/^/^/^/^/


 The falling out of faithful friends, renewing is of
love
 *trochee (/^) /^/^/^/^
 Double, double toil and trouble
 *anapest (^^/) ^^/^^/^^/
 I am monarch of all I survey
 *dactyl (/ ^^)
 *Anapest- three syllables with the stress on the
last syllable

 Cav a lier
 In ter twine

 With the sheep in the fold and the cows in


their stalls
 *Dactyl: foot contains three syllables with the
stress on the first syllable

 hap pi ness, mer ri ly, mur mur ing


 Love a gain
 Iambic and anapestic meters are called rising
meters because their movement rises from
unstressed syllable to stressed;

 trochaic and dactylic meters are called falling.


 The scansion of this quatrain from Shakespeare’s
Sonnet 73 shows the following accents and
divisions into feet (note the following words were
split: behold, yellow, upon, against, ruin'd):
 A frequently heard metrical description is iambic
pentameter: a line of five iambs. This is a meter
especially familiar because it occurs in all blank verse
(such as Shakespeare’s plays), heroic couplets, and
sonnets.
 Pentameter is one name for the number of feet in a
line. The commonly used names for line lengths are:

 *Monometer one foot


 *Dimeter two feet
 *Trimeter three feet
 *Tetrameter four feet
 *Pentameter five feet
 *Hexameter six feet
 *Heptameter seven feet
 *Octameter eight feet
THE WHY BEHIND THIS SEEMINGLY
INTIMIDATING STUFF:
 Yes, that’s all very lovely, but why do we study rhythm? People have a basic need for
rhythm, or for the effect produced by it, as laboratory experiments in psychology have
demonstrated, and as you can see by watching a crew of workers digging or hammering, or
by listening to chants and work songs, rhythm gives pleasure and a more emotional
response to the listener or reader because it establishes a pattern of expectations, and
rewards the listener or reader with the pleasure that comes from having those expectations
fulfilled, or the noted change in a rhythm.

 (see Dark Knight’s postulate: if everything is according to the plan, everybody feels
 An argument might be raised against scanning: isn’t it too simple to expect that all
language can be divided into neat stressed and unstressed syllables? Of course it is. There
are infinite levels of stress, from the loudest scream to the faintest whisper. But, the idea in
scanning a poem is not to reproduce the sound of a human voice. To scan a poem is to make
a diagram of the stresses and absence of stress we find in it. Studying rhythms, “scanning,”
is not just a way of pointing to syllables; it is also a matter of listening to a poem and
making sense of it. To scan a poem is one way to indicate how to read it aloud; in order to
see where stresses fall, you have to see the places where the poet wishes to put emphasis.
That is why when scanning a poem you may find yourself suddenly understanding it.

 In everyday life, nobody speaks or writes in perfect iambic rhythm, except at moments: “a
HAM on RYE and HIT the MUStard HARD!” Poets don’t even write in iambic very long,
although when they do, they have chosen iambic because it is the rhythm that most closely
resemble everyday speech.