Week #4 – Rhyme Time

While week #3 focused on number and length of lyric lines, this week focused on rhyming and the varying effects of different kinds of rhymes. It was a bit of a review of my first year of university when I was enrolled in the linguistics program: fricatives, plosives, voiced and unvoiced consonant pairs, etc. I admit that I tuned out during the basic reviews of these things but caught the points he was making in the long run. I do appreciate Pat Pattison’s love of language.

I enjoyed analyzing the impact of rhyming choices on a song’s overall stability, though. Like last week did regarding line lengths, it’s made me analyze the songs on the radio for rhyming choices. This week’s lessons helped to explain why certain verses seem to “work” more for me than others. Before now, I’ve explained certain rhymes as “good ones” versus “it’s a stretch.” In my own writing, I’ve always left it to the melody and vocal phrasing to determine whether imperfect rhymes could work lyrically. Even if it’s something that has always been instinctive as a songwriter, it’s nice to have the terminology to apply to these variations and degrees of rhyming. What’s more, in future writing, I’ll be able to consciously make different rhyming choices to achieve different effects. I certainly learned something!

Now that we swing into week #4—the final week of this free course—I’ve realized a few things:

  • I prefer to listen to lessons rather than watch them. I’m really tired of Pat’s black background and hand gestures. No disrespect—he’s an amazing teacher—but I’m more of an auditory learner anyway. I’ve been playing the lessons while folding laundry or getting dressed or cooking. I wish they came as MP3’s so that they could accompany me on runs.
  • I clearly needed this course to push me over the edge with my stalled songwriting. I have been extremely busy with other things this week, but I’ve still managed to write a new song (Nanshou—from week #3), frame another (“Love Needs No Dictionary”—my idea from week #2 and part of my assignment this week) and re-work some others that had previously been unfinished, lyrically. An upcoming show will feature at least two of my new pieces. Can’t wait to test them out on stage!
  • I’m not a big believer in peer evaluation. Without a dissertation on the issue, I don’t believe it’s the most effective way to evaluate a person’s progress, especially in an elective, free course. I’d prefer “peer feedback” without any kind of numerical value placed on my work. It feels too arbitrary. Besides, I really don’t care how I “rank” in any of this and I’m just happy to engage and complete this course; I wish grading weren’t part of it.

In general, though, I’m really glad I decided to do this. I hope everyone is enjoying the course as much as I am. It really has value. Pat Pattison has created an amazing array of learning tools with which a songwriter can craft her (or his) craft. After this final week, I’ll just have to keep that toolbox handy rather than tucking it back on the shelf!

I promise to share more about what I’m writing soon. Re-writes for Nanshou are on their way, for instance!



Week #5 - Mell OH Dee
Week #3 - Song Stability

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