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How are rhymes used?

One of the most powerful elements in a rhyme is its sound. When you rhyme something with something else, the rhyme often emphasizes the sound of the first word. Rhyming is one of the most powerful ways to draw attention to the sound of words. It is also useful for emphasizing ideas. When you rhyme words with the same idea or similar ideas, it makes it much easier to understand and remember what you are reading.

Why are rhymes important?

Rhymes are important because they provide the listener with a rhythm with which to listen. The listener is thus given a spatial orientation with which to interpret the rhythm. As time passes, rhythmically, the listener starts to note the pattern. If one gets out a music handbook, he will see that the importance of rhythm is fundamental to one of the most basic requirements to performance on any instrument: musical practice.

In contrast, most modern literature treats rhythm as merely a cue to the action of speech. It is the vehicle which leads to the emotional explosion. As I shall show, this is absurd: Rhythm is of fundamental importance to the drama and the novel.

Rhymes in Music

Rhymes in music can be more complex than rhymes in poetry or than the linguistic structures involved in spoken language. Written poetry is restricted to eight, ten or twelve syllables per line, and music, which involves tones and sounds, is restricted to any number of syllables. An English rhyme can be quite limited in terms of what it can say, while a Chinese verse may often contain multiple rhymes. Rhymes in music, however, have the potential to be limitless, since it is not an intrinsic restriction, but a choice on the part of the composer, what sounds to be used in the composition. Since most of the music in existence is composed, it is this potential that I will examine in this study.

That fact that it is a choice on the part of the composer to use musical phrases to mean something specific, comes from the musical context of a rhyme. Rhymes in poetry are a particular form of metre, in which syllables are repeated as the number or types of vowels or consonants occurs in the words is matched. Most of the world’s languages have this type of metre, and only those that are monosyllabic (like Irish and English) do not have this feature.