How To Write Song Lyrics: Lyric Styles and Rhyme Patterns


Part Three: Lyric Styles and Rhyme Patterns

Like poetry, song lyrics don’t always have to rhyme or rhyme perfectly to flow and sound well to the listener. There are many styles song lyrics can take, and there are even song lyrics out there that are styled completely at random.

Lyric Styles:

  • Rhyme—re occurrence of similar sounds
  • Alliteration—repeating same sound at beginning or within 2 + words immediately succeeding each other
  • Imagery—illustrative description
  • Personification—adding human characteristics to objects
  • Simile—comparing opposite things, often using the following words, like and as
  • Metaphor—figure of speech
  • Assonance—partial rhyme where vowel sound is stressed to sound alike but not consonant sound
  • Consonance—pleasing combo of sounds produced together
  • Anaphora—word or words that are repeated at the beginning of successive lines

Again, not all song lyrics have to rhyme, but if that is your goal, here are some things that are good to know:

There are many forms and types of rhyme patterns. There can be perfect rhyme, where a syllable of words has the same sound and beats, and there can be near rhyme, where the words have similar sounds and beats but are essential different.

No matter what rhyme pattern you use, it is ultimately important that they make sense and add to the topic of your lyrics. Never force rhymes for the sake of completing your song lyrics.

Rhyme Patterns:

*I will use single letters to denote same rhyme sound and beat*

  • ABAB
  • AABB
  • AABA
  • ABCB

This is not an exhaustive list, but an example. This also shows the endless possibilities of rhyme patterns. There can be more lines, such as ABCBCBA, or fewer lines, such as ABA, and rhyme patterns that go across different verses, such as the first block of verses rhyming with the second block of verses, but not necessarily within their own blocks.

Overall, well written song lyrics will flow well to the listener and convey a meaningful message in its topic. Whether written in perfect rhyme, near rhyme, or completely no rhyme, it will have a style that draws the listener’s ear to it and tells a complete story or expresses a solid emotion.

I hope my 3 part miniseries provided valuable information and tips in helping to write song lyrics. Continue to follow the next two weeks for specific examples of well written song lyrics and my list of 10 well written song lyrics.


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