When it comes to songwriting, rhymes are an essential part of the formula. Rhymes create structure within songs, place emphasis on specific thoughts, and are incredibly pleasing to the ear. However, trying to think of the perfect rhyme can lead to some serious writer’s block.
To some, transforming thoughts into colorful rhymes comes easily. However, to most, finding the perfect rhyme is something that requires brainstorming. We want to help you become more comfortable and efficient with rhyming by sharing some rhyming schemes. You can use these different formats as a base for your songwriting, as well as a resource for when you get stuck. But before we get into it, we should mention that these rhyming schemes apply to end rhymes.
An end rhyme is defined as when a poem or verse has lines ending with words that sound the same.
End rhymes are the m rhymes used in songwriting, as opposed to internal rhymes, which are:
- Two or more rhyming words occurring within the same line
- Two or more rhyming words appearing in the middle of two separate lines or sometimes in more
- A word at the end of a line rhyming with one or more words in the middle of the following line
Internal rhymes can be fun to experiment with in songwriting, but end rhymes are the rhymes that define the structure of the song.
The AAAA rhyme scheme is a scheme in which every line rhymes. A great example of this type of rhyme can be found in the verses of “Hello” by Adele.
Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya, but I ain’t done much healing
Hello, can you hear me
I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet
This type of rhyme scheme can also be found in songs with more than 4 lines in a verse or chorus. Ed Sheeran‘s “The A Team” is a fantastic example of the AAAA form, and he even sneaks in an internal rhyme that fits nicely in the song structure.
And they say
She’s in the Class A Team
She’s stuck in her daydream
Been this way since eighteen
But lately, her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries
Though the AAAA rhyming scheme is great to experiment with, you should be fairly cautious of your rhymes sounding too forced or repetitive. A great way to avoid this is to do what Ed Sheeran did in “The A Team” and create rhymes by using two words instead of one.
In a four-line verse, an ABAB rhyme scheme would mean that lines 1 and 3 share a rhyme, and lines 2 and 4 share a different rhyme. An example of ABAB can be found in the verses of Toto‘s “Africa.”
I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She’s coming in, 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
ABAB form is commonly used in traditional poetry and songs. The traditional English tune, “Scarborough Fair,” demonstrates this rhyming pattern.
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
For once she was a true love of mine
The ABAB form works well with four lines; however, you can make it 6, 8, or any other number!
In an AABB rhyming scheme, lines 1 and 2 rhyme, and lines 3 and 4 share a different rhyme. An example of AABB is found in “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman.
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be
This is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies
This is me
You can also find the AABB rhyming scheme in “Bye Bye Bye” by NSYNC.
Don’t want to be a fool for you
Just another player in your game for two
You may hate me but it ain’t no lie
Baby bye bye bye
Don’t really want to make it tough
I just want to tell you that I’ve had enough
It might sound crazy but it ain’t no lie
Baby bye bye bye
AABB works very well in the choruses of songs, so if you’re ever stuck on a catchy hook, try using this form to push you through!
The XAXA rhyming scheme means that the rhyming of lines 1 and 3 doesn’t matter as long as lines 2 and 4 rhyme. Think of lines 1 and 3 as the beginning of a thought and lines 2 and 4 as the end. This is a great way to structure some phrasing within your songs. You can find the XAXA form right at the beginning of “Let it Go” from Frozen.
The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen
Another example of XAXA form can be found in the classic holiday favorite, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nosenose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say itglows
AXAA and AAXA are very close to the AAAA rhyming scheme. However, they have a line (either line 2 or 3) that doesn’t rhyme with the others. An example of this rhyming scheme can be found in the second half of the chorus in “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. Notice how the first chorus uses an AAAA rhyming scheme by the repetition of “ya.”
I’d catch a grenade for ya
Throw my head on a blade for ya
I’d jump in front of a train for ya
You know I’d do anything for ya
I would go through all this pain
Take a bullet straight through my brain
Yes I would die for you baby
But you won’t do the same
Using the AXAA or AAXA form can be a great way of breaking up too much repetition. You’ve also probably found yourself in some instances where you can’t think of the perfect rhyme. Instead of spending hours and hours trying to think of one word, try keeping the line you have and inserting it as the “X” line in this form!
The AAAX rhyming scheme means that everything rhymes except for the very last line in the verse. Often, this last line has a completely different amount of syllables as the three lines before it. An example of the AAAX form can be found in “Fix You” by Coldplay.
When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
When the tears come streaming down your face
‘Cause you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
What could be worse?
Another example of AAAX is in the iconic Louis Armstrong tune, “What A Wonderful World.”
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
If you look at the big picture of both of these examples, you could also label them AAAB, since “reverse” and “worse” rhyme in the Coldplay example and “world” is used twice in “What A Wonderful World.” Similar to the AXAA and AAXA rhyming schemes, AAAX (or AAAB) is a great way to break up repetitive sounding rhymes. It’s also the perfect way to emphasize a particular line or lyric.
Yes, there are some songs in which none of the end phrases rhyme! XXXX is the rhyming scheme with no rhymes, and it can be tricky to pull off. In instances where XXXX is used, there must be more focus placed on the rhythm and flow of the lyrics.
“Hey Jude” by The Beatles is an example of the XXXX form. Notice how there is some use of internal rhyming, so the verse isn’t completely absent of rhymes.
Hey Jude, don’t let me down
You have found her, now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better
Similar to “Hey Jude,” Ed Sheeran also uses an internal rhyme in his XXXX verse of “I See Fire” from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. You will also notice that this verse tells a story, so it pulls the listener along without the use of rhymes.
If this is to end in fire
Then we should all burn together
Watch the flames climb high into the night
Calling out for the rope, sent by and we will
Watch the flames burn on and on the mountainside
The XXXX form proves that rhymes aren’t absolutely necessary to make a song. So if you have a verse or chorus that feels and sounds good to you but doesn’t have any rhymes, don’t sweat it! Focus on the rhythm and feel of the section, and grab a second opinion. In any case, rhymes will likely find their way into other parts of your song.
Many times, your songs will have verses or choruses that exceed 4 lines. You can repeat any of the previously listed rhyming schemes to fit your verse, or, you can work with a combination! “Kiss” by Prince uses both XAXA and AAAA in the chorus.
You don’t have to be rich
To be my girl
You don’t have to be cool
To rule my world
Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your kiss
Although many songs follow some sort of rhyme scheme, there’s no definite right or wrong way to rhyme in your lyrics. These rhyme schemes are designed to help and guide you in your songwriting, not to restrict you. And if rhyming is tough for you now, the more you write with rhymes, the easier it will become. The rhyming schemes we’ve talked about are a great place to start. You can also check out our article “Beat Your Songwriting Block With These 5 Exercises” for some extra help! All things considered, the best way to get better at songwriting is to keep on writing. So don’t give up! Write as much as you can and then write some more. We can’t wait to see what you come up with. Happy writing!
The patterns are encoded by letters of the alphabet. Lines designated with the same letter rhyme with each other. For example, the rhyme scheme ABAB means the first and third lines of a stanza, or the “A”s, rhyme with each other, and the second line rhymes with the fourth line, or the “B”s rhyme together.What does a rhyme scheme enhance? ›
Rhyme, along with meter, helps make a poem musical. In traditional poetry, a regular rhyme aids the memory for recitation and gives predictable pleasure. A pattern of rhyme, called a scheme, also helps establish the form.What is the best rhyming scheme? ›
#1: AABB. An AABB rhyme scheme is made up of four lines. The first two lines are a pair, as are the last two lines.What is an example of a AAAA rhyme scheme? ›
The AAAA rhyme scheme is a scheme in which every line rhymes. A great example of this type of rhyme can be found in the verses of “Hello” by Adele. This type of rhyme scheme can also be found in songs with more than 4 lines in a verse or chorus.What are the 3 types of rhyme scheme? ›
- Perfect rhyme. A rhyme where both words share the exact assonance and number of syllables. ...
- Slant rhyme. A rhyme formed by words with similar, but not identical, assonance and/or the number of syllables. ...
- Eye rhyme. ...
- Masculine rhyme. ...
- Feminine rhyme. ...
- End rhymes.
- You can work out the rhyme scheme of a poem by labelling the words that rhyme with each other. It will help you see the pattern of the poem.
- For example, if a poem's first and third lines rhyme you should label those 'A'. ...
- If all four lines rhyme with each other, this is an 'A A A A' rhyme scheme.
A rhyme is the repetition of sounds between two words, usually the sounds after the final stressed syllable of each word. Cat-hat, rotten-forgotten, and heard-bird are examples of rhyming pairs of words; their sounds match after the last stressed syllable.What is an example of a rhyme poem? ›
E.g. An example of a rhyme is: "The cat and the hat, sat on a mat". Rhyme takes many different forms, follows different patterns, and is used in a wide variety of ways. It is most common in poetry, but there are examples to be found in prose.What is rhyme scheme style? ›
A rhyme scheme is the ordered pattern of those rhyming arrangements from line to line in a poem. Typically comprised of three, eight-line stanzas (ABABBCBC) followed by a four-line stanza (BCBC). The first line and fourth line rhyme and enclose a pair of new rhymes in the middle. Also called an internal rhyme scheme.What are 5 line rhyme schemes? ›
Envelope quintet: An envelope quintet is a five-line verse in which the inner lines are enclosed by the rhyming outer lines. The rhyme scheme may look like ABCBA, AABAA, or ABBBA (in which the middle lines form a rhyming tercet).
Songwriters walk a fine line when it comes to rhyme. Strong, well-crafted rhyme schemes help you structure your lyrical ideas. They make your songs unique and memorable and deliver a satisfying emotional payoff.Why is rhyme scheme effective? ›
Rhyme creates a sound pattern that allows you to predict what will come next. When you can remember one line of a poem, you're more likely to remember a second line if it rhymes. This pattern creation also allows the poet to disrupt the pattern, which can give you a jarred or disoriented sensation or introduce humor.What is an example of ABAB ABAB rhyme scheme? ›
One type of poem that has an ABAB rhyme scheme is the Shakespearean sonnet. One such example is Sonnet 18, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day." "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.What rhyme scheme is AAA BBB? ›
Triplet: Related to a monorhyme, a triplet is a three-line stanza (tercet) with shared end lines, such as AAA, BBB, CCC, etc. Scottish stanza: This six-line pattern gains its name from Scottish poet Robert Burns, who used its AAABAB rhyme scheme in many of his works.What is an ABAB rhyme scheme called? ›
A sonnet is composed of three 4-line stanzas (in the ABAB rhyme scheme), followed by a couplet, which is in the AA rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme of the entire sonnet would look like this: 'ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.What are the rules for rhyming words? ›
In the specific sense, two words rhyme if their final stressed vowel and all following sounds are identical; two lines of poetry rhyme if their final strong positions are filled with rhyming words. Examples are sight and flight, deign and gain, madness and sadness, love and dove.What is an end rhyme scheme? ›
End rhyme is when the last syllables within a verse rhyme. This type of rhyme is the most commonly used in English poetry. It is also often used in song lyrics, as we will see below. Many poets use end rhyme because it creates a rhythm.What is a end rhyme? ›
end rhyme, in poetry, a rhyme that occurs in the last syllables of verses, as in stanza one of Robert Frost's “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”: Related Topics: rhyme rime suffisante ...(Show more)What are the 5 rhyming words? ›
- Ask- Mask – Flask – Task – Bask.
- About – Throughout – Drought – Without – Scout – Doubt – Sprout.
- Above – Glove – Dove – Love.
- Across – Loss- Cross – Toss.
- Add – Glad – Sad – Mad – Lad – Dad – Bad – Had.
- Age – Stage – Wage – Engage – Sage – Cage.
His work is recognisable by a strong rhyme scheme. The poem had an A-B-A-B rhyme scheme.
- Use a common rhyme scheme. There are many specific rhyme schemes available for you to play around with. ...
- Experiment with other poetry forms. ...
- Play with different types of rhyme. ...
- Play with sound repetition. ...
- Keep a notebook. ...
- Move your stanza breaks around. ...
- Use a rhyming dictionary.
In the lines of a poem, the pattern of words that sound alike is called a rhyme scheme.What do rhyme schemes tell us? ›
In poetry, a rhyme scheme determines and explains which lines of the poem rhyme with other lines in the poem. Rhyme schemes are notated in letters like ABAB. These letters represent four lines of the poem; the lines with the same letters rhyme.What are 3 line poems that rhyme? ›
A poetic unit of three lines, rhymed or unrhymed.What is the pattern of songwriting? ›
A typical song structure includes a verse, chorus, and bridge in the following arrangement: intro, verse — chorus — verse — chorus —bridge — chorus — outro. This is known as an ABABCB structure, where A is the verse, B is the chorus and C is the bridge.What is the purpose of rhymes? ›
Rhyme is used to create unity of sound and sense, and repetition to assist memory.Why is rhyming important? ›
Rhyming helps babies and children learn about words, sounds and language formation. Hearing and using rhyme, rhythm and repetition helps children develop early literacy skills. The repetition of words, ideas and skills is important for early brain development, as it creates secure foundations for early learning.What is rhyme scheme in a sentence? ›
rhyme scheme in American English
the pattern of rhymes, esp. end rhymes, used in a piece of verse, usually indicated by letters. ababbcc is the rhyme scheme of rhyme royal. English. Grammar.
The ABAB rhyme scheme means that for every four lines, the first and third lines will rhyme with each other and the second and fourth lines will also rhyme with each other.Does the poem have a rhyme scheme answer? ›
No, the poem does not follow a consistent rhyme scheme.