4.3 Filling in the Blanks, part 1

A rhyme scheme is great because it limits your options and gives you guidance at the same time. For example, imagine that you’ve figured out that the end of one line of the melody sounds like “elephant tusk,” for some reason. Also, imagine that it’s the first line in the stanza. So, what you need to do next is pick your rhyme scheme. If you go with AABB, then you need to end the next line with something that rhymes with “tusk.” If you go with ABBA, then you need to skip two lines and end the fourth with something that rhymes with “tusk.”

Let’s imagine you decide to go with AABB. So, you need something rhyming with “tusk” to end the second. What other words rhyme with “tusk”? “Musk” is the only one I can think of, for some reason. So, you end the next line with “musk.”

__________________________ elephant tusk
___________________________________ musk

Now we have to fill in the blanks, and there are two ways to do this. One is to let the rhythm of the melody guide our choices. The other is to let the conceptual links between elephant tusks and musk guide our choices. Let’s try the first way first.

If the rhythm of the melody is this . . .

1     +     +     2     +     +     3     +     +     4     +     +
/     –     –     /     –     –     /     /     /     /
el    e     phant tusk
1     +     +     2     +     +     3     +     +     4     +     +
/     –     –     /     –     –     /     /     /     /
musk

. . . it makes sense to ask what would have the same kind of rhythm as “elephant” and would also fit with “musk.” The most obvious answer, since “musk” is a kind of smell, is “covered in.”

1     +     +     2     +     +     3     +     +     4     +     +
/     –     –     /     –     –     /     /     /     /
el    e     phant tusk
1     +     +     2     +     +     3     +     +     4     +     +
/     –     –     /     –     –     /     /     /     /
co    vered in    musk

This is getting grosser and grosser. But at least all we need now are four more syllables: two for the first line and two for the second. They don’t have to make answer sense whatsoever, so we could write:

1     +     +     2     +     +     3     +     +     4     +     +
/     –     –     /     –     –     /     /     /     /
Laugh             ing               el    e     phant tusk
1     +     +     2     +     +     3     +     +     4     +     +
/     –     –     /     –     –     /     /     /     /
Ice               cream             co    vered in    musk

That is absolutely revolting. Ugh. But at least you have the first two lines down. Try to “hear” words at the ends of other lines, fill in their rhymes, and then fill in whatever words fit the rhythms, and you’re done.

PREVIOUS | NEXT

________

Featured image by Kirsi Kataniemi

Leave a Reply