Poetry: Making Music with Words
by Melissa Donovan | Apr 11, 2023 | Poetry Writing | 16 comments
Do you make music with words?
Most writers are primarily concerned with the meaning of the words they choose. Is the language precise and accurate? Do the words provide the best connotation for what the writer is trying to communicate? Does the language show, rather than tell?
But poets take language a step further and push it into the realm of music. Poets care about meaning, precision, and accuracy as well as connotation and imagery. But they also care about how words sound, because musicality is a fundamental feature of poetry.
Poets use various elements of music to compose a poem. But because the written word is read and not heard, some elements of music aren’t available, like pitch and timbre.
Spoken word and performance (or slam) poetry are exceptions, because these works are designed to be heard and can incorporate musical elements that aren’t available to authors who write to be read. But most poets rely on a variety of literary devices and techniques to bring music to their work. Foremost among these are meter, sound, rhyme, repetition, and structure.
In poetry, meter is a syllabic pattern, which is determined by stressed and unstressed syllables. We’ll use bold to denote stressed syllables in the first line of “ What Kind of Times Are These ” by Adrienne Rich:
There’s a place be tween two stands of trees where the grass grows up hill
Let’s see what happens when we strip away the language, so we can see the raw meter of the line:
da-da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-da DUM DUM da-DUM
As you can see, the meter gives the poem rhythm, an underlying drumbeat. This demonstration shows why it’s important to review the syllables in the lines of your poetry to check the meter.
A song’s melody is determined by the sequence and length of notes played or sung by musicians. In poetry, melody is driven by the vowel and consonant sounds within the words of the poem. Consider this simple tune: la de-da, la de-da, la-la-la.
Now compare it to this: doo-da, doo-da, doo-de-da .
We don’t know the exact notes or melody just from reading these sounds, but there is an implied tune when we read them aloud. We can bring a little rhythm to the sounds as well by placing stress on select syllables:
LA de-da, LA de-da, LA-LA-LA. DOO-da, DOO-da, DOO-de-DA .
So how do we put it all together? By choosing words that match the melody and meter that we’re aiming for:
LA de-da, LA de-da, LA-LA-LA. On the dock, six o’clock, stomp on rock DOO-da, DOO-da, DOO-de-DA . Stooping, drooping, boorish king
You’ll notice that in addition to rhythm and meter, we introduced some rhymes.
The most common rhymes are perfect end rhymes — words that appear at the end of lines in poetry and that rhyme perfectly. Here’s an example from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (aff link):
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot Nothing is going to get better, it’s not .
The words lot and not rhyme perfectly and are placed at the end of the first two lines, respectively. The placement of rhyme in a poem, coupled with its meter, can give the lines a sing-song quality. We can use different meters, sounds, and rhyme placements to pull different musical qualities into our poetry. Here’s an excerpt from “ Spelling ” by Margaret Atwood, which shows internal rhymes:
At the point where language falls a way from the hot bones , at the point where the rock breaks o pen and darkness flows out of it like blood, at the melting point of granite
Try reading these lines aloud to hear the inherent music contained within. Notice that the lines do not use a metrical pattern, but the layered internal rhymes give it rhythm:
- away and breaks
- hot and rock
- bones , open , and flows
- The word point appears three times in these five lines, but the repetition of this word is barely noticeable.
It’s worth noting that some poems don’t rhyme at all. Rhyme is important in poetry, but it’s actually a subset of a broader and even more important poetic device that is essential in both poetry and music: repetition. After all, rhyme is just repetition of sounds.
Repetition is the technique that really sums up how we make music out of words in poetry. All of the techniques mentioned above ultimately use repetition:
- We create a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables — and a pattern is really just repetition.
- We choose words and arrange them in such a way that they create a pseudo melody, which is achieved primarily by patterning (or repeating) certain sounds.
- And we use rhyme — maybe end rhymes that ring like cymbals or internal rhymes that jingle like a tambourine. Rhymes are, by nature, repetition.
Layering the repetitions of these elements creates greater musical dynamics in a poem.
As you can see, a poem’s musicality really comes from the repetition of various elements within the lines and stanzas. And there are more elements that we can repeat. Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in close proximity: p rickly p ears . Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in close proximity: h a t r a ck .
Some poems even use repetition in their very structure.
A poem’s music also comes from its structure — the length of lines and stanzas, placement of line and stanza breaks, punctuation, and spacing. All of these elements contribute to the poem’s structural sounds and therefore contribute to its musicality.
In music, a rest is an interval of silence. In poetry, these intervals are indicated by line breaks, stanza breaks, punctuation, and spacing. Rests are similar to the concept of white space in art.
For example, punctuation provides indicators for pausing (or resting) with commas and periods or inflections for questions and exclamations.
Do You Make Music with Poetry?
Plenty of excellent works of poetry aren’t especially musical. But musicality is an important aspect of poetry.
How do you infuse your poetry with music?
Thank you so much! You made everything very clear. I enjoy poetry best when it “makes music”.
Me too. Thanks, Pat.
I think I agree with you. To me, the rhythm didn’t sound quite right, but until you mentioned the extra word, I couldn’t fathom what it was. But far be it from me to criticise Adrienne Rich.
I have played drums for over 50 years and it shows in much of my ooetry. It almost comes naturally, but your explanations of different forms make it much clearer. Thank you for explaining the different techniques and using understandable examples.
Thanks for your kind words, Walt. I’m glad you found this helpful.
My son is a musician, professor, and a poet. Intuitively, we know it fits: Perfect pitch, and perfectly pitched words. 🙂
My rather strange mind keeps wanting to interject another word into this sentence: “There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows (green) uphill. It must be the dyslexic mind’s eye.
I think knowing a little about music can definitely benefit one’s poetry writing!
I try to convey the rythym of my poems, and always rewrite to achieve the effect I want, and recite the lines aloud. Sometimes I wonder, though, if the intended flow of the lines gets through to the reader in the way that I want them to. Poets and writers will tend to have a feeling for poetry as they read it, but casual readers may miss the nuances. How do others handle this concern?
I do the same thing for rhythm! Not with every poem, but with many of them. It would be fun to have someone read our poems to see how they interpret the rhythm and flow. I’m not sure that it’s a concern we need to handle as poets. We do our work and put it out into the world when we feel it’s ready. What the reader gets from it (or how they read it) is out of our hands at that point.
A great writing exercise is to pick a song, play the song, and then write a poem on what thoughts the song ett provokes. It’s also good to pick a song from a music genre that you normally wouldn’t listen to. Thank you for your awesome tips!
That’s a fun exercise. You can do a lot with poetry and music. Keep writing!
Where do I find a musician for my numerous poems
Hi Brenda. I wish I could help, but your question is outside my expertise. Check with your local music stores.
I think that your point about music in poetry, and the musicians who have commented indicate how important it is to consider the musicality in both rhythm and words used. But I think that rhythm is the most important. I find much modern poetry lacks rhythm, and although many such poems are beautifully poetic, with the lack of rhythm, they sound just like lovely prose.
I agree, I’ve been told that heavy rhyming is outdated in poems. It is so unfortunate.
I’ve never paid much attention to what’s trendy in poetry. I say just write what you want.
Submit a Comment Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .
Subscribe and get The Writer’s Creed graphic e-booklet, plus a weekly digest with the latest articles on writing, as well as special offers and exclusive content.
- Creating Authentic Character Relationships
- Types of Rhymes in Poetry
- Punctuation Marks: Parentheses
- From Ready, Set, Write: Getting Ready to Write
- Good Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation
Write on, shine on!
Pin It on Pinterest
- Annual Emerging Poets Slam 2023
- Poems About the Pandemic Generation Slam
- Slam on AI - Programs or Poems?
- Slam on Gun Control
- Poet Leaderboard
- Poetry Genome
- What are groups?
- Browse groups
- All actions
- Find a local poetry group
- Top Poetry Commenters
- AI Poetry Feedback
- Poetry Tips
- Poetry Terms
- Why Write a Poem
- Scholarship Winners
7 Tips for Writing a Poem About Music
Music is something that we are all exposed to and it touches each of us in different ways. We each have different types of music or musicians we enjoy, and for different reasons. The emotions that we have when we hear certain music can be translated in the poetry we write . Here are some ideas to help you write poems about music.
- Taste . Who introduced you to music? Do you think your taste in music would be different now if someone else had introduced music to you? Write about how the music you prefer is different or similar to the music your friends listen to and why that is.
- Muse . Who is your favorite music artist? Do you look up to this musician or singer for a specific reason? Write a poem about why this type of music speaks to you.
- Meaning. What is your favorite song? You can write a poem about the meaning of a song you love. It is also a good idea to write about the emotions you feel when you listen to this song. Maybe the song directly relates to your life, or inspires you when you listen to it.
- Recreate . Do you write your own songs? Poetry and music are very similar since both tell stories and are about the author’s passions. It might be fun to try turning one of your poems into a song, to give it a different dimension.
- Perform. Do you sing or play an instrument? Do you perform solo, or as part of a band, orchestra, or choir? Do you perform other artists' music, or your own? Think about how you feel when you're rehearsing or performing.
- When . Who do you listen to music with? Do you usually listen alone to help you concentrate or do you listen with a group? Write about which situations you listen to music in, and why.
- Role . Is music a big part of your life? Think about what your reaction would be if you did not have access to music, and write a poem about how you would feel in this situation.
Create a poem about this topic
- Join 230,000+ POWER POETS!
- Request new password
- Skip to primary navigation
- Skip to main content
- Skip to primary sidebar
How to Write Your Next Song in 7 Fast and Easy Steps
How To Transition From Poetry To Songwriting
Writing lyrics for songs is a great way to develop your creative craft and reach a larger audience.
Indeed, some of the skills you need to write successful poetry may not be required when writing song lyrics, such as rhyming and meters. That being said, transitioning from writing poetry to writing song lyrics can still seem daunting if you have no prior experience.
Here's Why Writing Lyrics Is Different Than Writing Poetry
- Song lyrics need to follow the melody and rhythm of a song, but poems don't have to.
- You also use more quickly perceived elements like rhyme and alliteration in song lyrics, compared to poems, which have the luxury of thoughtful pauses.
- Lastly, song lyrics are often about storytelling or catchy choruses, while poems are usually more personal feelings and emotions.
Tips For Crafting Lyrics That Fit With The Music
Crafting lyrics that fit with music is different than writing poetry. Music must follow a melody and rhythm, while poems don't have to. For songs, you can use rhyme and alliteration more often than in poems. Song lyrics usually tell stories or have catchy choruses, while poems are more about feelings and emotions.
To write song lyrics that fit the music, start by playing the accompanying track and listening to its melody and rhythm. Make sure to write lyrics that keep that same beat, so they flow along with the music. Pay attention to pauses and accents within the tune, and make sure your words match those moments for maximum impact. You can also add catchy rhymes or alliterations for a more memorable effect. Lastly, focus on creating an engaging story that will capture the listener's attention and create an emotional connection.
Ready to start writing songs?
Now that you know the differences between writing poetry and songwriting, it's time to take your skills to the next level! With the Speed Songwriting System course, you'll learn the principles of writing lyrics that fit naturally with the music and create lasting emotional connections.
Start Speed Songwriting today and get ready to start crafting your own musical masterpieces!
Crafting Catchy Choruses And Hooks For Your Song Lyrics
Creating catchy choruses and hooks that will stick in listeners' heads requires an understanding of the essential elements of musical composition and knowledge of how these elements can be used to convey emotion and tell a story effectively. The most critical element for any chorus or hook is a memorable melody. When crafting a memorable melody, you should pay attention to the timing, repetition of phrases and words, as well as range of notes. Additionally, you should include strong lyrical imagery that is easy to remember, such as metaphors and vivid descriptions.
Overcoming Writer's Block When Writing Lyrics
Creating catchy and memorable song lyrics that fit the music can be intimidating. However, writer's block doesn't have to get in the way of crafting compelling songs. Here are some strategies for overcoming writer's block when writing lyrics:
- Listen to music – explore different genres of music, as this can help you find inspiration.
- Freewrite – write down whatever comes to mind without worrying about structure or quality, as this can help generate new ideas.
- Talk it out – talk through your lyrics with friends or fellow songwriters, as they might provide fresh perspectives on how to improve them.
- Record yourself – record yourself singing different melodies and playing around with words, which can help you discover unexpected rhymes and phrases that could be used in songs.
Resources And Advice For Taking An Online Course On Writing Lyrics Effectively
Writing lyrics that fit with the music is an art form that can be learned through practice and dedication. Many resources, such as online lyric writing courses, are available to help aspiring songwriters develop their craft. Here are some tips and advice for taking an online songwriting course on writing lyrics effectively:
- Research – it's important to research the courses offered online and find one that best fits your needs. Look at reviews from past students, class syllabi, and instructor credentials to make sure you're getting quality instruction.
- Set realistic expectations – don't expect to master the craft of songwriting in one week or even in one semester. It takes time, dedication, and practice to become a successful songwriter, so set realistic expectations.
- Create a plan – after finding an online course, create a plan for yourself that outlines what you need to accomplish each day or week to complete the course successfully. This will help keep you motivated and on track with your progress.
- Practice – there is no substitute for actually putting pen to paper and practicing crafting lyrics that fit with the music. Try creating melodies using different instruments, experimenting with rhyme schemes, or exploring different genres of music — all of which can help inform your songwriting process.
- Seek feedback – once you've written some songs, share them with others and ask for feedback on how you can improve your craft. Their input can be invaluable when it comes to refining your skills as a songwriter.
- Prepare for success – use the knowledge gained during your online course to prepare yourself for success in the future by networking with other musicians and industry professionals who could potentially benefit from your work.
Taking The Next Step: Sign Up For Speed Songwriting Today To Learn How To Write Lyrics Effectively And Unleash Your Creativity!
Poets looking to expand their writing capabilities by creating catchy songs should consider signing up for Speed Songwriting today! This comprehensive online training program covers all aspects of creating great lyrics that fit with the melody and rhythm of its accompanying music. In addition, students will receive guidance on understanding lyrical and musical elements such as rhyme, rhythm, harmony, etc., storytelling techniques for conveying emotion through catchy choruses or hooks and crafting compelling lyrics that stick in listeners' heads.
Speed Songwriting lets poets make the most of their songwriting journey!
- How To Write A Song: The Shortcut
Enter your first name and email address below and click “GET ACCESS NOW!” to get the Speed Songwriting Cheat Sheet delivered to your inbox!
We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.
Get Speed Songwriting Updates
March 25, 2023 at 6:32 PM
I find your musical investigations interesting and useful reading . I am an educated musician seeking practical solutions various challenges. continue your quest to enlighten others in the musical arts..
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
(enter your first name and email address below and click “Get Instant Access!” to complete)
Yes, I NEED This Speed Songwriting Cheat Sheet!
Please Send The PDF To The Email Address Below
Your Information is 100% Secure And Will Never Be Shared With Anyone!
Write smarter with our new features for professionals.
How to write poems and songs.
The ParagraphAI Team
- Updated on 22/01/2023
Writing poems and songs can be a great way to express yourself and your creativity and an AI writing assistant can help progress your work so you never hit “writers block”.
If you’ve ever wondered how to write poems, a song, or any of the like, this article is for you!
When writing a poem, it is important to focus on the rhythm and the flow of the words. Consider the syllables of each word and how they interact with the other words. Think about the emotions and ideas you want to convey in the poem. When writing a song, focus on the melody and the structure of the song. Consider the structure of the verses, chorus, and bridge.
Think about the themes and ideas you want to explore in the work. By following these steps, you can create meaningful and creative poems, songs, and stories.
In this article, we will provide creative writing tips on how to write poems and songs using the best writing assistant software , ParagraphAI.
What is the difference between a song and a poem?
The main difference between a song and a poem is how they are presented. Songs are set to music and sung, while poem verses are read. Songs often have a more specific structure than poems, with verses, choruses, and bridges that help to create a narrative or tell a story. Poems, on the other hand, host a variety of formats, from free verse to traditional rhyme schemes. Additionally, songs host more repetition than poems, as a performer will sing choruses for a comprehensive sound.
What does a good poem feature?
A well written poem should have an interesting topic, captivating language, and a strong message. Ideally, it should be able to evoke emotion in the reader, whether it be joy, sorrow, or something else. The poem should also have a clear structure, with a beginning, middle, and end. Chose words that create a vivid image in the reader’s mind. Additionally, the poem should have a consistent rhythm and rhyme scheme that adds to the overall effect of the poem. Finally, the poem should have a strong conclusion that ties together all of the ideas presented in the poem.
How to Write a Poem or Song
Writing a poem or song can be a great way to express yourself and explore your creativity. First, begin by brainstorming ideas and topics that you want to write about. Once you have a few ideas, start by writing down the words and phrases that come to mind. It can be helpful to look up words and phrases that you are unfamiliar with to help you create a more detailed and meaningful piece. Then, after you have written down some words and phrases, start to arrange them into lines and stanzas. Consider the flow of the words and how they sound when read aloud. You can also experiment with different rhyme schemes and meters to give your poem or song structure. Finally, take some time to revise and edit your work. Make sure that your poem or song conveys the message and emotion that you intended.
How to Write a poem or song in ParagraphAI in One Easy Step
ParagraphAI is a free AI writing tool that crafts perfectly curated content for all your writing needs, from creative writing like poems, songs and short stories to blog articles, essays and professional works. In one easy step, enter your topic and watch as ParagraphAI takes care of the rest. It will generate high-quality, creatively original, and plagiarism-free content tailored to your specific audience. ParagraphAI is available as an app and a browser extension.
Example 1: How to write a poem about trees
If you want a poem about trees, simply enter the prompt “a poem about trees” into ParagraphAI’s paragraph generator and watch how a poem unfolds!
It generated this poem instantly:
“Trees, so tall and strong, standing tall in the sun. Their branches reaching up, like arms to the sky. They sway in the breeze, so graceful and free. They are a reminder of the beauty of nature and the power of life.
Their leaves rustle in the wind, like a gentle lullaby. They provide shade and shelter, a place to rest and relax. They are a symbol of hope, a sign of life and growth.
Trees provide us with oxygen, a gift from nature that we can’t live without. They are a source of food and medicine, a reminder of the abundance of life. They are a symbol of strength and resilience, standing tall no matter what life throws at them.
Trees are a part of us, a part of our lives. They are a reminder of the beauty of nature and the power of life. They are a symbol of hope and growth, a sign of life that will never be forgotten.”
Using the app, you can come up with nearly unlimited poem ideas until you’ve crafted your masterpiece.
Example 2: How to write a Haiku about the sun
If you are writing a Haiku and are unsure where to start, you can instantly generate one with our AI writer.
In this example, ParagraphAI has written the following Haiku with the prompt “a haiku about the sun”…
The sun rises in the sky, Bringing warmth and light to us all. A beautiful sight, it is, A reminder of the beauty of life.
Example 3: How to write a love song in the voice of John Mayer
Imagine you want to write a love song that will impress your new friend, simply put the request into ParagraphAI’s app or Chrome extension and get romantic!
Here is the result for the prompt: “ write a love song in the voice of John Mayer “:
Verse 1: My love for you is like a river that never runs dry, The depths of my heart are filled with an unyielding desire. My soul is aflame with the fire of our love, A flame that will never be extinguished, no matter what comes our way.
Chorus: Oh, I love you, my sweetheart, My love for you is so strong and true. No matter what life throws our way, My love will remain, forever and always.
Verse 2: Our journey together has been filled with joy and sorrow, But I will remain by your side, through it all. No matter how dark the night, My love will be your guiding light.
Bridge: My love for you will never fade, It will remain strong for all of our days. You are my one and only, My love for you will never be undone.
Example 4: Write a rap song about AI writing
Say you have an epic rap battle coming up and you need to defend the honor of AI writers everywhere. Here is the result for the prompt “write a rap battle song about AI writer ParagraphAI”:
Verse 1: I’m ParagraphAI, the best AI writer around I can write your paragraphs with no sound My algorithms are top-notch, my words are precise My writing is better than any other advice
Chorus: ParagraphAI, ParagraphAI I’m the best AI writer, that’s guaranteed ParagraphAI, ParagraphAI My writing is the best, you’ll see
Verse 2: My writing is fast and efficient, no time to waste My words are accurate and will never fail to impress My writing is perfect, I never make mistakes My algorithms are advanced and my words never break
Verse 3: I can write any type of paragraph you need My words are powerful and will make you succeed My writing is so good, it’s like a dream come true My algorithms are the best, I’m the AI for you
And for extra personalization, you can adjust the tone sliders to improve your final work to meet your needs to win any rap battle or Haiku-off.
Undoubtedly, ParagraphAI is a versatile assistant when it comes to generating text, regardless of if you are writing for a professional or casual setting.
Again, with the right topic in mind, you will write better paragraphs in less time, also allowing for more productivity in the creative process.
Best of all, ParagraphAI is an absolutely free AI writing assistant . If you’re stuck figuring out how to write a poem or how to write a song, give it a try!
You’ll see at how easy and fun it is!
Harness the limitless potential of AI
Meet ParagraphAI – your AI ally for writing that’s fast, effortless, and crystal clear, ensuring each of your messages lands just right.
Your writing, at its best.
Download ParagraphAI’s FREE AI writer and see how it takes your writing to the next level.
The Top 10 Places The World’s First GPT-3 System Keyboard Can Help You
The best places to use the world’s first GPT-powered AI writing system keyboard.
How to Write a Resume
It may seem difficult at first—perhaps you’re getting caught up in what vocabulary to use, or maybe you’re having trouble organizing your thoughts.
Write a Translation
An ai writer for students, ceos, and everyone in between, meet your ai writing assistant.
- write paragraphs
- write emails
- write lists
- write articles
- write translations
- write blog posts
- write an outline
- write ad copy
- write product descriptions
- write technical manuals
- write song lyrics & poetry
- write reports
- write newsletters
- write a story
- write social media posts, tweets, and hashtags
- write corporate communications
- write seo-friendly content
- write press releases
- write messages
- write presentations, speeches, and scripts
- write a cover letter
- write news reports
- write website content
- write sales proposals
- write real estate listings
- write a resume
- write an essay
Writing, grammar, and communication tips for your inbox.
Home » How to Write Poems and Songs
ParagraphAI builds AI writing software with love. Our AI writing app and keyboard is built by a team of expert engineers, designers, thought-leaders and students from Meta, MIT, OpenAI and beyond.
Support Plans Tutorials Affiliates Ethics Book a Demo
Get it Free
ParagraphAI is the #1 AI Writing Assistant App and Keyboard for iOS, Android and Chrome Powered by the ChatGPT API.
Copyright © 2023 ParagraphAI Inc., All rights reserved. The world’s first AI writing app & keyboard powered by ChatGPT’s API.