How do songwriter’s place or write lyrics over a rhythm pattern?

In the English language words with more than one syllable will have an accent that stresses that syllable. When matching words over a rhythm pattern make sure that the stress falls in on the strong beats in measure. The accent stress and unstressed syllables create a rhythm.

In poetry these are call “feet” Each line in a lyric will also have what is called a meter count. This is the number of syllables in the lyric lines. As a starting point, there is what is called common meter. The meter count per line goes like this: 8, 6, 8, 6. The first line has eight syllables. the Second line has six syllables. In most common meter the stress pattern used is called Iambic and can be represented like this: * = unstressed and / = stressed. Iambic meter for goes like this:

* / * / * / * /

to sound it out would be something like this : da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM.

Of course this is just a starting point that can be an abundance of different patterns. In music it is important that there be some level of repetition in the rhythm pattern. To give you some idea of songs written in Common Meter is his a short list

  • Amazing Grace
  • Yankee Doodle
  • America the Beautiful
    The Marine Hymn
  • I’ve been Working on the Railroad
  • Giligan’s Island
  • House of the Rising Sun
  • The Yellow Rose of Texas
  • Joy to the World
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Beverly Hillbillies Theme
  • Ghost Riders in the Sky
  • Stairway to Heaven

To write a lyric over a rhythm pattern first establish the syllable count for each line of lyric then determine the accented beats. Then match that with your lyric.

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    Every lyricist should try to write a melody, many lyricists may have an idea of a tune in their mind but cannot express it in audible terms or write it onto manuscript. It is, therefore, advisable to try to sing, whistle or hum the basic tune onto tape so as not to forget the melody. It does not matter what the song sounds like at this early stage, as the tape/cassette recorder is only a notebook for ideas.