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Subject: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Red Ant on 10/14/06 at 1:01 am

Hey everyone,

I don't think the topic of rhyming has been brought up on the messageboard in a while. I'm curious as to how other authors feel about rhyming in general, so I've posted this topic along with a poll which I hope everyone takes. You can select up to two choices, and of course, leave comments down below.

BTW on #7, with "rhyming pattern" I mean that in a song like The Beatles' "Let It Be" you would use all "E" sounds throughout the parody for end line-rhymes and choruses (as the original does), as opposed to say an "I" sound.

I'll give my views on rhyming later.


Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Johnny_D on 10/14/06 at 1:25 am

When I write a parody, I like to try for two things:

(1) Matching the pacing of the OS as perfectly as possible;

(2) Rhyming as many of my parody's syllables as possible to the OS's corresponding syllables.

When I achieve both (1) and (2), I've got a parody that's so easy to sing along with the OS that it's practically like a full set of misheard lyrics!  ;D

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: The Charnstar on 10/14/06 at 2:15 am

I think rhyming is deeply important, where it rhyme's in the OS, you rhyme in the parody. Although sometimes you have them words that rhyme with words that have 40 syllables, so you have to cut that 40 syllable word down to 2 syllables with alot of apostrophes.. It's hard, but I try my hardest. And if I can't get rhyming good, I go for something that sounds similar, with a different letter, like Light and Bike. And if THAT don't work, CRAZY ACCENTS IT IS! Like in Weird Al's Canadian Idiot "Hardly understand what they're talking aboot" just my accents I kinda like... Have no reason for them besides the lack of rhyme.

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Kristof Robertson on 10/14/06 at 5:08 am

Ah, rhyming....one of my favourite topics!
My own peronal rules for rhyming are thus:

1) For me, rhyme scheme is THE most important technical part of the parody. I am not talking about Jack's definition of "rhyme pattern" (where the rhymes themselves match the OS), but which lines in the OS rhyme with each other (You know, ABCB ABAB etc.) IMHO, the rhyme scheme HAS to match that of the OS exactly.

2) If it's possible, I WILL try to have the rhymes in my parody match the OS...it makes the parody more recognisable as an adaptation of the OS, and IMHO, the closer a parody can be to an OS, the better. However, I NEVER put rhyming over humour. If I have to lose a joke to get a rhyme that matches the OS, I won't.

3) I ALWAYS try to have the choruses rhyme with the OS; they're the anchor to the OS and parody.

4) If I can pull off a high percentage of matching rhymes AND keep the humour, then I consider I've done well. The rhyme pattern I'm most proud of recently (which I think a lot of people missed) was in "Villa La Mediocre"

Original line: "Makes you order French Champagne"
My line: "Makes my buttocks clench; cramp pain"

John Barry does this sort of thing all the time...clever bass turd.

Rhyming IS important; if there's not a reasonably high percentage lines in your parody that match the OS...it's a different song to the same tune, not a parody.

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Matthias on 10/14/06 at 10:00 am

I mostly always follow the rhyme scheme of the original song, meaning I used the same words that was in the original only rhymed. However one acception to this was my parody of Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere" called "I Have No Career" doing that sort of rhyming in that kind of parody would be impossible.
I even used the kind of matching the song words rhyme scheme in "Major-Modern General", which actually wasn't that hard you just match the amount of syabols per line and rhyme the last word, pretty easy actually...
And even in "We Didn't Start The Fire" I used the same matching word rhyme scheme, basically I try to do that wherever I can.

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: TransDutch on 10/14/06 at 5:46 pm

1) If the OS is ABBA, I make sure my parody is ABBA
(On the other hand, if the OS is **by** ABBA...)

2) Wherever possible, I use the exact same words in the OS.  Sometimes even using entire lines if it gains a new meaning.  Of course, there has to be a significant amount of new material. 

3) I might consider a song a parody if it were just a 'new song to the old tune', but it would have to be an extremely recognizable tune.  For an example, see Tom Lehrer's The Elements -- which was the periodic table of elements set to Gilbert and Sullivan. 

4) I'm a newbie and whenever I type OS I think of Tigers, Panthers and Jaguars.

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Red Ant on 10/14/06 at 6:30 pm

Note: All that follows is just my opinion. There, that saved typing IMHO 30 times.  ;)

Before I give my answers, here is one of the sites I've used to help define the types of rhyme:

Glossary of Rhymes

Now then, I voted "I rhyme every word possible" and "It varies on the song."

Like Johnny D said, the more words that are rhymed per song, the easier it is to sing the parody.

Kristof's right about my bad definition of "rhyme pattern", which is ABAB, AABB, AABCCB, XAXA, etc. That needs to be followed pretty much always to have a good parody. If I can also rhyme my lines using the same assonance as TOS did (such as using all "E" sounds in "Let It Be"), then that's all the better.

While I've done a few syllable-for-syllable rhymes parodies, I usually can't pull that type of thing off too often without spending a ton of extra time on the piece. The next best thing is rhyming all of the stressed syllables in the line, such as this:

"These lines plain stink, but I'll do 'em again" for
"And I don't think that I'll see her again"


Red=Assonant rhyme
Green=Perfect rhyme (also stressed syllable)
Orange= Consonant rhyme
Bold=Identical rhyme

While I repeated the end-line rhyme of "again" in the parody lyric, I try to change those when I can. If the author of the song got a case of rhymitis and used nearly every friggin' rhyme ("Be Our Guest" and most raps qualify), I may start using assonant rather than perfect rhymes to avoid a simple rearrangement of the rhymes that are already there.

My second choice, "It varies on the song", is a judgement call based on how I perceive the original work. Songs like "The Major General's Song", "American Pie" and a lot of classic rock tend to use perfect rhyme much more than newer music does. If I think one of the OS's "strengths" was its rhymes, I'll work harder on those to get perfect rhymes.

Newer music and much of what I listen to on a daily basis does not have perfect rhyme (some of it doesn't rhyme at all).  They use mostly assonance rhyming (rhyming vowels), so I feel there is no problem doing the same.

I think TWOTEF is generally known for its rhymes (AABCCB rhyme scheme), the "B" rhymes are not perfect (empty/early, Cleveland/steamin',etc)  and there are I think two verses where it's more AXBCCB, X being a complete misrhyme to A. Keeping AABCCB throughout a parody is fine, but going AXBCCB where the original does too is fine as well.

Where was I?  ;) Ah. I agree with Kristof too about rhyming the chorus to TOS if possible, with one caveat: If TOS using tired rhyming pairs such as love/of, girl/world, to/you, etc, I'm going to vary or flat out change them. I did this in "Slaying the Mime", where the original uses "love/of/above" in the chorus (I used "fun/gun/run"). To me, tired/cliche rhymes make a song predictable.

The only rhyming that grates me is flat-out misrhymes (like orange to Philadelphia, cat to book, etc), and to a lesser extent, eye rhymes (such as "love/move") and consonance (back/buck) when they occur at the end of a line. Rhyming a word to itself (identical rhyme) is not too creative either.

While rhymes and rhyme scheme are important to a song, incorrectly stressed words are going to stick out 10 times worse in a recording, or my impromptu karaoke of your piece, than slight misrhyming does. One can fudge the rhymes a bit, speed up or slow down singing to correct a syllable-imperfect line, but a word with the syl-LAB-ic em-PHASIS backwards brings me to a stop nearly every time.

I suppose emphasis and humor are a separate thread altogether.  ;D

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Rex on 10/15/06 at 9:17 am

I always follow the rhyming pattern of the original (ex., ABAB) but don't overly worry about following the same rhyming sounds as the original.

And I always try to follow the meter of the song I'm parodying, using the same number of syllables and accenting the same syllables.

But there are always issues. With rhymes, it can depend on how people pronounce words - for you, does "skeleton" rhyme with tin or ton? With pacing, different people (especially people from different countries) accent words differently.

Also, I've gotten dinged on pacing when I matched the original exactly; usually this happens when there are multiple versions of the song out there (either from the same artist, like Elton John's "Candle In the Wind" or from different artists, like "Mack the Knife").

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: PMS on 10/15/06 at 12:13 pm

I like at least the vowel sounds to pace with the OS, but I won't put pacing over a real good joke or a visual. I also like internal rhymes and alliteration especailly when they are uncalled for.

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 10/15/06 at 11:43 pm


Ah, Jack, now you've done it - my very favourite topic - and this thread has been fascinating to see what other writers do and don't do

Here's my approach - and warning:  those readers averse to self-indulgence, stop reading now.


I realise that long-term amirighters intuitively know all this stuff, but I'm posting my thoughts anyway, just to articulate the process, for the interest of newbies, and to add to the discussion.

I reckon if there were to be a fourth category of voting (ie 5555) it should be for "delight" - because beautiful unexpected and unnecessary rhyming is the cream on top of a good parody, and gives you a feeling of delight.

I agree that all the bases have to be covered first.  Like everyone else, I agree the rhyme scheme MUST be adhered to 100%.  Then pacing should work on three-levels - correct syllable count, matching emphasised syllables to the OS, and matching "line-shape" to the OS.  Because you can achieve the first two but still not match the "line-shape"

For example, I failed to do this in my most recent parody

     from Rhinestone Cowboy:

     OS lines
                 I've been walking these streets so long
                 singing the same old song

     My lines
                 I've been stalking these sheets so long
                 and that...tie-dyed sarong

The syllable-count and the emphases are correct but Glenn Campbell shapes the second line as
(Singing) (the same old) (song)

My line shapes it as
(And that) (tie-dyed) (sarong)

...so the shape is different, which means it isn't a shadowless fit to the OS - (but I wanted to use sarong, despite being uncomfortable about "line shape")


Also I was interested to read Kristof say that he always syllable-matches the choruses with the OS, which is a great rule to have.  I also think that syllable-matching the title is a great rule, and is its own reward because the (hopefully) delighted reader is more likely to give the parody a read.   



BUT.....
after achieving all those mandatories, you can then start adding on the "cream" layers of delight.  As JD says, the more syllables that are matched to the OS, the sweeter, more karaoke-able, and effortless the read is, which adds a delight element.  Likewise a sprinkling of OS lines with just minor (or no) adjustments, which cleverly and unexpectedly happen to work in the parody's new context is delightful. 

When it comes to syllable-matching, there seem to be 2 broad types of parodists.  Both types' techniques result in equally valid, but totally different, types of parody. 

Firstly the syllable-matching worshippers, the most prolific being John A. Barry, and who also include TJC, Tommy Turtle, and often JD, and sometimes Rick Cormier. To do it well, the lines (which inevitably sound contrived) have to be funny because of their contrivedness. I've had a go at it, with disastrous results (ask Kristof ;)) 

Rick's Bohemian Rhapsody from earlier this year I distinctly remember succeeding brilliantly. 

Most of us fall into the other camp.  In fact I'll never syllable-match a line to an OS-line unless the line passes two tests -


(a) The line MUST sound like a line that could occur in everyday conversation
(b) Any comic effect that I was happy with before attempting the syllable-matching must not be compromised.


If I can achieve both things, then adding on syllable-matching is a true delight, because of what JD said.  That's why it's worth syllable-matching the title, because it's easier to achive (a) and (b) with a title, as it's non-contextual.



BUT...
the cream of delights, the ultimate delight factor for me, is in the adding of unrequired additional rhymes, which can be done in two ways - (a) internal rhymes, and (b) intra-couplet syllable-matching, and ultimately BOTH.

The examples I'm about to use may seem like shameless plugs, but it's the easiest way I know to support my points


(a) Internal (and unrequired) rhymes

Hardly any OSes have internal rhymes, which is why they're so delightful when they occur in a parody - because EVERYONE loves an internal rhyme (as PMS said above - internal rhymes and alliteration) so it's definitely worth doing, for the delight factor


For example, here are some internal rhymes where the OS "Be Our Guest" doesn't have them...

"Swedish crowns, British pounds, I have found are safe and sound
If the market's down you mustn't frown, it quickly turns around"


(b) Couplet Syllable-Matching

ie. not only rhyming the couplet's last emphasised syllable (which of course is a necessity), but rhyming ALL the emphasised syllables right back to the beginning of both lines.

OSes never do this (except for eminem's, as Luke will point out) which is why it's such a delight when you see it in a parody.

I've done three parodies where this has been my sole aim.  However because I always adhere to my "conversation" rule, I'm rarely able to get ALL the emphasised syllables back to the start of a couplet to rhyme, and I've often been torn between going for the "right-back-to-the-start" 100% success, and keeping conversational rhythm. 

Example...

"Now I need me bras all underscored with lead and metal pins
just to keep me assets juttin' forth like airborne zeppelins"

(red rhymes are on unemphasised syllables)


(c) Best of all is where you get internal rhyming AND couple-syllable-matching

"Blackjack fanatics in matches in attics
Fatcat asthmatics' distracting theatrics"

"African factories packaging batteries
Acrobats patting their fractured anatomies"




Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: agrimorfee on 10/16/06 at 9:22 am

No time to read the above manifestos, so I am posting mine and hope you'll forgive any repitions.

For me, keeping the OS rhyme scheme can help or hinder completing a parody sometimes. But Bad rhyming can lend itself to humor as well. (such as purposely using a rhyme with a potential dirty word and not using the dirty word. HAHA! :D). Sometimes the OS rhyme scheme is so ingrained in listeners' ears, you can't help but keep that rhyme scheme. The trick for a good parody writer is being able to change that rhyme into something that reader/listener won't care about (or "aboot", for you Canadians.  ;) )

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Spaff.com on 10/17/06 at 11:41 pm


I even used the kind of matching the song words rhyme scheme in "Major-Modern General", which actually wasn't that hard you just match the amount of syabols per line and rhyme the last word, pretty easy actually...


OK, I just gotta jump in here to defend the honor of W.S. Gilbert. "The Major-General's Song" isn't merely a bunch of 16-syllable lines with single end rhymes. It's iambic octameter with triple end rhymes. No, really.

Most "Major-General" parodists get the meter right (iambic meter is simply an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one), but very few attempt the triple rhymes. For example, Gilbert rhymes "commissariat" not merely with "at" (a single rhyme) but with "wary at" (a triple rhyme), and "hypotenuse" not just with "news" (single) but with "lot o' news" (triple).  In fact, every single couplet in "Major-General" has a triple rhyme, which is, IMHO, the main reason the piece is so memorable.

I'm not saying that anyone has to rhyme any parody any specific way; do whatever works for you. But if you think that "Major-General" is easy, try it Gilbert's way.

xoxox
Spaff

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 10/18/06 at 1:01 am



In fact, every single couplet in "Major-General" has a triple rhyme, which is, IMHO, the main reason the piece is so memorable.

I'm not saying that anyone has to rhyme any parody any specific way; do whatever works for you. But if you think that "Major-General" is easy, try it Gilbert's way.

xoxox
Spaff


or indeed try it Spaff's way, because (and I remember commenting on this when it was submitted) Spaff nailed every single triple-rhyme in his "Boating With Odysseus" parody of MMG - an attention to detail that made Odysseus a no-brainer for my "Song Of The Year" vote last year.

In the one time I attempted MMG (early on in my time at amiright), I achieved the triple-rhymes on half the couplets, and was pretty proud of myself, and I certainly thought that's good enough.  But when I read Spaff's, I saw what was possible.

In fact it was right after Spaff's effort in November that I started to get obsessed with intra-couplet syllable-matching, as I described in my above post (see my December "Worrying Signs Of A Newbie Exorcist" submission) and with achieving the holy grail of doing it right back to the beginning of the lines - the reason being, of course, that the effect you get is just so cool!!



Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Red Ant on 10/21/06 at 2:28 am


In fact, every single couplet in "Major-General" has a triple rhyme, which is, IMHO, the main reason the piece is so memorable.



Actually, every couplet, save the two you cited and "din afore/Pinnafore" and "strategy/sat a gee" are perfect triple rhymes, which is why the piece is a nightmare (probably close to impossible) to do 'right'. Those are broken rhymes, that is using two or more words to make a rhyme, though the end result is pretty much indistinguishable by ear.

Of course, you also varied every chorus, which was a first for that song.

Not to diminish the MG or your beyond awesome parody of it, but have a look at an Eminem song. In "Lose Yourself", there are 11 quadruple rhymes in the first verse, and 20 triple rhymes in the second, and another 20 in the third (nevermind all of the internal rhymes and other rhyming quirks). Granted, they are all broken, and in some cases seriously slanted, but in the first 2 verses they all rhyme to themselves (that is, AAAAAAAAAAA and BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB).

I suppose that's nothing to the quintiple+ rhymes he laid down here "Sing For the Moment":

Like they worship us,
plus all the stores ship us plat'num
Now how the f*ck did this metamorphosis happen
From standin' on corners and porches jus' rappin'
To havin' a fortune, no more kissin' ass, (but) then

Not to mention the "worship us", "corners", and "fortune" internal rhymes (which could bring the last 2 lines to a "last 8 syllables rhymed" (octiple?) couplet....)

It could take a guy months just to parody that small part of one very long verse of 3.

So, Luke, you up to that?  ;)

I thank all who have responded to this thread and/or voted in the poll.

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Step-chan on 10/21/06 at 3:14 pm

I don't worry about it, at least in making it match the OS' rhymes. I do try to make mine rhyme when I really need to, but it doesn't have to match the vowels in the OS.

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Spaff.com on 10/21/06 at 6:56 pm


Spaff nailed every single triple-rhyme in his "Boating With Odysseus" parody of MMG


I wasn't trying to make this thread about me, but thanks for the plug, s2art. I wouldn't say I *nailed* the rhymes so much as *hammered* them. (You know, like square pegs into round holes.) For example, Gilbert never would have rhymed "Odysseus" with "syphilis," because, for one thing, those words don't rhyme. But I enjoy the rhymes-that-don't-really-rhyme of guys like Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein, so occasionally I'll attempt them myself.

I'll have to go back and reread your "Newbie Exorcist" so that I don't miss anything this time.


Actually, every couplet, save the two you cited and "din afore/Pinnafore" and "strategy/sat a gee" are perfect triple rhymes, which is why the piece is a nightmare (probably close to impossible) to do 'right'. Those are broken rhymes, that is using two or more words to make a rhyme, though the end result is pretty much indistinguishable by ear.


That's an interesting distinction. Since Gilbert used both of those kinds of triple rhymes, however, I would argue that anyone who wanted to do it "right" could follow suit. In fact, IMHO, his "broken" rhymes are his most clever ones.

I'm not claiming to have done it "right." My point, which I believe you have strengthened, was: If you think that "Major-General" is easy, try it Gilbert's way.


have a look at an Eminem song.


I knew this would come up. With a lot of Eminem's stuff (as with a lot of other hip-hop and rap), rhyming is the whole point. Meter, melody, etc., all take a back seat. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But I see writing an Eminem parody - in which you attempt to match every rhyme and keep the same number of accented and unaccented syllables per line - as a law-of-diminishing-returns kind of undertaking; you'll only get so much overall effect no matter how much additional effort you pour into it.

But, yes, if you're saying it's harder than doing "Major-General," I totally agree. It's way way way harder. Three cheers to those of you who can pull it off. Luke Brattoni, for example, is in a class all by his savant self.

xoxox
Spaff

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: adagio on 10/25/06 at 9:26 am

Well, I'm certainly getting an education about rhyming in the examples of parodies shown.  I never have just gone for end rhymes...I like to rhyme as many internally as I can.  For one reason, it sounds so much  smoother when read with the music and not like a cacophony of sounds thrown together.  Like, when rhyming, not just to go for the rhyme, but make them sound alike, as the 'a' in 'cat' and 'hat'. Another important point with me is to match syllables...if the song has a word with two syllables, I should try and look for a rhyme that has two syllables for my parody.

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Cat on 10/28/06 at 7:13 pm

I just wing it, really. Rhyming is important to me, definitely, and I try to follow the PATTERN of the OS but I don't feel compelled to use words that rhyme with the OS all the time. Although there are some times where it just sounds right, like in an American Pie parody. It depends on the OS, really.

On an only somewhat related note, I must say my proudest rhyming moment on AmIRight thus far was finding a triple rhyme for "Kevorkian" in my M-G parody. I am indeed rather smug about that.

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: tmayfield on 10/29/06 at 1:46 am

I'm surprised more peeps didn't vote for "My name is Luke Brattoni  ;)" but anyways...

I try to not get a cerebral aneurysm when I write. I found my limit when I took on "The Raven" and haven't been the same since. Go here if you want to see my anguish: Stuff My Wife Has Never Wore

I find myself trying with all of my might to keep the original rhymes, but with some songs it stifles all creativity. But, I think if too many OS end-rhymes are missing then there's no connection to it from my parody.

However, when I judge other folk's parodies I go with humor above rhyme. It's kind of a step away from "what I would do" to "what did they do" kind of approach. Where I realize no one thinks like me and it will only make it harder to appreciate their skill. Oh, yeah, and I like puns. So if you can't rhyme, but you can get some cool puns in there, I'm your fan!  ;D

Subject: Re: Importance of Rhyming? [Poll and Discussion]

Written By: Joel Martinez on 11/07/06 at 3:17 pm

RYming is so important
Without it, the parody would not be a parody
That's like making a parody of "Black Hole Sun" and calling it something corny like "White Hole Moon" ??? ???
How? IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY FREAKIN' SENSE!! :o

Plus it's not funny.

That's why at least the name has to ryme.
Just because the syllables are correct don't mean it makes any sense!

-Joel Martinez

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