Most songwriters when they’re starting out rhyme the word at the end of one line with the word at the end of the next line right through the song.
The problem with this rhyme scheme (rhyming in couplets) is it can get repetitive and boring for the listener.
Also using a different rhyme scheme in the verses to the rhyme scheme you use in the chorus is one of the methods you can use to get more contrast between the sections.
One of the most important rhyme schemes new songwriters can master to make their songs much stronger is the
AAB CCB rhyme scheme.
Put simply you rhyme…
1. The last word of the first line(A) with
2. The last word of the second line(A)
3. The last word of the third line (B) rhymes later with the sixth line
4. The last word of the fourth line(C) rhymes with
5. The last word of the fifth line(C)
6. The last word of the sixth line(B) rhymes with the last word of the third line.
Listen to Who I Am by Jessica Andrews…
If I live to be a hundred(A)
And never see the seven wonders(A)
That’ll be alright(B)
If I don’t make it to the big leagues(C)
If I never win a Grammy(C)
I’m gonna be just fine(B)
The chorus of Who I Am also uses an AAB CCB rhyme scheme but the rhymes are further apart creating contrast between the verse and the chorus.
I am Rosemary’s granddaughter(A)
The spitting image of my father(A)
And when the day is done
My momma’s still my biggest fan(C)
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy(B)
But I’ve got friends who love me(B)
And they know just where I stand(C)
The distance between the rhymes can also make a big difference to the overall feel of a song.
When the rhymes are closer together you might get a more “pop” feel like the verses of Who I Am.
With the rhymes further apart you might get a more anthemic feel like as the verses do in my first #1 hit with Benn Gunn, Only In Australia…
Where that wedge tailed eagle, soars over Ayers Rock(A)
At the MCG, with the crowd going off(A)
Driving that track, cross the Nullabor Plains(B)
Playing backyard cricket, the beer running free(C)
While that hills hoist spins, in the cool ocean breeze(C)
And lightning strikes, out on Byron Bay(B)
When you reach the chorus of Only In Australia the change in rhyme scheme the long notes breaking from the staccato notes of the verse and repetition of the phrase “only in Australia” creates a huge contrast between the verse and the chorus…
Only in Australia(A)
In the land of green and gold(B)
Only in Australia(A)
In this place that we call home(B)
Only in Australia(A)
You can also expand on the AAB CCB rhyme scheme by adding in more rhymes as Bruce Springsteen did in his song Blinded By The Light…
This song is actually an AAAB CCCB rhyme scheme but at it’s core it’s still the same rhyme scheme with a couple of extra rhymes added.
Madman drummers(A) bummers(A)
Indians in the summer(A)
With a teenage diplomat(B)
In the dumps(C) with the mumps(C)
As the adolescent pumps(C)
His way into his hat(B)
With a boulder(A) on my shoulder(A)
Feelin’ kinda older(A)
I tripped the merry-go-round(B)
With this very unpleasin’(C)
Sneezin’(C) and wheezin(C)
The calliope crashed to the ground(B)
Some all-hot(A) half-shot(A)
Was headin’ for the hot spot(A)
Snappin’ his fingers, clappin’ his hands(B)
And some fleshpot(C) mascot(C)
Was tied into a lover’s knot(C)
With a whatnot in her hand(B)
And now young Scott(A) with a slingshot(A)
Finally found a tender spot(A)
And throws his lover in the sand(B)
And some bloodshot(C) forget-me-not(C)
Whispers, daddy’s within earshot(C)
Save the buckshot, turn up the band(B)
Note how the start of the chorus in Blinded By The Light really soars when you get a relief from all the heavy rhyming and short staccato words and notes in the first to long notes and less rhymes in the chorus.
This makes the chorus much more memorable and singable. If you watch when the song is played live you’ll notice most audience members will sing the first line of the chorus…”blinded by the light”.
When listeners sing along to the chorus of your song they take ownership of it…it becomes part of them…and that’s definitely something you want.
The AAB CCB rhyme scheme is often used in the chorus too. You can see some great examples of this in the 20 Bar Power Chorus