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Old 05-30-2015, 07:55 PM
Lon Palmer (Offline)
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Default 9&60 Ways - Meter - mini-lesson 2 - trochaic rhythm

The first mini-lesson was on iambic rhythm, the most frequently used rhythm in English poetry. This mini-lesson in on trochaic rhythm, which is the exact opposite. Iambic rhythm is a weak or unaccented or weak syllable followed by an accented or strong syllable - WS. Trochaic rhythm is strong to weak - SW. And the difference in sound is immediately apparent.

Iambs "flow" (to use an overworked word in poetry); trochees stomp.


Iambic: What's IN a NAME? that WHICH we CALL a ROSE/ By Any OTHer NAME would SMELL as SWEET; (Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare)

Trochaic: DOUble, DOUble, TOIL and TROUble/ FIre BURN and CAULdron BUBble. (Macbeth, William Shakespeare)

The second example, trochaic, is spoken by the witches, a job that is frequently given to trochaic rhythm, especially magic spells.

Another common example is Okie DOkie.

Another word on the difference between these two rhythms: Trochaic comes from the Greek trokhaios which means 'falling or tripping'), a falling rhythm, in other words, because a strong syllable is followed by weak. Iambic rhythm, on the other hand, is a rising rhythm, the most prevalent in English speech patterns.

A few more examples of trochaic rhythm:

"ONCE u-PON a MID-night DREAR-Y/WHILE i LA-bored WEAK and WEAR-y ("The Raven", Edgar Allen Poe)

PE-ter, PE-ter, PUMP-kin EAT-er,/HAD a WIFE and COULD-n't KEEP her. (Anonymous) - (used frequently in nursery rhymes)

BY the SHORE of GITche GUmee,/BY the SHINing BIG-Sea-WAter,/AT the DOORway OF his WIGwam,/IN the PLEAsant SUMmer MORNing,/HI-a-WA-tha STOOD and WAITed.

The only way to learn how to do something, ultimately, is to do it, so I encourage you to write some trochaic rhythm - sentences will be fine for a first attempt; verse is also fine if you want to jump right in.


COME to BED and SLEEP then WAKE up EARly.

LIGHT the CANdles, BRING the FOOD, and Open UP a BOTtle.

SLEEP will COME just AS the SUN is SETting.

Your turn.

Pleas feel free to post your questions/comments or what you write for, and we'll take it from there.

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