Does a Song Have to Rhyme?

People are better able to understand song structures when there are rhymes in the music. A rhyme at the end of every four bars or so can add cohesiveness to sections like the verse and chorus.

But does a song have to rhyme? Today we find out! This article will explore the need for song lyrics to rhyme as well as other effective ways to create good lyrics.

Does a Song Have to Rhyme?

So, Does A Song Have To Rhyme?

The simple answer to this is no! Keeping your lyrics flowing well is more important than making them sound awkward.

In songwriting, rhyming still plays a vital role, but overusing it can produce childish basic lyrics. Make sure you maintain a good understanding of when to rhyme and when not to. In order to ensure you have this nailed down, it is vital you understand how rhymes work. 

How Does Rhyme Work?

It is necessary that words have different consonant sounds and identical vowel sounds in order to satisfy the ear as a rhyme. For example, the words: rake and make, rhyme with each other due to the sound of the consonant ‘k’. However, there is no rhyme between Lack and Park; although they share the same vowel, their pronunciation or vowel sounds differ.

How about fare and fair? Does it rhyme? Yes, they do, but though these homophones may rhyme, they aren’t very pleasing to the ear. Homophones are words that sound the same. It is also important to note that the rhythmic accents of the words must match to make a satisfactory rhyme. 

It is very important that you sing or at least speak your words out loud so that you can hear them and avoid these pitfalls.

How Does Rhyme Help Beginner Songwriters?

How Does Rhyme Help Beginner Songwriters?

Songwriters are often told to rhyme their first line with their second when they first begin writing. Once you have written your first line, look for a word that rhymes with the last word. The second line should end with that word.

There are two main reasons why this advice is given:

  1. Beginners can easily learn the basics of lyric structure with this tool.
  2. In other words, the ‘teacher’ also learned it, so he or she passes along the same information.

In addition to getting some practice writing songs and writing catchy lyrics, this isn’t the only way to go.

How Rhyming Too Much Can Stifle Your Lyric Creativity?

It is actually detrimental to your lyric creativity to have all your lines rhyme! 

What is the reason for this? Simply because you’re limiting yourself to writing certain types of lyrics. As there are only so many words you can rhyme with ‘Friday night,’ there will only be so many ways you can end your lyrics if you use that word string at the end.

Predictability may work well for you if you want a commercial song to be easy to sing along to. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd and get yourself noticed as someone creative and different, you will want to take a different route. 

The lyrics in your song sound like they could have been written by a thousand other people, which isn’t doing your unique image any favors.

Additionally, rhyming your lyrics may make your songs sound childish or basic. In fact, this could be a good thing if you’re attempting to reach young listeners with your music. However, if you aren’t, you should stay away from it.

Is Your Lyrics Rhyming More Important Than Flow?

Is Your Lyrics Rhyming More Important Than Flow?

You need to remember one very important thing if you want your lyrics to stand out and be more creative:

There should be a flow to your lyrics, regardless of whether or not they rhyme. 

Rhyming lyrics sound good because they flow well together. Their sound is easy to listen to, and consequently, they make a nice-sounding song that is easy to listen to. You can, however, make your songs flow smoothly without rhyming each line’s last word.

Jack Johnson’s Better Together song, for example, uses the following lyric from the first verse. From “Love is the answer to It’s always better when we’re together”.


This part of the lyric contains no rhymes, as you can see. Having said that, he does a good job of singing it, and it flows well when he sings it, as well. There’s nothing uneasy about it, and it’s relevant to what he’s saying.

How many more things could you say if you weren’t limited to rhyming certain words together? Rather than having to find a word to rhyme with your lyrics, wouldn’t it make more sense for you just to say what you want? 

It can be a huge help to the creativity of your songwriting to avoid being restricted by rhyming all your song lyrics, after completing all the basic steps of the songwriting process, move on to adding lines that flow rather than rhyme. Your writing will really improve when you do this.

Are There Any Popular Songs Without Rhymes?

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Are you still not convinced that songs don’t have to rhyme? Consider some of these popular songs, for example, as an example. Due to the fact that the song was so good without needing a rhyming scheme, you might not have even noticed that they did not rhyme. 

There are barely any rhymes in Kelly Clarkson’s song “Because Of You”, which is one of the longest songs in the world. She was told that the song wouldn’t be a big hit just because it didn’t rhyme enough, but looking at how she proved them wrong with this one, she certainly proved them wrong! There is enough weight in these lyrics that they don’t need a rhyme scheme to help them carry the load that they are carrying. 

I also feel that “Need You Tonight” by INXS is one of the most rhyming songs out there other than the first verse and a few other sections in the song.

I thought I would share with you Alanis Morissette’s song “Hand In My Pocket” which barely rhymes. Most of the songs written by Alanis Morissette do not rhyme and focus more on the lyrical message of her songs than on the rhyme. It is commendable of her to go against the grain and do what she does!

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Chord Progression Cadence

Chord Progression Cadence

Chord progression cadence is an important tool for songwriters. It is what helps give the song a feeling of cohesiveness. Every sentence in a song doesn’t need to rhyme, but it does need cadence to keep the song flowing.

Without cadence, songs can feel disjointed and choppy. A good chord progression can help to give the listener a sense of movement and forward momentum, even if the lyrics are not particularly exciting. By contrast, a bad chord progression can make a song sound stagnant and static.

When you are writing your song, think about the overall mood and feeling you want to convey. This will help you choose the right chord progression. If you want your song to sound happy and uplifting, you will likely want to use a major key. For a sadder, more melancholic song, you might prefer a minor key.

If You Must Rhyme But You Are Having Trouble, Try Using Rhyming Dictionaries

Songwriters often use rhyming dictionaries to help them come up with creative rhymes for their songs. These dictionaries contain lists of words that rhyme with each other, and they can be a great tool for finding the perfect word to fit a certain spot in a song.

Rhyming dictionaries can also be helpful for finding both assonance rhymes and consonance rhymes, which are rhymes that sound alike but have different spellings. This can be a great way to add an extra layer of complexity and creativity to your songs.

Some popular rhyming dictionaries:

Different Rhyme Scheme Examples and Improving Your Songwriting Technique

Rhyme schemes are an important part of songwriting but it helps to know that there are many different schemes and that you can even make up your own or skip it altogether and focus on cadence.

A rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhymes used in a verse or poem. It is usually referred to by using letters to indicate which lines rhyme; for example, a simple AABB rhyme scheme would be written as “AABB.”

As mentioned, there are many different types of rhyme schemes, and choosing the right one can help to make your song more effective. Here are some different rhyme scheme examples:

AABB: This is the most basic type of rhyme scheme. It is often used in children’s songs or nursery rhymes.

ABAB: This rhyme scheme is often used in ballads or love songs. It gives the song a nice, flowing quality.

AABC: This rhyme scheme can add a bit of interest to your song. It can be used in any type of song, but it works especially well in upbeat, positive tunes.

ABBA: This rhyme scheme is often used in older folk songs. It has a very traditional feel to it.

You can either start working on your lyrics and decide on the rhyme scheme as the ideas come to you or vice versa. More importantly, make sure that your rhymes are effective and add something to the overall meaning of the song.

About Author

Arielle P

Arielle P

Songwriter | Music Producer | Engineer.

With a background in music production and a strong passion for education, Arielle is dedicated to helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. She has worked with a diverse range of artists, from indie rock bands to well-known hip-hop and grime artists. Arielle's unique approach to teaching focuses on empowering artists to take control of their brand, ensuring they retain creative ownership throughout their journey. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with new sounds in her home studio and sharing her insights through music production tutorials and workshops.

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