, , , ,

Hello all, here is Björn with another Meet the Bar challenge. Today I want to spend a few words on how to use alliteration, and specifically on the musical qualities, you get when you use it well.

First a few definitions:

Alliteration is simply the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of one ore several words in a line of poetry. It is a technique that is quite simple and also a technique that should be used sparingly (unless you do it for fun). Alliteration can be used to punctuate the rhythm of a poem, by letting the beat of the text be the alliterated letters. This was very much in use in old Nordic Poetry. If you want to know more look at this old prompt by Tony Maude.

Consonance is the repetition of the same consonant and assonance is the repetition of the same vowel. Indeed consonance and assonance can be seen as subsets of alliteration with the only difference that the repeated sounds in this case no longer have to be placed at the beginning of a word. It can actually be placed anywhere in the words.

What I find most interesting is how different letters have different music or even onomatopoetic qualities. I often try to imagine the music behind every letter.

For instance, the letter B can sound like a bouncing bear, and through its sound, you can almost feel the ground shaking from the weight of the heavy animal. On the other hand, the letter p sounds sharper, like a punch to the head maybe. The softness of an M makes me think of my Mother and the W is water and wind whereas an O is round and soft.

A specialty in the case is sibilance creating the hissing sound most often through the letter s. (makes me think of both snakes and sleeping).

Today I would like you to try using different types of assonance and consonance in any poem of your choice. Try to listen to how it sounds, and see how you can enhance the connection between the letter you use and the meaning of the poem. Maybe you can add the beat of the poem with accentuated alliteration.

I often use a thesaurus to find a synonym with the right assonance or consonance sound.

You shouldn’t overdo it today, a few cases within the poem is enough… (unless you are after a humorous effect), just try to let the text of the poem be synchronized to its sound.

When you have written your poem, just link it up below and visit others to see how other ways to be a succesful wordsmith.