On the poem extract below I noticed the following technique and it sounded really familiar, reminding me of punk rock songs and some strong man speeches (I know this is super vague, if I remember any examples I'll link them in the comments). This technique consists of a metric progression of long verses to short verses culminating with a one or two syllable verse, which happens from verses 1 to 5 below, then this is followed by same metric length verses with Anaphoras, in this case it's an anaphora with "the". Does anyone know if this has a name?

1 Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

2 I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

3 But when I start to tell them,

4 They think I’m telling lies.

5 I say,

6 It’s in the reach of my arms,

7 The span of my hips,

8 The stride of my step, -Phenomenal Woman, by: Maya Angelou

  • Maybe this should go on the Literature stack exchange, seems like its more of a poetry question than a music one. – Legorhin Oct 17 '19 at 13:10
  • It has gone in the literature stack exchange and they also redirected me – Andrea Rowlatt Oct 17 '19 at 13:22
  • 1
    you probably have checked this link (but I couldn't find anything about the construction and term you are looking for: owlcation.com/humanities/… – Albrecht Hügli Oct 17 '19 at 14:49

This is simply a rhythmic progression with a varied meter.

Directly from the article that Albrecht Hugli references in the comments:

There is a varied meter (metre in UK) in this poem, a mix of trochee and iamb with anapaest. The underlying beat in some lines is iambic, the well known da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM beat, the most common in English poetry...

And others have trochaic followed by iambic...

This variable rhythm, together with contrasting short and long vowels, make this a particularly interesting poem to read out loud and to listen to.

Modern poets like to break the rules which is arguably what gave rise to Free Verse poetry in the 19th century. So, there is likely no specific term that quantifies this technique other than "varied meter."

This is definitely a literary question so, I am not sure why on earth the literature stack exchange would have redirected you here...

  • 1
    Personally, I'm glad the question was posted here. It has given me something to think about as I attempt music composition. I find rhythm to be important in the music that moves me. – skinny peacock Oct 31 '19 at 13:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.