The most common rhyme schemes are as follows.** If you are not familiar with this notation, just remember: “lines of the same letter, rhyme together”…see what I did there?
AABB– The 1st and 2nd lines rhyme, the 3rd and 4th lines rhyme. These are called couplets.
ABAB– The 1st and 3rd lines rhyme, the 2nd and 4th lines rhyme.
ABCB- The 2nd and 4th line will rhyme, the 1st and 3rd are wild cards!
AAAA- All of the lines rhyme. This one is tricky to pull off, but a really fun exercise if you feel like challenging yourself! My favorite example of this rhyme scheme is “Where I Stood” by Australian songwriter Missy Higgins.
I don’t know what I’ve done
Or if I like what I’ve begun
But something told me to run
And honey you know me it’s all or none
Notice that I marked the internal rhyme going on in the last line. Internal rhyme means that a rhyme shows up in the middle of the line. Internal rhyme adds a level of sophistication to your lyrics. Another of my favorite examples of internal rhyme is in Miranda Lambert’s song “Me and Your Cigarettes”. Take note that this also follows the AABB rhyme scheme!
Gives you something you can do with your hands.
Makes you look cool and feel like a man.
In the morning you’ll probably regret me.
Me and your cigarettes.
If you’re still struggling, try working backwards. Choose the word you want to use to complete the rhyme scheme and figure out how to work it in to the meaning and rhythm of the lyric. It may lead to some interesting choices!