Songwriting Tip: Watch Your Prosody

pros?o?dy* (praw’ suh dee) ?noun
1. The science or study of poetic meters and versification.
2.Linguistics . the stress and intonation patterns of an utterance.

A common mistake beginning songwriters make is failing to watch their prosody.

What the heck is prosody, you ask.? Prosody is how you accent words and syllables – where you put the emphasis. ?Generally when writing songs and poetry, we want to accent a phrase like we?d speak it.

For example, we wouldn?t say, ?I?m goING to the suPERmarKET this afTERRRRRRRnoon.? ?Unless you?re wierd. ?We must be careful to put the emPHAAAHHsis on the right sylLAHHHHble.

When songwriting we must watch our prosody – what syllables are you holding; on which syllable do you hit that powerful high note? ?A good test is – Does the way this line is sung sound natural, like the way I would say it? ?Do I emphasize the same syllables I would emphasize when I speak the line?

There you go. ?Now you know what prosody is.? Now you can impress your friends at parties. ?Just throw in a line like: ?You know the other day, I was just tweaking my prosody as I was working on my versification and intonation.? ?You?ll be really popular.


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Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

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