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Writing Better Lyrics, 2nd Edition by Pat Pattison

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

METER:

TWO BY TWO

As we saw in chapter fourteen, common meter typically organizes music into a single eight-bar unit, running (two bars + two bars) + (two bars + two bars). The second line of common meter, comprising bars three and four, contains only three stresses, keeping the entire system moving until it is matched at line four (bars seven and eight).

When you want to organize into four-bar units rather than eight-bar units, all you have to do is match bars one and two with bars three and four. Here's the paradigm:

Eénie méenie míney móe

4 stresses

Cátch a tíger ón the tóe

4 stresses

If he hóllers máke him páy

4 stresses

Fífty dóllars évery dáy

4 stresses

The lines are four-stress balanced ...

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