Poets use a range of musical and figurative devices to achieve their effects. Some of these effects relate to the rhythm and metre ( meter) of the words. In poetry, the meter (or metre) is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse.
The study of the rhythm, stress, and pitch (or intonation) of speech is called prosody.
Meter mimics and heightens the rhythms of our speech, it comes from within the poem, within the words, and is a very powerful tool. Meter is the musical element that involves the stresses of words and the arrangement of those words next to another to create a pattern. This works in the same way that musical composition works. Music is the organisation of sounds and silences – Meter is the organisation of soft and loud sounds (or stressed and unstressed syllables).
There are different tyoes if recognised meter.
The most typical meter used in classical English poetry is ten beats or sounds divided into 5 bars (feet).
In this rhythmn the stresses on words go on the second beat.
di DUM, di DUM ,di DUM, di DUM ,di DUM
Five sets of sounds repeating like a heart beat
and ONE and TWO and THREE and FOUR and FIVE
Here is an example of this rhythmn
He sings a song and makes a dreadful noise
9 words but 10 syllables making 10 stressed sounds as dreadful is a two syllable word.
He sings/a song/and makes/a dread/ful noise.
The syllables of importance are the vowels that sound, in words some vowels sound some vowels are silent.
An easy trick to find the amount if vowel sounds therefore syllables in a word is to put your hand under your chin and say the word aloud.Your mouth will open on every stressed vowel sound(syllable).
Try dreadful, vowel, amazing, friendship.
Amazing friendship on the horizon
Seeing friendship but a life forbidden
Must not look for more, wishing on a star.
Examples of classic 10 syllable meter.
When you are old and grey and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book
W. B. YEATS
The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground