In its simplest definition, alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of each word in a series. Most often, it’s the first letter of the word, but it could also be within the first syllable of each word. One of the most popular examples of this might be, “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers”. This is an alliterative phrase.
Alliteration is used often in songwriting and poetry, but is also seen many other places such as in store titles and brand names. Repetition, whether lyrical or musical, is an extremely important component in songwriting, because it can create hooks that make your song enjoyable to sing and easy for listeners to remember. Alliteration is just one of many devices used to create repetition in a song lyric.
Here are a few other examples:
“test of time”, “coast to coast”, “the green, green, grass of home”.
In a recent post, we talked about assonance, a similar device which is used to rhyme vowels within words. We’ll talk about other similar devices as well, in the future. In the meantime, try using alliteration in your next song lyric. Or go back to an old lyric and try rewriting it to include this type of repetition. Maybe you’ll find it helps make your song more singable or creates a more memorable hook.