What Is a Ballad Meter?

••• german poetry image by Victor M. from Fotolia.com

When it comes to poetry, anything goes. But all poetry is made up of stressed and unstressed syllables in each line. Ballad meter is one example of a specific meter used in poetry. To understand it, you must learn what makes up meter and rhyme in poetry.


Meter is the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in lines of poetry with a specific number of syllables. Iambic, tetrameter and trimeter are types of meter.


Iambic describes two syllables together following a pattern of unstressed then stressed. For example, the words "when in" are used and the word "in" is stressed.

Iambic Tetrameter

Tetrameter is the term used to describe the number of iambic patterns in one line. Each pattern is called a foot. In iambic tetrameter, each foot is made up of two syllables, and each line contains four feet.

Iambic Trimeter

In iambic trimeter, each foot contains two syllables, and a line is made up of three feet.

Rhyme Scheme

A rhyme scheme is a consistent pattern of rhymes throughout a poem. The scheme used in ballad meter is one where the second and fourth lines rhyme. The pattern can be represented as: A-B-C-B, where each "B" represents a rhyming line.

Ballad Meter

Ballad meter is a type of poetry that uses alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, with a rhyme scheme of A-B-C-B.


About the Author

Rebecca Pellegrini began her career in Southern California in 2002 as a lead documenter for a world-renowned computer software company where she wrote numerous product-specific technical articles, getting started guides, online help systems and context-sensitive help. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from California Baptist University.

Photo Credits