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Metrical feet
Disyllables
˘ ˘ pyrrhus, dibrach
˘ ¯ iamb
¯ ˘ trochee, choree
¯ ¯ spondee
Trisyllables
˘ ˘ ˘ tribrach
¯ ˘ ˘ dactyl
˘ ¯ ˘ amphibrach
˘ ˘ ¯ anapest, antidactylus
˘ ¯ ¯ bacchius
¯ ¯ ˘ antibacchius
¯ ˘ ¯ cretic, amphimacer
¯ ¯ ¯ molossus
Number of feet per line
one Monometer
two Dimeter
three Trimeter
four Tetrameter
five Pentameter
six Hexameter
seven Heptameter
eight Octameter
See main article for tetrasyllables.
v · d · e

Trochaic octameter, in poetry , is a meter of verse that has eight feet per line . Each foot is a trochee : one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable. Trochaic octameter is a rarely used meter.

Description and usesEdit

The best known work in trochaic octameter is Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," which utilizes five lines of trochaic octameter followed by a "short" half line (in reality, 7 beats) that, by the end of the poem, takes on the qualities of a refrain.

Because of the length of the line, trochaic octameter lends itself to the heavy use of internal rhyme and alliteration and is also extraordinarily difficult to use consistently. The Raven, for example, breaks into two half-lines of approximately 8 syllables, generally with a caesura between them, and utilizes dactyls (which still lead with the stress but then have two unstressed syllables) to break up the monotony of the pure trochaic octameter.

ExampleEdit

A trochee foot is a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable. We could write the rhythm like this:

DUM da

A line of trochaic octameter is eight of these in a row:

DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da

We can scan this with a 'x' mark representing an unstressed syllable and a '/' mark representing a stressed syllable. In this notation a line of trochaic octameter would look like this:

/ x / x / x / x / x / x / x / x

The following first verse from "The Raven" shows the use of trochaic octameter. Note the heavy use of dactyls in the second and fifth line, which help to emphasize the more regular lines, and the use of strong accents to end the second, forth and fifth lines, reinforcing the rhyme:

We can notate the scansion of this as follows:

/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
Once up- on a mid- night drear- y, while I pon- dered weak and wear- y
/
x
/
x
x
/
x
/
x
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
O- ver man- y a quaint and cur- i- ous vol- ume of for- got- ten lore,
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
While I nod- ded, near- ly nap- ping, sud- den ly there came a tap- ping,
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
As of some- one gent- ly rap- ping, rap- ping at my cham- ber door.
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
"'Tis some vis- i- tor," I mut- tered, "tap- ping at my cham- ber door;
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
On- ly this, and noth- ing more

The following first two lines from "Womanizer" by Britney Spears also show trochaic octameter. Note that in line two, the word "Oh" is anceptic to emphasize the importance of what follows: "Womanizer."

We can notate the scansion of this as follows:

/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
Wo- man- i- zer Wo- man Wo- man- i- zer you're a Wo- man- i- zer
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
Oh - Wo- man- i- zer Oh - you're a Wo- man- i- zer ba- by

It becomes more important in another section of the chorus, in which words are repeated so as to maintain the meter.

/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
/
x
Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are are are. -

See alsoEdit



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