What is Prosody


Prosody (छंदशास्त्र) is derived from an ancient Greek word that meant a song, accompanied (सहित, के साथ) by music. It is a particular (विशेष) tone (सुर, तान) or accent (स्वर, उच्चारण) given to an individual (विशिष्ट) syllable (उच्चारण-खंड).


  • Prosody studies how to make poetic words more rhythmic (तालबद्ध, लयबद्ध)). In other words you can say that Prosody is a study of elements that create rhythmic (लयात्मक) effects in words.
  • Prosody is the use of pitch (स्वर-मान, अंतराल), loudness (आवाज की ऊंचाई), tempo (ताल, गति) and rhythm in speech to convey information about the structure and meaning of an utterance (कथन, उक्ति).
  • The study and the actual use of metres and forms of versification are both known as prosody.

The Prosody improved the study of metre (छंद) or metrical forms (छंद-रूप) and its uses in different genres (रचना-पद्धतियों, शैलियों) like the lyric (गीत-काव्य), epic (महाकाव्य) or the dramatic verse (पद्य).

Elements (तत्व) of Prosody-

Main elements of Prosody are given below.

  • Versification
  • Metre
  • Foot
  • Syllable
  • Stanza Forms
  • Metric Lines

1-   Versification (छाम्दोव्यवस्था) –

The art of composing poems is called versification. The versification happens when something is turned on into a poem.

2-    Metre (छंद) –

Metre is the rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. It is a scheme which divides a verse into unaccented syllables and accented syllables.

1-   Foot (इकाई, पद)-

Foot is a combination of unaccented and accented syllables. Each foot has a certain number of syllables in it, usually two or three syllables.


Discuss is made of two syllables dis and cuss

Kinds of Feet-

There are four most common types of metrical feet-

  • Iambs
  • Trochees
  • Anapests
  • Dactyls

1-   Syllable (उच्चारण-खंड)-

Syllable is a part of a word, which has one vowel sound.

They are of two kinds-

  • Unaccented or Unstressed
  • Accented or Stressed

Syllable has other kinds also-

  • Anapaest-

It has three syllables. The first two syllables are unstressed, but the third one is stressed.

For example-

The As syr/lan came down/like a wolf/on the fold.

  • Dactyl-

It is opposite to Anapaest. In this figure, first syllable is stressed, but the other two are unstressed.

For example-

Take her up ten-der-ly

1-   Stanza Forms (पद्यांश के रूप)-

A stanza usually performs the rhyme scheme and Rhythm of the poem. It is a set of lines in a poem. Though most poems are written in stanzas some poems are written without stanza-breaking. Stanzas give structure to poem. Main forms of stanza are given below-

1 – Couplet (दोहा)-

In poetry, a couplet is a pair of lines in a verse. Typically, they rhyme and have the same meter or rhythm. They make up a unit or complete thought.

A rhyming couplet is two similar lines of poetry that end on the same sound. Let’s see a rhyming couplet example.

She / was / a / lit / tle / tense – 6 syllables

The / no / tice / made / no / sense- 6 syllables

For example-

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;

And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1 – Triplet (त्रिगुट, त्रिक)-

In poetry, a triplet is a set of three lines in a verse. Typically, they rhyme and have the same meter or rhythm. They make up a unit or complete thought.

For example-

  • This short six line poem ‘The Eagle’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson

 is written in 2 triplets-

He clasps the crag with crooked hands; – 7 syllables

Close to the sun in lonely lands, – 7 syllables

Ring\’d with the azure world, he stands. – 7 syllables

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;

He watches from his mountain walls,

And like a thunderbolt he falls

1 – Terza Rima-

Terza Rima is a poetic verse form, in which the poem or each poem-section, consists of tercets (त्रिपदी) with three line rhyming scheme. The last word of the second line in one tercet provides the rhyme for the first and third lines in the tercet that follows. The poem or poem-section may have any number of lines, but it ends with either a single line or a couplet, which repeats the rhyme of the middle line of the previous tercet (त्रिपदी). The rhyming scheme will be yzy z or yzy zz.

For example-

In the middle of the journey of our life (A)

I found myself again in a dark forest, (B)

for I had lost the pathway straight and right. (A)

Ah how hard it is to describe, this forest (B)

savage and rough and overwhelming, for (C)

to think of it renews my fear before it. (B)

It is so bitter, death is little more; (C)

but to discuss the good I found, I\’ll say (D)

the other things I witnessed there before. (C)

How I got there, I cannot rightly say, (D)

I was so full of sleep at that point still (E)

at which I had abandoned the true way. (D)

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