As practiced today, the rondeau is a line structure with a refrain. The 15 lines are divided into 3 stanzas.
The Rondeau originated in France. The Rondeau's name and form derive from the French rondel, which comes from the French rond "round". The Rondeau tradition as a poem first appeared in France. There, from the late 13th century into the 15th century, poetry of this form was often set to music.
In a traditional Rondeau, there are: Usually eight syllables in each line, except for the refrains, which have four syllables. A refrain that repeats the first half four syllables of the first line.
The refrain can also be considered to be a third rhyme. For 15 lines, the lines are grouped into: One quintet 5 lines rhyming a, a, b, b, a ; One quatrain 4 lines rhyming a, a, b, plus refrain R ; One sestet 6 lines rhyming a, a, b, b, plus refrain R ; Thus the pattern of line-repetition in a line Rondeau is as follows.
Here, "RRRR" represents the refrain of repeated words four syllables"a" represents the first rhyme, and "b" represents the second first rhyme: RRRR - 4th line repeats refrain of the opening line, and concludes the quatrain stanza. RRRR - 6th line repeats refrain of the opening line, and concludes the sestet stanza.
The rhyme and repetition in a Rondeau made this form popular with audiences. The form allowed the listener to catch the poem more clearly at first hearing or first reading. Here are some steps to take in composing one: First make a free-write or rough prose draft of a page or two, exploring what you want to say.
Look at the free-write for repetition of words or phrases. That might give you some options for the opening four syllables, which will also be your refrain. Look for rhyming words: Enjambment is your friend, for a form like this with such short lines and such insistent repetition.
It is sometimes easiest to write the central quatrain first. Then you have established both the rhymes as well as the refrain. Because you have reviewed your free-write, you will have picked workable rhyming words. Like packing an inflated helium balloon into a suitcase, tussle with modifying the repeated sentences to tug the poem into shape.
As with all formal poems nowadays, it is vital that the form does not "drive" your poem. If the rhyme scheme and form begin to feel forced, then you must assert the poem's content.
Just because you start with the intention of writing a Rondeau, you do not have to keep your poem in that form if it does not work for you. Your attempt to write a formal poem may help you find words that you would not have found otherwise. And you may decide that you choose to end up with a poem in a different form, perhaps even a prose poem.How to write a Tanka poem.
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References. The Rondeau originated in France.
The Rondeau's name and form derive from the French rondel, which comes from the French rond ("round"). History. The Rondeau tradition as a poem first appeared in France. The rondeau derived from two main sources: the rondel, a short repeating-line poem; and the rondeaux, courtly songs that, with their catchy rentrement (refrains), were akin to pop hits in 14th and 15th century France.
The form’s colorful evolution begins with a pair of rondels that show the. A Rondeau is a short poem consisting of fifteen lines that have two rhymes throughout. The first few words or phrase from the first line are repeated twice in the poem as a refrain.
Example of a Rondeau Poem.