Beat

(155 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

A beat is one of a fixed number of prosodically prominent syllables in a line of metrical verse; in the performance of isoictic and ictosyllabic verse, beats will tend to recur at roughly regular intervals of time. In some kinds of verse a beat can also fall on silence (a rest), represented below by ‘<!>’:

Hickory dickory dock! <!>
The mouse ran up the clock. <!>
The clock struck one, the mouse ran down,
Hickory dickory dock! <!>

In ictothetic verse the beats, though still present, are less insistent and less regularly …

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Citation:
Groves, Peter Lewis. "Beat". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 June 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1432, accessed 29 August 2015.]