Beat (147 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


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 timed.

Some critics use …

Groves, Peter Lewis. "Beat". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 June 2008
[, accessed 23 October 2016.]