Isoictic metre

(310 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

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

Isoictic metre: a metre (also called demotic or accentual) in which each line has a fixed number of beats (usually four or eight) but no fixed number of syllables; where there are only three sounded beats there will be a fourth occurring in silence (a rest), indicated in what follows by “<!>” (if you try clapping on the beats you will find yourself wanting to clap on the rests as well). The following nursery-rhyme has been slightly altered to show that equivalent four-beat lines may contain anything from 3 to 13 syllables :

Péase pórridge hót <!> 4 syllables
Péase pórridge cóld <!> 4 …
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Groves, Peter Lewis. "Isoictic metre". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 June 2008
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]