Common meter, also known as ballad meter, is poetic meter where lines alternate having four accented syllables followed by three accented syllables. It is common in traditional hymns (Amazing Grace, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear), poetry (Emily Dickinson used it often), and many different ballads.

This can be used for humorous effect. For instance, it is easy to sing Emily Dickinson's poems to the tune of Gilligan's Island. For a faster example, you can easily sing the words of John Mellencamp's Rain on the Scarecrow to the tune of Go, Diego, Go!.

Are there any musical parodists who have exploited this common meter in humorous recordings? What songs did they record using this technique?

1 Answer 1


You ask two questions here.

To the question : "are there any musical parodists who...", there is this compilation video from Helen Arney and Jay Foreman : where they "explore common meter (or "common metre", "ballad meter") by mashing up a whole lot of songs."

For wider context, the technique is referenced under TV tropes as common Meter and more loosely to the tune of , and the tvtropes article also points to the term Contrafactum.

The YT vid is a "recording", but I couldn't find a commercial recording - I think that maybe it is easy to do this yourself, so while there may be YT videos, there might not be a recent commercial recording - although someone with a knowledge of parody or satirical songs going back a longer time might be able to come up with a better answer on this point. So I guess this is really a "starter answer", but maybe it will push someone else to write a better one.

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