Poetry is one of the most prolific arts throughout history and in which the greatest transmission of emotions and feelings is reflected through the word. In fact, it involves putting into words what a person is feeling or feels about a particular subject. Lorca, Unamuno, Rubén Darío, Machado, Neruda, Rosalía de Castro or Bécquer are only some of the relatively modern Spanish exponents of this art. Within poetry a great multitude of literary resources can be used. One of which is rhyme, which although not essential is often used in both poetry and music.

But not all rhymes are the same, and they can be catalogued according to different classifications. Among the two most known categories we find the assonant rhyme and the consonant rhyme, whose differences we will talk about throughout this article.

The concept of rhyme

Before distinguishing between assonant and consonant rhyme, it is advisable to make a brief review of the concept of rhyme. Rhyming is understood as the use of a series of sounds or words with repeated or similar elements in two separate phrases, in such a way that a certain resonance is generated between them. This resonance is merely on an aesthetic level , not necessarily having any relationship on a grammatical or lexical level.

As we have mentioned, it is a technique widely used at the level of poetry and the use of language in verse, as well as in music. It forms part of all elaboration created in verse, configuring the lyric genre . Even the absence of rhyme is considered a type of rhyme, the white rhyme. Its main purpose is to produce a cadence or rhythm that contributes to making the message sent something more beautiful and melodic.

As we have said, there are many types of rhyme depending on characteristics such as the elements that rhyme or repeat, their presence or absence or the way in which the different verses are linked. But of all of them, there are two main ones: the assonant and consonant rhyme.

Assonant rhyme

An assonant rhyme is understood to be that which occurs between words of different verses in which the vowels of the last word of both verses are repeated from the tonic syllable (specifically from its last vowel). The consonants present in them can vary greatly , not requiring any relationship between those present in both words and assuming the use of different phonemes and sounds. In this way the words in both verses do not have to end exactly the same but their similarity and resonance is due to the repetition of the vowels.

This type of rhythm allows for greater flexibility when constructing a poem or poetry . They are considered imperfect rhymes, being mainly the sonority of the words that generate them.

An example of an assonant rhyme can be seen in the following fragment of a poem by Bécquer, in which the even rhymes are assonant (sea and crystal, death and eternity, crepe and love):

The sun may cloud over eternally
The sea can dry up in an instant
The earth’s axis may be broken
Like a weak crystal
it will all happen! Death will be able
Cover me with his funeral crepe
But never in me can it be turned off
The flame of your love.

Consonant rhyme

Previously considered as perfect rhymes , the rhymes consonant with those that occur when the last word of two (or more) verses contains from the tonic syllable the same phonemes. The sounds are identical, both at the level of vowels and at the level of consonants. Thus, the last word of rhyming verses has an identical ending.

It is important to note, however, that a rhyme can be a consonant without the need for consonants in the word in question: it is only a matter of the sound being identical in its entirety. It should also be noted that we have said that we are talking about sounds and not letters , and that the exact same letter may not exist in both verses as long as it sounds the same way.

An example of consonant rhyme can be seen in the following fragment of a poem, in this case by Federico García Lorca (in which we can see how the endings -igo and -ores- are repeated):

* I want to cry my heart out and I’m telling you
for you to love me and cry
in a nightingale of nightingales
with a dagger, with kisses and with you

I want to kill the only witness
for the murder of my flowers
and turn my crying and sweating
in an eternal heap of hard wheat.*

Similarities and differences

The similarities and differences between the assonant rhyme and the consonant rhyme are quite evident. In both cases we are dealing with a literary resource that is very often used in the lyric genre and even in other genres and arts. In both cases, the vowels are also used as an element to generate rhythm and melody within the work.

In contrast, the main difference is that in the case of the assonant rhyme there is not a complete overlap of the sounds emitted between the rhyming verses, while this is the case with the consonant rhyme. It can also be more difficult to generate a consonant type of rhyme due to the need to adapt the same sounds, although on the other hand the assonant rhyme implies having a clear idea of which specific sounds have to be repeated.