Sometimes it’s that moment between verse and chorus that can cause a song to die.
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Do you find that there is something awkward about the way your latest song’s verse connects to the chorus? You feel that the verse is working well, but as soon as you hit the chorus, something sounds a bit off?
If the verse seems fine, try this: play the chorus twice without stopping. Does the chorus seem to work well? If so, you’ve been able to narrow down the problem: the moment of connection between verse and chorus. Song energy needs to move in a generally upward direction as it progresses from verse to chorus. The energy won’t usually move in a straight line; you’ll find that it moves constantly up and down, with a noticeable bump upward as the chorus starts.
That bump upward comes from a few things:
- The higher pitch of the chorus melody.
- More instruments.
- Busier backing instrumental rhythms.
- Longer vocal rhythms with more emotional lyrics.
But having said that, that moment of connection between verse and chorus needs to sound natural, not like it’s coming completely out of left field. If you find that something sounds somehow unsatisfying between verse and chorus, you need to look at the general characteristics of both sections, and look for ways to make them connect.
Here’s some advice you’ll want to think about when solving a faulty connection between verse and chorus:
- Don’t make verse and chorus instrumentations too different. Having a quiet guitar for the verse, and then grinding, distorted power chords with pounding drum kit and screaming lyrics for the chorus may be a problem. The best connections are made when instruments are added judiciously, a bit at a time. You can start adding instruments near the end of the verse to help with a better connection to the chorus.
- Try carrying rhythmic ideas from the verse into the chorus. If you’ve chosen an interesting syncopated rhythm for your backing instruments in the verse, see what you can do to pull those rhythmic ideas into the chorus. It helps make both sections sound like they’re communicating with each other.
- Consider adding a pre-chorus. Some reasons a pre-chorus might work are:
- Your verse melody is very short (4 to 8 bars long).
- Your verse chord progression is very simple, using 1 or 2 chords.
- Your verse melody is pitched far below your chorus melody.
- Try moving from Verse 1 immediately to Verse 2 before giving a chorus. You might try this if your melody is short, as an alternative to adding a pre-chorus.
- Consider a key change between verse and chorus. You might try this if you find that song energy is dying once you reach the chorus. In that case, try moving the chorus up a minor 3rd. So if your song is in G major, try to work out your chorus to be in Bb major.
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