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When You’ve Got The Verse, But the Chorus Isn’t Happening

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When it comes to writing melodies, it’s not actually that hard to come up with a chorus that works well with its partnering verse, as long as you follow certain basic principles.

But if you’re in a situation where your chorus just doesn’t seem to be a good follower for your verse, here are some suggestions to consider:
  1. Try rearranging the verse chords to come up with the chorus chords. Let’s say your verse progression is: C  Am  Bb  F  C (I  vi  bVII  IV  I). By using the same chords but in a slightly different order, you’ve got a progression that partners really well: C  Bb  Am  F  C, for example.
  2. Use the same pitches as your verse melody, but bump the lowest notes up an octave. If your verse melody uses the notes (from low to high) GACDEG, create a melody that uses the notes DEGACD (again, from low to high).
  3. Try reversing verse melodic ideas to create chorus ones. If your verse uses a repeating idea in the melody, an idea that is mainly an upward moving one, see what it sounds like to change direction and move down. If you like it, try it in the chorus.
  4. Try using the same chords for the chorus that you used for your verse, but add a bass pedal point. Take your verse progression, and keep the first chord’s bass note playing through the entire progression. If you like it, use it in your chorus.
  5. Keep your verse melody, but try transposing it for your chorus melody. Let’s say you’ve written a verse progression and melody in the key of C major. If you’re stumped for what to do for your chorus, try transposing the whole thing up into Eb major. Or do what Tom Petty did with “Free Fallin'” and transpose it up an entire octave.
All of these ideas work because they provide you with a chorus idea that shares characteristics with the verse. There’s absolutely no rule that says a verse and chorus need to do that, but when you’re stumped for ideas, borrowing verse ideas to use in the chorus can get the creative juices flowing again.

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

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  1. Pingback: When You’ve Got The Verse, But the Chorus Isn’t Happening - The Hit Songwriting Formula | The Hit Songwriting Formula

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