Passenger - Let Her Go

The Vital Partnership of Verses and Choruses

There’s nothing like the term “song form” to have one’s eyes glaze over. In songwriting, you just want to get going with your writing. And you’ve probably written dozens of songs up to this point without even giving the term “form” a second (or even a first) thought. When we talk about form, we’re talking about […]

Singer-Songwriter in Recording Studio

Momentum and Musical Energy: What the Pre-Chorus Does For a Song

There’s a quick answer to why you’d ever use a pre-chorus in your song: by the time you get to the end of the verse, it feels too soon for the chorus. A pre-chorus is that little optional section that sits in between the verse and chorus. Choruses tend to be more energetic than verses, and […]

R.E.M. Losing My Religion

Songs Without a Chorus, and How They Work

I’ve always liked R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion,” but there’s something odd about it. Because most of its melodies and melodic fragments dwell on the 3 notes A-B-C, in the key of A minor, it sounds very much like a drone. Normally, that just doesn’t work all that well for a song; you normally want to hear […]

Computer - Music Studio

The Similarities Between a Building’s Structure and a Song’s Structure

What exactly is song structure, and how important is it to the success of a song? When we talk about structure with regard to, let’s say, a house you’re building, we can generate a good number of analogies, all of which, it could be argued, apply metaphorically to songwriting: A house has walls, beams and other […]

How Design Saves a Song and Pulls the Audience In

When you talk about the form or design of a song, most people understand that you’re likely talking about the overall structure of a song — the verse-chorus-other aspect. Non-musicians likely know that most songs will move from the intro to the verse to the chorus, and then they might know to expect to hear a pre-chorus or […]

Bruce Springsteen

Tips for Writing a Verse-Refrain-Bridge Song

Writing a song that’s mainly a set of verses, each one ending with a pay-off line, has a simplicity that really works well. The pay-off line– a refrain — often sneaks into the song at first, without it being obvious that it’s operating as a powerful closer that’s going to keep coming back. Bruce Springsteen’s “All That […]