Microphone - Writing a melody

Is the Chorus You Just Wrote Really a Verse?

Do you ever feel that your chorus has problems, but no matter what you do you can’t seem to get it to work? When that happens, the problem often seems to be that the chorus doesn’t sound like a chorus. You expect a certain kind of musical punch to come from a chorus, but figuring out […]

John Legend

Paying Closer Attention to the Rhythm of a Chorus Melody

I’ve aterritten a fair bit lately about making a verse more effective, either by creating an interesting key change, or by paying closer attention to how the verse connects to the chorus. In this post, I want to look more closely at the chorus itself, and address an issue when the chorus itself just doesn’t […]

Sixpence None the Richer - Kiss Me

Where Should a Song’s Climactic Moment Occur?

Many songs have what could be called its “climactic moment”: a spot where musical energy seems to be at its peak. In many songs, it sits there at the beginning of the chorus (“Firework”), sometimes in the middle (“Let It Be”), and sometimes near the end. (“Wichita Lineman”). Sometimes finding that moment may not be obvious. […]

Sia - Chandelier

Songwriting: What You Need to Know About Song Form

When we talk about form in songwriting, we might be referring to the various sections of a song: verse, chorus, bridge, etc. Or we might be talking about something like the rhyme scheme of the lyrics: ABAB, for example. Or we might be talking about some aspect of the design of the melody… ascending figures contrasting with […]

Song Form

Does a Song Need More Than Verses and a Chorus?

At a minimum, most songs these days will use a verse-chorus or verse-refrain structure. Songs might be constructed of verses and nothing else, such as Amanda McBroom’s “The Rose”, made most famous by Bette Midler. Many old 12-bar blues songs are basically a verse and nothing else, though many will use a repeating refrain to […]

Guitar and music paper

Good Chorus, Bad Verse: Some Ideas to Fix That Situation

It’s common with many songwriters to start the songwriting process by working out the chorus, if only because that’s the part that’s going to be most memorable to your audience. Once you’ve got a chorus that really works well, it acts as a kind of goal — a target, so to speak — for you to aim […]