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 […]


Can Worrying About Song Structure Kill a Song?

More so than almost any other genre, pop music has a feeling of spontaneity about it. Done well, a pop song, and in particular its performance, makes great use of the musicians’ collective abilities to improvise on the spot. We love when a guitar solo sounds like it’s happening on the spur of the moment, the ideas […]

Sting - Roxanne

The Wandering Nature of Verse Melodies

Take a listen to the following songs, and pay particular attention to the verse melodies: My Little Town (Paul Simon) Don’t Stop Believin’ (Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, Neal Schon) Roxanne (Sting) Jam (Michael Jackson, René Moore, Bruce Swedien, Teddy Riley) Rumour Has It (Adele, Ryan Tedder) These songs were all hit songs in their own time, and […]

Alan Parsons - Time

Increasing Musical Momentum By Extending a Verse

For songs in a verse-only format, the verse has to act as a complete musical journey. It doesn’t have a chorus to rely on to provide extra musical excitement. In addition to the challenge of making a verse feel complete, verse-only songs run the risk of being overly repetitive. To avoid excessive repetition, many verse-only […]


How to Make a Good Connection Between Verse and Chorus

Many songwriters will find the chorus to be easier to write than the verse. That’s because a chorus design is typically simpler than that of a verse. In particular: A chorus melody features repetitive hook-like cells that are easy to sing and easy to remember. A chorus chord progression targets the tonic chord (i.e., they’re […]