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. […]

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 […]

Band in concert

Getting the Most Out of a Bridge Lyric

If you’ve been writing songs for a while, you’ll know that lyrics change in character as a song progresses. To generalize, you’ll notice the following: VERSE LYRICS: Verse lyrics set the stage, recount details of a story, describe characters, etc. It lays out the narrative, the storyline or general song topic. “Hooks and Riffs: How They […]

Stevie Wonder in a Recording Session

Why We Like Songwriting Formulas

It’s probably a product of the age in which we live, but once we’ve invented or created an item, our mind moves quickly to how we can mass produce that item for maximum profit. Songwriting isn’t much different, and that’s probably why songwriters talk a lot about formulas. In songwriting, a formula is a system or procedure […]

Lady Antebellum

Why a Good Chorus Usually Surpasses a Good Verse in Importance

Most songs, if they are one of several possible verse-chorus formats, usually start with a verse, and before the 1-minute mark will move on to the chorus. The timing involved with this — i.e., the fact that we usually hear the chorus at or before the 1-minute mark, as you hear in a song like […]

When You Can’t Tell If You’re Hearing a Verse, a Chorus, or Something Else

Constructing songs so that we hear verses, choruses, bridges, and so on, is a good and easy way to ensure that your music incorporates contrast. Even before hearing a particular song, we know that the chorus is likely to be higher in pitch, that the chorus chords will probably be stronger and shorter than the verse, […]