The parts of a song are important to understand because they are the skeleton you’ll drape words and music on it to create a compelling song. Knowing how to construct the basics can move you quickly to a better song.
Song structure is one of the most frequent problems beginning songwriters run into.
Decisions often seem overwhelming: What are my options? What’s considered the best structure for what I’m trying to convey? My song is too long but I don’t know how to cut it down.
One of the best things you can understand at the outset of your songwriting career is the parts of a song.
WHAT ARE THE PARTS OF A SONG?
STORY TELLING ELEMENTS
VERSE – Tells the story throughout the song.
CHORUS – Summarizes the main idea of the lyric.
- Is the emotional high point of the song
- Usually includes the song title
Granted, there’s exceptions, but your title is what people will use to refer to your song – from a pure marketing perspective, why wouldn’t you make it easy and make it the hook?
There are seven core chorus structures for placement of your title/hook (T). We’ll use a 4 line chorus as an example:
Connectors are exactly what the word says, they join other parts of the song together so you have a single flow to the song. Once you understand the connectors, read 4 Steps To Connect Your Song Scenes as an exercise to put them into action.
There are two types of “connectors” in a song and each has a specific role.
BRIDGE – contrasts in content with the verse and the chorus usually giving a new perspective on the story. A contrast can be achieved by:
- Generalizing if the lyrics were specific
- Focusing on a new emotion that’s come as the speaker makes a realization
- Utilizing a different chord progression
- Making the bridge a bar longer or shorter than the other sections
The bridge is the song’s “a-ha!” moment or a catharsis that happens for the speaker – is a different perspective on what they thought they already knew.
PRE-CHORUS OR CHANNEL – sits just before the chorus in a song and is used to build intensity or momentum into the upcoming chorus. This can be achieved by:
- Creating longer phrases at the beginning of the pre-chorus
- Bringing the melody line down to lower notes
- Ramp back up with shorter phrasing and less space between notes/words
That’s it – all the parts of a song!
You should consider the parts of a song as building blocks. Sometimes you need a bridge – sometimes you won’t. Make that decision by aligning what you’re trying to say with the song, and what a particular song element does.
For example, if you need a big “A-HA” moment to reveal a twist in the song, then a bridge makes sense and you should incorporate one.
If you don’t need the song to have a twist or big discovery by the speaker – for example you’re simply telling a linear story – then no bridge needed!
Your best approach for song structure is to know what the parts of a song are, and what they do. Then apply them!
More Articles On Song Structure
- 4 Steps To Connect Your Song Scenes
- 5 Steps To Song Creation Success
- A Song Title Should Give You Options
- Creating A Strong Bridge In A Song
- Direct Address: Writing “You” Songs Not About You!