Monday, February 22, 2010

Shaping the song with verse and chorus (Songwriting tips)

The standard rock song stacks more verse near the beginning of the song, and more chorus near the end of the song. It's not an absolute rule, but it's a familiar formula, something that audiences have come to expect.

Look for ways to shorten your first chorus. Will the song still work if you sing only half of the chorus the first time around?

Look for ways to shorten your last verse. If it's a two-part verse, perhaps all you need is part B of the verse, leading up to the chorus. Or you might be able to leave out part B and jump directly from part A of the last verse into the chorus.

Of course, you can sing the final chorus at least twice. Many rock songs repeat the chorus over and over at the end of the song and finally fade out.

An exception is a slow-tempo song with a long chorus. It might be too much, too long to repeat the entire chorus. In that case, you can still look for a way to work in a repeat of the climactic high point of the chorus before bringing the song to an end.

And you might consider making your first verse longer than the other verses, or perhaps singing two whole verses before you get to the first chorus.

Of course, sometimes you'll find that a song needs to break the rules. Always do what's best for the song.

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