• Christine Nekoye

Song Structures

What is Song Structure:

Song structure refers to how a song is organized, using a combination of different sections. A typical song structure includes a verse, chorus, and bridge in the following arrangement: intro, verse — chorus — verse — chorus —bridge — chorus — outro. This is known as an ABABCB structure, where A is the verse, B is the chorus and C is the bridge.

What Makes A Song

There are six primary parts to a song:

Intro: A song introduction should catch the listener’s attention.The goal is to establish the rhythm, tempo, and melody of the song, and introduce the singer or singers’ voices.

Verse: The verse of a song is a chance to tell a story. Lyrically speaking, this is where the story actually develops and advances. In most cases the verse is your chance to get your message across. It might be helpful to split the story you want to tell in two and think about how the second verse can build on the first.

Pre-chorus. Although optional, a pre-chorus helps to heighten the impact of the chorus. A pre-chorus usually contains a chord progression from either the verse or the chorus, building upon that familiarity. It’s another chance to experiment—a pre-chorus can utilize different harmonies, for example, or break the pattern of the song.

Chorus. The chorus is the culmination of all the big ideas in your song. This is often why the title of the song also appears in the chorus. It’s a summary of what the entire song is about. The chorus typically also contains the hook—the catchiest part of the song. Choruses should serve as the climax to the song. The verses and pre-chorus both serve to build up to this one moment; therefore the chorus should reflect that release of tension.

Bridge. The bridge typically happens only once towards the end of a song, usually between the second and third chorus. It’s a change of pace in the song—it stands out both lyrically and musically. The point is to remind the listener that there’s more to this song than just repetition.

Outro. This is the end of the song. An outro should signal clearly to the listener that the song is coming to an end. This can be done in a number of ways, but typically is achieved by doing the reverse of the intro—in other words, slowing down

Types of Song Forms

  • Strophic (AAA)

This is where you compose your music with only verses, In some cases it can have intro or outro. An example of this is hymns

  • Through-Composed (ABCDE..)

This form follows a pattern where there is no repetition in sections. Each musical part is independent. An example where this style is commonly used is Jazz

  • Ternary (ABA)

This composition may contain an intro following into a pattern of verse chorus verse. This is the most commonly used style in expressing musical ideas.

  • Rondo (ABACA) or (ABACABA)

This form of songs has been used to produce the world's greatest hit songs. It has three variations of verse - chorus -bridge and a repetition of verse and chorus

The song "If you ask me by Omawumi" is a perfect example of a Rondo form

Further Reading


Joshua Ross