The structures or musical
forms of songs
music are typically sectional,
repeating forms, such as strophic
form. Other common forms
form, and the twelve
bar blues. Popular music
songs are rarely composed using different music for each stanza of the lyrics
(songs composed in this fashion are said to be "through-composed").
This form can be used in any structural difference in melodies. A common format
would be as listed: Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus,
Bridge, Verse, Chorus, Middle Eight
The foundation of popular music
is the "verse" and "chorus". Both are essential elements
with the verse usually played first. Exceptions abound with "She
Loves You" by The
Beatles being an early
example in the rock
music genre. Each verse
usually employs the same melody (possibly with some slight modifications), while
the lyrics usually change for each verse. The chorus (or "refrain")
usually consists of a melodic and lyrical phrase which is repeated. Pop songs
may have an introduction
("tag"), but these elements are not essential to the identity of most
songs. Pop songs often connect the verse and chorus via a bridge, which as its
name suggests, is a section which connects the verse and chorus at one or more
points in the song.
The verse and chorus are usually
repeated throughout a song though the bridge, intro, and coda (also called an
"outro") are usually only used once. Some pop songs may have a solo
section, particularly in rock or blues influenced pop. During the solo section
one or more instruments play a melodic line which may be the melody used by the
singer, or, in blues or jazz influenced pop, the solo may be improvised based on
the chord progression.
article: Introduction (music)
introduction is a unique section that comes at the beginning of the piece. It
usually builds up suspense for the listener so when the downbeat drops
in, it creates a release or surprise. In some songs, the intro is one or more
bars of the tonic chord (the
"home" key of the song). Alternatively, the intro may be based around
the chords used in the verse, chorus, or bridge, or a stock "turnaround" progression may be played, such as the I /vi / ii/ V progression
(particularly in jazz influenced pop songs). In some cases, an introduction
contains only drums or percussion parts which set the rhythm and "groove" for
the song, or the introduction may consist of a solo melody sung by the lead
singer (or a group of backup singers), or played by an instrumentalist
Verse is the main part of a song. In popular music a verse roughly corresponds
with a poetic stanza. When two or more sections of the song have basically
identical music and different lyrics, each section is considered one verse. It
is not to be confused with a pre-verse, which is an interlude between the
introduction of a song and its opening verse. Although less common now, the
pre-verse technique was popular with the surf music of the 1960s.
optional section that may occur after the verse is the "pre-chorus."
Also referred to as a "build", "channel," or
"transitional bridge," the pre-chorus functions to connect the verse
to the chorus with intermediary material, typically using subdominant or
similar transitional harmonies. Often when the verse and chorus involve the same
harmonic structure, the pre-chorus will introduce a new harmonic pattern in
order to make the harmony reappearance of the verse harmonies in the chorus seem
element of the song that repeats at least once both musically and lyrically. It
is almost always of greater musical and emotional intensity than the verse. In
terms of narrative, the chorus conveys the main message or theme of the song.
Normally the most memorable element of the song for listeners, the chorus
usually contains the hook. In
popular music, the chorus normally follows the verse, but there are notable
exceptions including The
"Can't Buy Me Love", Foster
"Call It What You Want"
"Get the Party Started".
popular songs, particularly from early in this century, are in a verse and a
chorus (refrain) form. Most popular songs from the middle of the century
consist only of a chorus."
A bridge is an
optional transitional period nearing the end of a song. Unlike typical verses,
pre-choruses, and choruses, the bridge usually will only occur once in any given
song. A bridge is musically and lyrically different from the rest of the song. A
bridge prepares for the return of the original material section. For example, C
theory, middle 8 refers to the section of a
song which has a significantly different melody from the rest of the song,[citation
needed] usually after the second chorus in a song. Typically, a
song consists of first verse, bridge, chorus, second verse, bridge, chorus,
middle eight, chorus). Such sections often consist of new chords, but
also frequently just alternate between two chords. It is called a middle 8
because it happens in the middle of the song and the length is generally 8 bars.
typical song structure employing a middle 8 is:
8s are often quieter than the main song, which contrasts with Solos,
which are generally more energetic. In slower songs, however, a middle 8 can be
used to generate energy. By adding a powerful upbeat middle 8, musicians can add
a great hook for
an end chorus and finale.
collision is a section of music where different parts overlap one another,
usually for a short period. It is mostly used in fast-paced music, and it is
designed to create tension and drama. For example, during a chorus later in the
song, the composer may interject musical elements from the bridge.
is a section designed to showcase an instrumentalist (e.g., a guitarist or a
harmonica player) or less commonly, more than one instrumentalist (e.g., a
trumpeter and a sax player). The solo section may take place over the chords
from the verse, chorus, or bridge, or over a standard solo backing progression,
such as the 12-bar blues progression. In some pop songs, the solo performer
plays the same melodies that were performed by the lead singer, often with
flourishes and embellishments, such as riffs, scale runs, and arpeggios. In
blues- or jazz-influenced pop songs, the solo performers may improvise a solo.