Songwriting in 60 seconds: basics of song structure – the verse

60-Second Songwriting aims to offer quick and concise advice on songwriting, foundations and explosions for the 21st century musician pressed for time and attention.

Song structure is one of the key elements or building blocks of songwriting. As songwriters, we casually throw in a common structuring language all the time: “Let’s do a double chorus here. Why don’t we go to the bridge there? But how often (if ever) do we really stop to reflect, as a beginner or advanced writer, on the fundamental concepts behind the day-to-day rudiments of our craft?

Let’s quickly explore one of the most basic (and often taken for granted) components of song structure; the verse.

The verse

What comes to mind when you think of the verse?

● The verse of a song is one of the main building sections of the song structure.

● A pop verse usually consists of a chord progression and a main melody with lyrics. If the song is purely instrumental in nature, so is the main melody doing all the work on its own, without lyrics/voice.

● The verse is a recurring section of a song. As with any songwriting, there are no rules, but there are usually two or three verses in a pop song.

● As a general rule, the chords and melody of the first line remain the same for each verse while the lyrical content changes. This helps provide the listener with some form of consistency while serving to create the narrative of your track. A narrative that generally illustrates and supports the main intellectual theme of your song, usually present in your chorus.

● Although the chorus or “hook” of your track gets most of the listener’s (and songwriter’s) love and interest, the verse does all the heavy lifting, lyrically, in terms of storytelling and is a super important part of the songwriting equation.

Mark Bacino is a New York-based singer-songwriter. When not creating his own melodic brand of retro-pop, Mark is producing other artists, composing for TV/advertising and teaching songwriting through his Queens English Recording Co. Mark is also the founder/curator from intro.verse.chorus, a site dedicated to exploring the art of songwriting. Visit Mark on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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