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Song Writing Structure & Format

It is really cool and fun to write your own songs but only when it’s done correctly.

Some people only write lyrics and some can only write the instrumentals, lucky and talented people can do both… (so jealous) Either way, everyone has to be in agreement for a song to work.

Here are some basic things you need to know while writing out your songs to make sure its going to work.

Names You have to know what song sections are called

When song writing was invented, names were assigned to parts in songs to easily identify which part of the song you are referring to.

You can’t just say, “let’s take it from the middle part” NO! What does that even mean? Okay maybe you can call it whatever you want, you’re not breaking any laws, but why complicate your life any further. Everyone who learns music theory usually learns these terms as well to be able to communicate clearly with the rest of the band members.

Knowing the names of the parts in songs is also helpful to keep your thoughts together. You can easily organize the sections by name and add notes here and there to know what changes you want to make if any.

Timing You have to know when to come in and for how long

Timing is very important in song writing. It sets the pace in which everyone will play. If someone’s playing the part too fast or too slow, it will be noticeable and throw off the whole song. Timing is also important because if the drums suddenly stop in the middle of a performance, you can keep going knowing the timing of the song and make it less awkward, and look like a bad*ss. But what if you’re the one that looses the beat? Knowing where to come in and out can help you jump back into the song and hopefully save what’s left of the performance.

Keep reading below to learn the names assigned and their definitions, and also ways you can combine them to write a really cool song. Remember, not everyone learned this terminology so be patient with others.

Intro The beginning section of a song.

Intro is the shorted term for introduction, usually recognized by all as the start of the song. An intro can be only instruments playing, only vocals or also both. There is no rules, if you want a sick guitar solo as the intro then that’s what it can be. How about a clean drum beat before all the instruments join in? An intro usually sets the mood for the rest of the song so its important to write a killer intro. 

Verse The repeated section of a song.

A verse will be the same notes being played and the same rhythm but the lyrics can change. The same verse can be played throughout the whole song but you can also have different verses.  This is why these names are set in stone because if you have 3 different verses in your song you can simply name them verse 1, verse 2 and verse 3 to make them easy to keep track of. You can also call it Verse A if you’d like. Or Ben.

Chorus The section of music developed to be repeated throughout the song.

The Chorus is usually the catchy part of the song. The lyrics repeat themselves over and over until they are stuck in your head. It’s got that contagious rhythm that makes you obsess over the song. The lyrics in the chorus don’t typically change much but they might, depends on how the writer feels really. It is also a bit more obvoius, meaning the song intensifies  The chorus is also typically used repeatedly to end songs.