The John Lennon Education Tour Bus

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February 02, 2009

Songwriting 101: Song Forms

Written by The Lennon Bus


Hey there everyone!
Let’s get it started!  So let’s talk about the pieces that make up a song.
INTRO/OUTRO: So the intro/outro section of a song is *duh* at the beginning and end of the song.  Most of the time this is a instrumental vamp, sometimes accompanied by vocal stylings over the top.  In most cases, there are no lyrics in this section, and it only serves as a sort of buffer zone to ease the listener into your tune.  However, this being said, an intro/outro can also be a short lyrical opening/closing to your song that sets up your story or idea. 

To check out a great example of a lyrical intro to a song, listen to “Power of Love” by Luther Vandross, however 80’s that song may be!

VERSE/CHORUS: The verse is normally the story telling of a song.  The first verse is where you set up your story (if you haven’t used a lyrical intro), and your verses continue the inner-workings of your character’s story.
The chorus or hook is where you deliver your main statement, and often the title of your song.  The chorus is a section that reoccurs throughout the song, and in today’s pop music, the chorus will repeat over and over and fade out instead of using an outro.

BRIDGE: The bridge is an important part in a verse/chorus song.  The bridge normally fits in between your second chorus and third chorus.  It contrasts the rest of the song, and traditionally, the point-of-view changes for the bridge.  So, for example, if your verse and chorus is “I did this” and “I said that”, the bridge is “you say this” or “she/he did that”.  In contemporary music, a musical break with an optional instrumental solo set in between choruses is referred to as a “musical bridge”.

Some examples of verse/chorus/bridge songs (also known as AABA form) are the following.  Check them out:
“Soulmate” by Natasha Bedingfield
“Stereo” by John Legend

Speaking of that John Legend song, something to listen for in that song is another piece to the song form puzzle.  It is known as the PRE-CHORUS: The pre-chorus is located in between the verse and the chorus.  Like the chorus, it often has the same lyrics each time it repeats, but this is not a requirement.  It also doesn’t have the ‘hook’ or necessarily represent the main idea of the song, but it does normally have a different chord structure and/or melody than the verse.  Also check out the non-lyrical intro in “Stereo”!

So that’s it for song form!  Next time we’ll jump into another basic subject, and I’ll sit down at the piano with my camera and get a little more hands-on.  Sound good? Sweet!

So take it easy, be good, and remember to check out ‘The Craft of Lyric Writing’ by Sheila Davis.  You’ll find way more in-depth analysis on all the things I’ve talked about here.


Next entry: Calling all Troubadours with laptops!


Posted by jeffro  on  02/03  at  02:24 AM

Did someone say “Let’s Get It Started”???
Didn’t BEP record that track ON THE LENNON BUS?!

oh yeah they did

Posted by Semaj  on  02/04  at  09:37 AM

This was an interesting entry, but I would really like to see more video of eating contests.  Enitsirhc suggests grilled cheese sangwiches.  My boy, Salguod, can eat seven of them.

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