Properly Identifying Song Sections
Maintaining proper song structure while creating original and innovative music is much more impressive than ignoring structure all together. There will always be a place for progressive music, and there will always be some artists making incredible progressive songs. But generally, if you structure your songs like this: riff one, heavy part, groove, calm part, solo, ending riff… thank you. Sincerely, I really am grateful. You are one of the reason producers exist. Producers study song structure. They can change that collection of riffs into a song.
So how do we do it? First, we learn how to identify each part of the song. These 3 parts are in every properly structured song:
1. Verse. In the most basic song structure (Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Chorus) the verse is the part the song starts on. It also serves as the first separation between choruses. You’ll be able to identify the verse by its lyric changes and chord progression. In verses, the lyrics change. The second verse vocals will not be the same as the first verse vocals. The verse may also have a specific chord progression, but that is not a rule. A lot of top charting songs use the same chords in the verse and chorus.
2. Chorus. The chorus should be the easiest part to identify. You will hear it at least three times in a song. This is where the artist puts the “A hook.” The top line hook is usually a vocal singing words that fit a specific vocal motif.
* Top Line – The melody that stands out from the chords. It is usually a vocal but can be an instrument.
*A’ Hook – The primary catchy melody in a song.
*Vocal motif – A melodic pattern used in repetition. The words can change, but the melodic pattern stays constant.
3. Bridge. You won’t hear the bridge of the song until two verses and at least two choruses have been completed. In a basic song structure it will come after the second chorus. But, in a song that intros on the chorus, it will come after the third chorus. A new melody and/or chord structure will be introduced at this point. In some advanced structures, the bridge will not come directly after the chorus.
Keep this in mind while you listen to music. You should be able to identify these 3 parts even when you’re listening to more advanced structures. The next article in this series will explain song structure modifiers. That’s where you can have some real fun.