Basic Song Structure

Simple guide for going about structuring a song. Below are the chord charts accompanying the video.
The video does refer to this video as “Tumblr”, which it isn’t. Try not to freak out…

Example 1
Our first example is the simplest kind of song – it’s one set of chords that repeats. Arguably, most 12-bar blues songs are like this, as is Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix.
The reason it’s not a common style of song is that a listener will want a catchy Chorus to sing-along with.
tumblr_mwu7jxaa5o1rvyc2jo1_540Example 2
This example introduces an extra pattern, in the same key. This will be our Chorus. We’re playing this 3 times over, and doubling-up the first Verse.


Example 3
Bridges add tension to a song as they’re usually used as a ‘free pass’ for songwriters to be a little more creative, implementing unusual chords or swapping the key entirely.


Example 4
A Pre-Chorus can appear before a Chorus and perform one of several roles. If your Chorus is in a different key to the Verse, or in a different style, a Pre-Ch can help ease the transition. They could also perform the simple task of adding a little more time before the Chorus, thus adding anticipation.
this example includes a Pre-Ch before the 1st and 2nd Choruses.


It may also be useful for you to check out some Standard Chord Progressions.

3 thoughts on “Basic Song Structure

  1. How about adding an intro and outro to Exs 3 & 4 to make them REALLY epic? “Intro” is short for “Introduction” and it does what its name implies: it gives the listener an introduction to the song.
    For both examples I was thinking of doing the verse progresssion, but 4x as opposed to 3x for the verses.
    So it would be Am – Em – C – G x7 (x4 as intro + x3 for the verses = x7) before doing the chorus, verse, bridge, chorus. And for the outro it’s just a repeat of the intro, but x32 (first 8 times, full band; next eight times, band without vocal,: next eight times, guitar, keyboard and bass disappear; final 8 times: drums fadeout)


    • Hi Marcelo,
      This is a super-simple intro to song structure, so wanted to keep it as basic as possible. I’m hoping to cover possible iterations, as per your suggestions, in future episodes.
      Thanks for commenting!


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