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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

    Like

    • 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!

      Like

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