Songwriting can be one of the most rewarding parts of being a musician. The beauty of songwriting is that nothing is right or wrong, and the world of music is filled with a wide range of different genres and styles.
But, if you are new to writing, I decided to deconstruct a simple song structure to help get you started.
In my opinion, the most straightforward song structure to apply to your writing is the pop song structure. It goes a little like:
- Verse 1
- Verse 2
- Pre- Chorus
- Verse 3
- Pre- Chorus
- Chorus x 2
From my experience, the best thing to do before writing a song is to plan what you’re going to write about. For example, this could mean anything from deciding the name of the song and the topic, to write a few sentences about what you want to communicate within it.
Then I usually tackle the first two verses.
I think of writing verses like telling a story — you’re helping to build a world for the listener.
The pre-chorus is an excellent way to transition to the chorus, and you can also change the melody slightly here, which usually will perk up the listener as they will hear something new.
The chorus typically features the title of the song or repeats a specific phrase. This is the part of the song that I think you can get really creative with exciting melodies and rhythms.
The bridge of a song I like to think of as a little plot twist. You can often change the key of the song, or if you’ve written upbeat lyrics at this point, you can change them to something more somber.
Then you can nicely transition back to the chorus a couple of times.
I hope some of this information helped, especially if you’re new to songwriting. It can often be an intimidating and vulnerable thing to write a song if you’ve never done it before.
The best thing to do is to keep it up and keep practicing. You’ll have a couple of albums worth of songs before you know it!
Jen Athan is a composer and producer based in Glasgow. Her work spans many different styles and genres and typically features her love of sampling and experimenting with new sounds. She has written music for theatre shows and short films and enjoys creating music to accompany a narrative.