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This can turn into a huge topic. I’ll try to keep it as simple and clear as possible.

Typical song form involves verses, choruses, sometimes (but not always) a bridge. You know how this goes:


  • Verse – chorus – verse – bridge – chorus – verse – chorus
  • Verse – verse – chorus – verse – chorus


There are variations (sometimes there’s a solo), but this is pretty much it. It’s no wonder song-writers feel like they repeat themselves from time to time.



Trying to change this paradigm can create confusion and/or claims of pretension. A lot of people don’t want anything other than what they’re used to, and that makes it difficult to offer something new.

But you don’t have to go crazy and add two solo sections and three interludes. All you have to do is make subtle changes in the existing structure.

For example, verse 1 might have a progression that ends on a C chord. If that’s the case, end the second verse on an Amin chord (or something else that works for you). Sing one of the choruses a cappella (not that subtle, but effective).

Other things you can do to vary things from verse to verse, or chorus to chorus;

  • change strumming patterns
  • make small changes to the melody
  • add/drop harmony vocals in the chorus
  • drop the bass in one of the verses


There are often things you can do that relate to the particular song that you’re working on. Stay open to changing things from verse to verse, and these things will present themselves.

An example

Here’s an example of a sightly less conventional form than the ones above:


Intro – A1 – A2 – B – solo – C – A1 – A3 – outro


A1, A2, and A3 represent verses; B represents the chorus; C represents an interlude or a bridge or a completely new section (a section is longer than an interlude or a bridge). The numbers after the A’s indicate that a different musical idea has been added to the verse.



Notice that the chorus happens only once. This subverts expectation; listeners will be waiting for another chorus since 99% of the time they get one. This could be a strength or a weakness depending on how you write the rest of the piece.

Something needs to repeat. There’s only one B section, and one C section. The A sections repeat but are different every time. Can the intro and the outro be the same?

This issue of repetition needs to be considered any time you write a song, but especially when repetition isn’t built in. Thinking deeply about these things is one of the things makes song-writing so cool.


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