What is (it)? Understanding Song Structure w/Out the Theory (And The #1 Way to Master It).

Preparing to write lyrics - Understanding lyric structure (song structure)Just what the heck is song structure!? And why do you need to master it?

Deep down you already know the answer to the last question. Yeah you do! You didnít find this page by accident.

Ranked as one of the TOP pages on Google for the subject, I KNOW no one just suddenly thinks "oh I wonder what song structure is". No, only a chosen few passionate to learn about songwriting are lead here.

 

This means one thing: You donít want to write songs just for you; just for funÖyou want to write songs that not only don't suck, but that are amazing!

You want to write songs that other people love; songs they adore that could be "hits" or classics one day. Songwriting isnít just a hobby for you.

Whether fresh out of high school, enrolled in college, or working at a basic job for now, you dream of becoming a professional songwriter one day very soon, (SHH! Donít read this out loud! Your secretís safe with me).

My point is, youíre not here by accident.

You know you need some help getting started.

 

You need structure. You know that without a guide to follow youíll make mistakes. And because a song is also an expression of your personal feelings and creativity, youíre a little self-conscious when you think about trying...you donít want to write a song that everyone hates.

So youíre also here to build your confidence as a songwriter.

On this page youíll learn all of the major parts of any song layout. Learn where each section normally goes in todayís songs and learn the #1 way to master structure.

unless you already read this page.

 

How to Channel an Ocean of Creativity

Imagine you suddenly finding yourself floating neck-deep down a river.

The sound of the rushing water is deafening as waves knock you through its narrow choppy channel; trees speeding by as youíre tossed about.

Thereís little you need to do to keep moving forward. Thereís little you CAN do to stop your momentum. You realize that wherever youíre going youíre guaranteed to get there very soon.

*SPLASH!!*

 

Before you know it, youíre thrust out into an open ocean. Thereís silence...nothing but the faint sloshing of your body in the water.

Your movement slows down to a barely noticeable crawl.

The water no longer seems to have a purpose. Itís just there, all around you. Stagnant. All momentum is gone. And while youíre completely free to swim anywhere you want...

...Thereís no path to follow anymore.

 

Which way do you go? What do you do now?

This illustration reveals the reason why structure is SO IMPORTANT for your songs. Your mind is a vast ocean of ideas; RAW creative power! But if itís not channeled, you wonít pick up any momentum and you wonít go anywhere.

And when that happens your creativity drowns.

 

You wonít be able to channel it into a hit song, much less a song with any meaning, unless you have structure.

A song's structure is a song's blueprint; the sections arranged in such a way that best expresses the songwriter's creativity and feelings. It's also called song form.

 

There are eight sections in a song: Intro, Verse, Refrain, Chorus, Hook, Bridge, Break and Outro. Each part (except for Intro & Outro) can be swapped and arranged differently in your song.

Youíre free to take your song in any direction you want. Itís an open ocean.

But each genre has a common structure it follows in todayís music that channels a songwriterís creative juices into a rushing river...

...building more and more momentum until...

*SPLASH!!* Success; your great song almost writing itself.

All you have to do is master song structure and your creativity will guide you the rest of the way to make a great song that people will fall in love with. But how do you do that? Well keep reading.

 

The Granddaddy of them allÖ

The most common song form all of today's layouts grew from is "ABABCB". But I feel it makes more sense to see the pattern this way:

Verse
Chorus (or Refrain)
Verse
Chorus (or Refrain)
Bridge
Chorus (or Refrain)

Did you catch it? I just shared the #1 way to master song structure! But if you missed it donít worry, Iíll explain.

Most of today's song structures are "grandkids" of this layout, with different lengths, tempos and time signatures spread across sections of the track.

Theyíre structured based on music genre and/or on the special feeling you want to share with your audience. Click the examples below to see what I mean.

 

Latest Song Structure Examples
(Click layout card for larger image)

 

  • HUMBLE.
  • I'm The One
  • That's What I Like
  • Shape Of You
  • Something Just Like This

 

 

Do you see how each layout is different? When you first look at these examples there doesnít seem to be a pattern, but there IS one. Trust me.

...And itís exactly why these songs are hits, yes; even the ones think are pretty crappy. Theyíre still hits because of the special structure they use.

It took me roughly 5-10 minutes to study and completely map-out each of the songs above.

 

And that - by the way - is how you learn song structure: by studying songs in your favorite music genre, and not just listening to them for entertainment.

But the #1 way to master structure is by *seeing* structure (yeah literally with your eyes) while hearing the song, and then by copying what you see as a blueprint for practice or for your new song.

Let me show you...

 

Which makes more sense to you?

Seeing "ABABCB", or seeing this:

Verse
Chorus (or Refrain)
Verse
Chorus (or Refrain)
Bridge
Chorus (or Refrain)

It's the same structure, but the second version makes more sense doesnít it? Itís not just letters that donít have any real meaning. But letís go a step further...

Now which one makes more sense to you? Seeing something like this?

Verse
Chorus (or Refrain)
Verse
Chorus (or Refrain)
Bridge
Chorus (or Refrain)

Or seeing something like this?
(Press play on video example)

Notice in the example how sections of the song are different colors and sizes. You can visualize the song while listening to the track. So is it even a contest which version is better?

Itís hard to recognize a song's structure just by listening to it. And itís just as hard to learn how to write great songs by studying generic song form and music theory ("ABABCB", etc.).

But when you can SEE the sections of a song, while listening to how each section flows into the next, you can really start to grasp song structure much faster.

And thatís the secret! Iíd explain the science behind why it works but itíd just bore you, but the TL;DR version is, "you're combining visual and audio information while learning so what you're studying makes more sense."

And when you combine that with simple explanations and instructions, you're GUARANTEED to master song structure.

 

Whatís your favorite music genre?

Now the best way to use this technique is to study the type of songs you really want to write.

It doesn't make sense to study rock songs if you want to make dance (house) music, or country songs if you want to write hip-hop songs (even though there are plenty of cross-over songs these days).

You should follow the right song to improve your songwriting skill for that style of music.

The example video above was recorded using my Song Structures Vault. It's an online library that guides new songwriters in how they can structure their song by seeing how popular songs are setup in their music genre.

Every song you hear today was inspired by a song written in the past.

So when Jay-Z, Ne-Yo, Adele, Katy Perry and other artists need to write a great song they get inspired by old songs they love, or they collaborate with other famous songwriters to guide their writing.

So I created an online library to help new songwriters like you learn from famous artists they can't collaborate with just yet.

Just find a song as close to your style as possible and follow the blueprint for writing a your song.

Piece a cake.

 

Here's my Free Gift To You.

Wow, great job! I appreciate you sticking around until the end.

As a thank you, if you'd like to use my Song Structure Vault for FREE - to see how it helps your understand the song structures of other hit songs - just click the green button below to register with my mailing list.

It took me over 2 years to develop my visual library, and about 20mins each time to personally analyze and synchronize a new song to a video. That's a LOT of time if you think about it.

So I'll only give you a free login if you're serious about becoming a great songwriter.

By registering it shows me you're ready to stop dreaming and start working towards your goal today.

I'll also send you some great song structure tips and songwriting techniques I've learned over the years including:

...along with suggestions of other stuff I think could help in your music genre.

Make sure you register now because I can only handle a few hundred visitors at a time since each visitor costs me data I have to pay for.

So if you're interested jump on this now before I lock it down.

IMPORTANT: After you submit the registration form, you MUST click the confirmation link emailed to you or you won't be registered to get the free login.

- Jeezy


What's your favorite song right now? Post in the comments below and I'll add it to my song structure library. Bookmark this site and Share this page with other aspiring songwriters.