Understanding Song Structure (or Lyric Structure)

Preparing to write lyrics - Understanding lyric structure (song structure)Learn all of the major parts of any song layout. See where each element normally goes in most popular songs and learn how to structure your own songs.

Now the best way to understand song structure fast is to take a look at many of today's popular songs as examples, and then read a little more about each song element.

Song Structure Elements of Popular Music

There are seven pieces used in songs: Intro, Verse, Chorus (and/or Refrain), Hook, Bridge, Break & Outro. Each piece (except for Intro & Outro) can be arranged differently based on your creativity, but there are common patterns most popular songs use.

Not every piece is required for each song, but you do need at least one verse and one chorus.

Song Structure Examples (as of 4.22.16)

 


 


Song Structure Library

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7 Steps to Understanding Song Structure
(in order of importance)

  1. What is a Chorus? What’s a Refrain? Lyrically? Musically? - The chorus is the part of your song listeners will judge first.
     
  2. What is a verse of a song? - The verse is the section of your song that tells your story. Read the history of the song verse and learn how to structure your verses.
     
  3. Bridge Song Structure (Middle 8) - This is the section of your song that gives your audience time to reflect on your story. They usually occur in the middle of songs.
     
  4. What are breaks? - A break is a brief "pause" for the core melody within a song. It may include a solo or drum interlude or silence.
     
  5. What is a Hook? - It's a mnemonic tool that catches a listener's attention to help them remember a certain refrain, beat and/or melody.
     
  6. Intro "How To" - Most of today's songs have an intro in one form or another. And if you're trying to make a hit song there are some rules I suggest you keep in mind.
     
  7. Outro - This page explains the song Outro and whether or not you should add them to your song's structure. Go with your artistic gut as a songwriter.

It's Time To Write Your Next Song...Yeah Really.

Trust me we're not jumping the gun. Now that you have a basic understand of song structure elements it's time to learn how to structure a song by writing one. The best way we learn is by copying examples and repeating steps until it becomes habit.

Don't worry...it doesn't have to be a hit song and you don't have to share it if you don't want. It just has to express the thoughts and feelings you want people to feel so that you make a connection with another stranger out in the world...because music brings people together.

Now this process will seem a little weird at first but I guarantee you'll understand song structure far better after you follow these steps (by the way, better bookmark this page because this'll take some time):

  1. Pick a feeling or a thought you want to express to others right now.
  2. Pick a music genre you'd like to write your song in.
  3. Choose an existing song that expresses your feeling.
  4. Copy that song's layout as a blueprint of the elements you'll use in your song, where, and for how long.
  5. Choose whether to use that song's music also...or whether you'll use your own.
  6. REWRITE the lyric to the song's main refrain element.
  7. REWRITE the lyric to the song's first verse.
  8. REWRITE the lyric to the song's bridge (if it has one).

By following this process a few times you'll notice a pattern to the song structure.



What's your favorite song right now? Post in the comments. Bookmark this page for more song structure examples in the future (i'm also working on an archive of old examples), and share with aspiring songwriters.