Phase 1 - What is a Chorus? What's a Refrain?

Learn the clear, traditional difference between choruses and refrains below. Know what each element is and how both are important parts of your song.

Chorus vs. Refrain: What's the difference between them?

Choruses and refrains are not the same, but are related. Now the best way to understand the relationship between the two is to remember these two important points:

  1. ALL Choruses are refrains...but NOT ALL refrains are choruses.
  2. The word "refrain" applies to your song lyric, while the word "chorus" applies to your song's music.

Refrain vs. Chorus: What is said versus what is heard.

Song Structure Refrain -

A Refrain is any line or group of lines that repeat several times in your song lyric.

Because they repeat, refrains are used to get listeners hooked to your song or used to reinforce a point in your song's story.

Rule: When thinking of refrains, focus on what you want to say over and over.

A Chorus is the part of your song where all of your instruments, singers or musical elements come together to play and/or sing in unison.Song Structure Chorus -

It's also the part of your song where you encourage your listeners to sing along.

Rule: When thinking of choruses, focus on what you want to hear altogether.

Songwriters use the chorus to repeat a common refrain from their lyric (the line or group of lines you want reinforced the most). This is why all Choruses are refrains...lyrically.

Now musically, not every song has a chorus. Creatively, a songwriter may not want to add too many musical elements to their song.

This often happens when writing songs where you feel your words are strong enough to make an emotional connection without much help from your music, like in softer songs or rap songs.

Sometimes you may not want your audience to sing along; maybe you just want them to listen and feel connected to your words, creating a bond with your lyric.

How to Structure Your Chorus & Refrains

Let's go over several examples of Choruses and Refrains to shortcut your learning curve. Join my free training group to learn everything about Choruses & Refrains in 8 weeks.

Learn to write great songs like your favorite hits from the radio and train to become a great songwriter in four steps:

  1. lyric writing lessons - Seed Method for Writing Song Lyrics Download my free 6-step exercise manual to prepare your lyrical content for structuring. Having your song lyric fully fleshed-out before piecing it together is important.

  2. Learn important skills and tips about each song section not taught in music theory class to get the most out of using the Song Structure Vault to structure your next song.

  3. Follow audio & video songwriting lessons to complete your training.

  4. Also, as a member get exclusive deals on all professional songwriting tools & courses offered on this website.

In a few weeks you'll have access to everything you need to structure great songs. You've already taken the first step by searching for this info. And reading this far shows me you have a passion for songwriting.

So take the next step. There's no cost to join and no obligation to stay.

But you need to join now because space is limited.


IMPORTANT: After you register, check your spam folder if you don't get a confirmation email within a few minutes.

- Jeezy

Updated: April 3, 2020

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