Lyrics & Songs > Songwriting > Song Structure > What is a Verse of a Song?

What is (it)? What is a Verse of a Song?

1920's music history


The verse is the section of your song structure that tells your story.

Traditionally, songwriters would include just one verse in their songs, and that verse could be as long or as short as the artist wanted.

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To understand why, you have to travel back in time between 1920 and 1960, to a world before mp3s downloads and Internet/Satellite Radio.

..back when automobiles (and the radios they possessed) were luxuries (fewer people could afford)

..and back when radio stations weren't the marketing beasts that they are today.

There were very few songs available to distract us, so the songs people heard were easily remembered. Well all of that's changed now hasn't it (lol)? These days our ears are assaulted by 5 new songs each week!

So songs now must be shorter to fit our shorter attention spans.

It's about your song's journey...and your verse is the road.

Regardless of the size and number of verses in your song, verses are still used to take the listener on a journey. You can have each verse of your song tell a part of your story, or have each verse tell a different short story, all tied together by your chorus.

"The verse is the main part of a song. In popular music a verse roughly corresponds with a poetic stanza. When two or more sections of the song have basically identical music and different lyrics, each section is considered one verse." - Wikipedia/Song Verse

...Listen to all the lonely verses.

This next song is a more serious example of story-driven verses that successfully connect to listeners on an emotional level: Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles..

Notice how each verse tells a unique story, split between two seemingly unrelated people while both still support the common chorus.

First the chorus gives the summary and then each verse's story gives examples of that summary. Finally, the last verse brings both stories together in a final climax. Perfect.

And it's all good.

Last but certainly not least, listen to how Biggie Smalls takes you along his journey from rags to riches in his song: Juicy.

You probably heard this song before but just listen again and pay special attention to how vivid his story is starting in the very first verse.

Learn How To Structure Your Verses

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All the best,

- Jeezy

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