To avoid getting in the rut of similar arrangements, a songwriter should take another look at the parts of a song. Without variety, songs can become boring and predictable. Here is a quick refresher on the different parts of a song.
- Verses. Verses are the parts of a song that tell the story or explain the meaning. They usually sound alike but have different words. Songwriters keep the verses alike to build structure in the song. Typical songs have two or three verses, but some have more.
- Chorus. Sometimes called the refrain, the chorus is a song’s focal point. It is the part of a song that repeats itself. It often contains a hook that gets people to remember the song. A song’s chorus usually appears two or three times, often several times.
- Pre-Chorus. A pre-chorus is the versatile part of a song that comes right before the chorus. Often used to build up the chorus, the pre-chorus sounds different from the verses or chorus. The pre-chorus verses can be different or the same whenever the part appears in the song.
- Post-Chorus. The post-chorus directly follows the chorus. It sounds different from the chorus, but it may retain the same power level. Singers often use the post-chorus to repeat the line at the end of their chorus. Some musicians use an instrumental piece as the post-chorus.
- Bridge. A bridge is the change-up part of a song. Almost like a second style of verse, the bridge is different from other song parts. Songs usually have just one bridge, although creative songwriters may add more than one. Usually, each bridge sounds different.
- Musical Solo. A musical solo is the part of a song that features an instrumental solo. Sometimes the musical solo replaces a verse or chorus part. The most interesting musical solos have a life of their own, while still fitting the song.
- Intro. The intro gets people’s attention. It can be the verse or chorus played in an unusual way or something completely different, like a part that doesn’t appear anywhere else in the song.
- Extro. Sometimes called the outtro, the extro is similar to the intro. Of course, it appears at the end of the song. It usually contains a few lines of the chorus that slows down at the end.
- Breakdown. A breakdown leaves something out. Usually, it is a verse or chorus with less instrumentation. Sometimes a breakdown and a bridge are the same part. Songwriters use breakdowns to lower a song’s energy before building it back up.