When I first started writing songs I remember wondering, “What are all the different parts of a song?” I was surprised at how simple (or complicated) a song really can be!
The parts of a song are the main sections that form the structure or outline of the whole composition. The most common parts are the Chorus, Verses, and Bridge. Songs might also have an Intro, Outro, and variations on the other parts.
Here’s are the most common parts of a song:
What are song sections?
Songs have different parts that can be categorized based on what they do. For example, the Chorus is the part that is repeated over and over again. It is the most memorable part of the song and the song is usually named after the main line from the Chorus.
Verses are the “meat” of a song where the main ideas are introduced and explored a bit. Verses can be different from one another and have different lengths in order to emphasize certain ideas. They can also give the song a certain “feeling” in order to contrast with the Chorus or other parts of the song.
Another common section is called the Bridge. This part is important because it provides a big contrast to the Chorus and Verses. A lot of times, the Bridge will use a different melody and the music will change also. The Bridge is also where a new viewpoint or surprising insight is added that gives the whole song a new layer of meaning.
The last and final Chorus will usually come after the Bridge to sort of “sum up” the whole idea of the entire song. I like to think of the Bridge like the “vitamins” or the “moral of the story” of a song because it can add a surprising depth or different meaning than the Verses and Chorus by themselves would suggest.
How does knowing the parts of a song help with songwriting?
Knowing the parts of a song helps organize your ideas so you can highlight what you’re trying to express. In short – Knowledge is power.
Of course, you can write a song however you like. It’s fun to follow your inspiration to explore new ideas and express ideas in new ways.
Learning about the different sections of a song will help you find new ways of expressing yourself.
You can find new ways to organize your lyrics, melody, and arrangement so that they can have the most powerful impact on the listener.
Do I need to know the sections to be able to write a song?
I don’t think it’s necessary to have a huge amount of knowledge about music in order to start writing songs. You’ve probably written a few songs yourself already!
So why learn what a verse / chorus / bridge / etc. are all about?
One of the main benefits is that it helps you express yourself more powerfully. Knowing the parts of a song is like knowing the “building blocks” that make up all the music out there.
You can reorganize sections in a song to create vastly different feelings and effects… Just by moving around the same parts of a song! It’s powerful stuff.
To start doing that, it helps to be able to identify which sections are which..
Learning about songwriting is like equipping yourself with more tools to create beautiful music.
Could you build a house with plain rocks and tree branches? Sure! But wouldn’t it be nice to have the skills, materials, and knowledge to put together a mansion?
What is the difference between a chorus and a verse?
A Chorus is the part of a song that is repeated and is usually the “main idea” of a song. Choruses use the same melody and lyrics over and over again, in general.
Verses are usually have different lyrics, but use the same melody. They add extra layers of meaning and depth… And they can vary in length in order to propel the song forward, or slow it down in order to create peaks and valleys of emotion and feeling.
What’s an Intro in a Song?
Intro is short for Introduction. Just as you might imagine it comes at the beginning of the song.
An Intro typically doesn’t have any lyrics and is only musical. The music of an Intro is usually the same as the music that will be used in the Chorus.
Sometimes Intros are completely different from the rest of the song and use completely different music, instruments, or lyrics.
The main purpose of the Intro is simply to “introduce” the rest of the song. So follow your heart and do what feels right.
What’s an Outro?
An Outro simply ends the song and it’s usually a re-working of the other parts of the song like the Chorus.
It might use different instrumentation, or repeat phrases in such a way to create a sense of resolution and finality to the rest of the song.
It ends things in a way that feels satisfying and purposeful.
That being said, of course you could write an Outro that was surprising or completely different… Maybe you’d want to create a sense of suspense or surprise at the end of the song… That’s up to you!
What is a Solo?
A solo is a part of the song intended to highlight one particular instrument – Thus, ‘solo’ which means ‘alone.’
You can ‘solo’ any instrument you want. The most common solos are for guitar and vocals.
What is a Verse?
A verse is the part of the song that fills in all of the details. Verses are where the “meat and potatoes” of the song’s idea are expressed.
One or two verses usually come before the Chorus, which is the memorable “catchy” part of the song that is repeated.
Most Rock and Pop songs have about two to three verses.
What is a Bridge?
A Bridge is like a transitional section that is only repeated once. It is memorable and important like a Chorus, except that it’s only performed once.
The reason it is called a Bridge is because it acts just like the name suggests – it is like a bridge over to the final section of the song (usually the chorus). The Bridge is an important part of the song because you can introduce new ideas that reinforce or give new meaning to the Verses and Chorus in the rest of the song.
For examples, check out the examples of Bridges in popular songs here.
I hope this was helpful to understand what are the parts of a song. Is there something else you wished I covered? Let me know in the comments, thanks!