Song Maker

The Structure of a Hit Song
By: Ty Cohen

When learning how to write a hit song, you will undoubtedly hear the structure of a song mentioned. The structure of your song will be the backbone that holds all of the other elements of your song together. As a songwriter you will learn that there are many different structures to work with but we will begin with the most basic structure and move on from there.

The most common song structure used today is a compilation of verse, chorus and bridge. To break this to where even the beginner music composer will understand, a verse is a composed set of music and words that functions as introductory material to a song, lyrically setting up the story. Basically your verse is going to explain what the song is about. Often, you will find that the songwriter incorporates the title somewhere in the beginning or end of the verse.

Then you have your chorus, or refrain. The chorus is the segment where your melody and lyrics are repeated. This is usually the part of the song that everyone seems to know the words to and often the part they sing along to. Your title will most likely be used more than once in your chorus. The chorus frequently differs from the verse melodically, rhythmically, and harmonically, and takes on an elevated level of dynamics and motion, often with more instrumental accompaniment.

The next element of basic song structure is your bridge. Your bridge will differ in structure from your verse and chorus. There are all sorts of variations you can add to your bridge to make it stand out. It can have a different key, tempo, rhythm, size or whatever you, the music composer, decides to do with it to make it stand out. You may also use your bridge as your transition into another part of your song. In relation to positioning, the bridge will often be located towards the end of the song.

If you are a beginner songwriter whose ultimate goal is to learn how to write a hit song then the above tips should get you off on the right start. The most common form of song structure is verse / chorus / verse / chorus / bridge / (verse) / chorus. You can stick to this as a starting point or guide when writing songs.

Remember, this is only the beginning and most basic elements of song structure. There is so much more for you to learn and explore in the world of songwriting. Grasping these simple yet crucial concepts will accelerate your journey to learning how to write a hit song.