Did you know that most songs are not written in a willy-nilly, anything goes fashion? Most songs, especially songs you recognize from radio, are written in pre-determined formats. There are mainly 3 different sections you will find in songs: Verse, Chorus, Bridge. The arrangement of these three sections gives us the structure of a song. Let's determine a few of these formats and view some examples for reference.
One frequently used song structure is:
Verse, Verse, Chorus, Verse (AABA)
One popular example of this format is "Yesterday" by The Beatles (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONXp-vpE9eU). This is proof that brilliant songs don't need to be lengthy or have a bridge. The tricky part is that they do have to be brilliant. Go figure.
Another frequently used song structure is:
Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus (ABABCB)
Some popular examples of this structure can be heard in the songs "Just Give Me A Reason" by Pink (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpQFFLBMEPI), and "Love Somebody" by Maroon 5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU8B4XDI3Uw). These songs do repeat the chorus at the end, but for our purposes the format is ABABCB.
And a popular structure in the Zero to seven-year-old category would be:
Verse, Verse, Verse (AAA)
As heard in "Mary Had A Little Lamb"--poem by Sarah Josepha Hale and music by Lowell Mason.
However, if willy-nilly, anything goes is more your style, the beautiful thing about songwriting is that nobody can tell you what your song should be! It can sound any way you like, in any structure (or lack thereof) you like. Remember, it's your art. It should be whatever you think it should be!
Feel free to post comments or ask questions. Next week we'll get a little more into structure and ways to make a song interesting from the inside out. Thanks for reading!