Let's talk structure

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  • @tcelliott  Feb 10

    Anyone have an unusual "go to" structure? Have you used something different that worked really well? Have you tried something that didn't work? Anyone put the prechorus after the chorus or the bridge after the intro? Let me know.

  • @tcelliott  Feb 10

    My latest song "T.V. All Day" has the structure:

    Instrumental intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Instrumental bridge, Chorus and a half, solo, Chorus, Repeat half of first verse.

    But I like it. And no-one commented that they noticed. (Although you guys and gals are so supportive, I'm not sure that means anything.)

  • @nerdjealous  Feb 10

    I tend to let my muse guide mea lot unless I'm sitting down specifically to write an actual song - I generally stick to verse chorus verse chorus bridge verse/chorus when I do.

    But as for the album a day's I do, I just see where I go since it's mostly improvisational. I can often times slip into rap freestyle, a character voice of some kind, then singing a catchy bit etc so this is generally why I see where my voice wants to go.

    Basically tldr - I see where my voice wants to take me structurally.


    But I do wanna start improvising off of pre set structures - but that's yet to come for me. I'm digging my style ATM so maybe something or someone will tempt me into more complex structures eventually!

  • @scottlake Feb 10

    My rut:

    Double length verse
    Single length verse
    Multiple choruses.

  • @scottlake Feb 10

    So I worked at writing a refrain line song and had to resist the urge to go into the rut.

  • @robynmackenzie  Feb 10

    For the most part my songs are:

    2 verses
    Bridge or solo
    Double chorus

    But I wrote one the other day that had a pre-chorus throughout the song, which I don't think I've done before. So that was cool.

  • @coolparadiso  Feb 11

    Depends what i am doing. Skirmishing or quick demos i tend to go IVVCVVCO or ICVVCVVO But if i have time or come back thats when the bridge and instrumentals appear. I write enough to try new stuff all the time my structure often changes when i try and do the music being i am generally a lyric first person. I think ive tried everyway i often go to one final verse after double verses earlier. Some of my best songs to my ear have had pre chorus! My most well received mainstream songs (to outside songwriter forums) seem to have double choruses

  • @dzdandcunfsd  Feb 11

    structure!?! *shivers* and runs away 😉

  • @kanttila  Feb 11

    I do this one a lot

    Chorus that sounds like a pre-chorus
    Chorus that sounds like a pre-chorus
    Verse but instrumental

    I don't make long choruses very often. I don't end on choruses as often either although I have done it more recently.

    Something I love from J-Pop songs is how many go from chorus to solo to bridge, that's something I enjoy doing. and then having half the chorus quiet before everything kicks back in. Or the usual trope of opening on the chorus without all the instruments going full force. Then going into a instrumental bit with a melodic guitar before the verse. The vocals always comes in first right before everything else. What is it on the off beat or something.

  • @sbs2018  Feb 11

    Well, I use some form of an EDM structure - Intro, Break, Build, Drop, 2nd Break, 2nd build, 2nd Drop, Outro...

  • @complexissimple Feb 11

    My go-to is verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse, chorus. However, at a guess, only about half of my songs follow that kind of structure and the other half are weird other things. I know I've done at least a few that consist only of verses, too.

  • @powerstars Feb 11

    I like my

    Bridge and/or Solo
    Chorus (x2)

    Although I do give some variance now and again. My song Do I Want This from this year is rocking


  • @rainchaser  Feb 11

    I use the AABA 32 bar structure. So it's basically


    Sometimes I cut off the 4th verse if I deem it unnecessary. Occasionally I would addan intro and solo but only if the song really speaks to me to have it maybe an outro as well. I would also eventually do Verse/Chorus structure but right now I find the traditional 32 bar form more interesting to write my music. Maybe I'm an old man living in a young man's body! Lol

  • @estebanlartigue  Feb 11

    melodically im pretty fast on having part A part B (partC bridge if i need)

    have a real hard time with the 2nd part verses. example i would do
    ABC (with the idea on mind of doing ABABCB.
    AB (with the idea on doing AABA
    but i have half songs and then i need extra work or help writing or extending the wording ideas.

  • @standup  Feb 11

    Guess I do the same. Verse Chorus Verse Chorus. A bridge if it needs it. And for some reason, it looks like I'm unusual, I very often go back to a verse after the bridge, not to chorus(es).

    Sometimes I write a first line that's a refrain and it's verse verse verse, though that's not often.

    I really like outros, I like to write something different at the end to go out.

  • @nightwing521  Feb 11

    @robynmackenzie: Then what makes it a "pre-chorus" rather than just a longer chorus?

    My rut is because I play bluegrass. I tend to four-line, four-bars-per-line verse and chorus. I do my best to at least write different tunes for verse and chorus, but, like many bluegrass tunes, sometimes I just get lazy and use the same tune for each.

  • @robynmackenzie  Feb 11

    @nightwing521 Its repeated in between two verses and at the end of the song as well as before two choruses

  • @plumptunes Feb 11

    I like taking the 2nd half of the 2nd verse and changing up the chord progression/melody

  • @scottlake Feb 11

    I just now noticed the word unusual in the original post....
    If I write a pre chorus, I follow Pat Pattison’s trick to make it have an odd number of clauses, compared to typically even numbers of clauses in the verses and choruses. He gives example after example of how that has worked in hit songs. Plenty that don’t have that of course, but if you pay attention you will find this tension builder in lots of songs. It’s somewhat unusual for FAWMers, but pretty typical outside of FAWM. Give it a try!

  • @scottlake Feb 11

    @robynmackenzie looks like we have pretty much the same go to. I did force myself out of it with one I wrote yesterday that is all verses with a refrain line, but the music in my head makes it sound like Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page”, and I want it not to sound that way.

  • @candle  Feb 11

    I'm with @dzdandcunfsd on this one folks: structure? Really, you want me to be structured? I'm a Nihilist. I ain't doing no structure 😉

    Start a song with the bridge & see where it leads you. I dare ya!

    See You In The Shadows…

  • @bootlegger Feb 11

    If I have a chorus in one of my songs I usually do a verse or two and then chorus verse chorus whatever.

    But a lot of my songs don't really have choruses. Sometimes it's like verse verse coda or something.

    Or just like. Lots of verses and then done.

    Or like intro, verse, outtro or something.

  • @shintai  Feb 11

    Interesting thread! I am struggling to find sometimes good structures for my songs. I am not a huge fan of the typical pop scheme i v c v c b c c and tend more to do progressive schemes.

  • @radiobenedetto  Feb 11

    I find the songs that seem most interesting to me and the ones I ’m most happy with tend to have a prechorus. Trouble is it’s hard to write a good one and your song gets long very quickly. The best prechoruses are often what I originally thought would be the chorus until I realize it hasn’t taken the journey far enough. My song “Fascinator” has an interesting and efficient structure: I-v-pc-c-break-v-pc-c-bridge-half pc-c-c but it still manages to come in at around 3 1/2 mins if you’d like to hear what I mean.

  • @tomslatter  Feb 11

    I've used all sorts. Very often I'm following a narrative, so that dictates the structure. That's especially true of my longer form songs. You can't just do VCVC when you're writing a 20 minute prog rock song.

    More recently I've really been enjoying a simple pop song structure with a focus on chorus hooks.

    Every now and then I break out an old fashioned 32 bar AABA structure if I want something innocent and straightforward.

  • @tomslatter  Feb 11

    @nightwing521 a pre-chorus would build tension before the chorus releases it. Eg a pre chorus in C might go F G7 F G7, which sounds unresolved. That could lead into a chorus with C F G C which has less tension cos it's all primary chords with chord I very prominent.

  • @saltyjohn Feb 11

    I tend to stick to popular, simple structures but I've written variations such as all-verse, verse and refrain, also.
    I find lyricists tend to write pop songs that are too long, I'm always fighting this temptation myself. There's danger in trying to over-clarify the story, mystery and obscurity can be good.

  • @celineellis  Feb 11

    I try and not let myself get into writing ruts, but of late I see myself returning to the first verse at the end of the song, often with a slight alteration to complete a circle or flip it back where appropriate. I’m also a fan of an expanding chorus, so each time it’s repeated the chorus develops and a new bit is added.

  • @torniojaws Feb 11

    I rarely follow a predefined structure, but many songs end up following certain structures that depend on the style. Of course there is the ubiquitous "A B A B Chorus" etc, but they are so common because it works well 😀

  • @ianuarius  Feb 11

    If you wanna do weird things...

    (I look at all the comments there and wonder where all those songs are)

  • @andygetch  Feb 11

    The oddest thing I like to do sometimes is to start a song with three or even four unique sections so the chorus reveal is more of a surprise. As far as a goto structure, not sure I have one however, the one I seem to use most is variations on the popular song format.

  • @evinwolverton  Feb 11

    (Sorry, I could resist)

  • @colgoo Feb 11

    I vary my songs quite a bit....it all depends on the story

    I have done so many variations:

    Line1, verse, shortened line (2), verse, line 2, verse, line 3

    I, C, V V, C, V, C, B, C

    C, V1, C, V, C, V, V, C, V1

    All verses....no choruses, just an instrumental break in the center

    V, PC, C, V, PC, C, I, V, PC, C

    V, C, V, C, B, C

  • @papaooo Feb 12

    The story drives the structure, usually.

    But I have one song that is VVVVV InstrumentalBreakItDown! VVVV IBID!
    V. So it depends on story and style.

  • @davidbreslin101  Feb 13

    I've looted classical music for song structures before now. (I'm calling each section of muisc by a letter name here- t'is nowt to do with keys!)

    Da capo aria: ABA, where the lyrics are the same for both "A"s.

    I used rondo form a lot at one point. The idea of a rondo is just to start with the refrain and have it return after each different section. It can be ABABA, ABACADA, ABACABA etc though I really only used the first of those for songs. I like having the same lyrics for the first and last "A"s but different lyrics in the middle.

    Last FAWM I did a couple of songs in baroque dance style, using binary form. That has two sections of music, repeated AABB. But both sections are using similar music. The "A" section might start in G major and lead to D major, then the "B" section does the opposite, but with basically the same tunes. (I'm not explaining this very well.) And then you can add a "trio" with different tunes, also in binary form, which makes it AABB CCDD AB. Tried a couple of different ways to get lyrics to repeat in this framework- having the same line of verse at the end of every musical section seemed to work best.

  • @tcelliott  Feb 14

    I did a song that is lyrically Verse, Verse, Bridge, Verse (And that's without a traditional refrain.)

    But I added solos so I ended up with:

    V, V, B, solo, V, extended solo

    The songs checks in under 1:30 so I squeezed a lot of structure in a short amount of time. *FLEX* (Of course bpm:178 helps move it right along.)

  • @mhorning Feb 14

    My rut:

    Double verse
    double verse
    chorus and a half

    I think one one song I have written this FAWM falls into that pattern though. And I wrote that one in DADGAD, so I was intentionally experimenting with altered tunings instead of altered structure.

  • @carleybaer  Feb 14

    I’m trying to pare mine down this year to just VCVCC. No bridges. I usually rely on bridges to act as the “in summation” part of the song, but my new tactic is to try and make the verses and choruses strong enough to stand alone.

    That, or I’m just lazy this year 😂

  • @wylddandelyon Feb 14

    I've done a few songs where the last verse is the same as the first, but the emotional impact is changed because of what happens in the middle.

  • @mhorning Feb 15

    @wylddandelyon I have a B5 Crusade song written that way. It's a duet, and repeating the first verse shows that the main character has leaned nothing.

  • @elainedimasi  Feb 17

    @sbs2018 I would love getting feedback on the structure of this one, I am going for an old school, uplifting trance here - https://fawm.org/songs/118850/

  • @nadine Feb 17

    Just doing what feels right for this song. I like these a lot:
    (I-)V-PC-C-V-PC-B-(S)-C-C (for Pop)
    (I-)C-V-PB-C-V-PB-C-S/C (for uptempo)
    V-C-V-C-B-C-C (short)
    I-V-B-D-C-V-D-B-C-C/S-O (for 5-7min electronic music)

    But sometimes I also write some freaky stuff like

    Using following parts:
    Intro, Verse, Bridge, Pre Chorus, Chorus, Solo, Drop, Outro. I usually to the 4-8-16-32 pattern. But sometimes I love doing weird things.

    I'd like to know how prog people build their songs. I was struggling reaching more than 5 minutes without beeing to avant-garde or too repetitive.

  • @panch  Feb 17

    If the chorus is strong put it up top - a favourite trick of the Beatles e.g It won't be long, Can't buy me love, Any time at all. Remember the old adage "Don't bore us, get to the chorus"

  • @rshakesp  Feb 17

    Was interested by this as I don’t ever really think about it much just let the song go where it goes - so I did a survey of my FAWM songs so far this year:

    1. VVCVVCO
    3. VCVCO
    4. VCVCBV
    8. VVCVCV
    10. VCVBCS(M)CC

    So no precise repetition however there are themes:

    5 VVC
    4 VC
    2 VVPC

    3 S
    5 B
    3 CV only

    5 O
    4 V
    2 C

    (M for modulation)

    I clearly like to start with a verse or 2 (no strong choruses?) and actually don’t favour ending on a chorus either.

    Most of the arcs are variants on a pretty conventional ABABCB.

    Time to try something different?...

  • @ustaknow Feb 17

    We're supposed to use a structure. Wow, rules, who knew. Okey, hairs myne:

    wordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwo rdwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordword wordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordwordword and sometimes 'y'.

    Or no word's at'tall, even 😀

    I love a good:

    song too.

  • @laotranati Feb 17

    I don't usually think anything prior to writing a song, I think is the only aspect of my life in which I don't enjoy a structure. BUUUUT, I usually know that I'll have something that I really like (chorus) and some nice fillers between those parts (verses), If I'm feeling really inspired I'll try to add a bridge or something like that.

    Buuuut, I've noticed that sometimes (I haven't done that this FAWM though) I like the chorus so much, and I want to share it with the world and I can't hold it any longer so I start with the chorus. It usually goes something like:

  • @andreasb Feb 23

    I've done:

    really long instrumental intro - verse - verse - verse
    verse chorus verse chorus bridge verse chorus
    verse verse chorus verse

    The song determines the format.

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