Your first verse stirs the crowd’s interest as tension builds. You raise your plectrum at the ready, strike your guitar and release a chorus so powerful it lifts the entire room with it.
Wouldn’t that be fantastic?
Before that happens though you need some solid songwriting tips to learn how to write a chorus.
These songwriting tips aims to make sure every song you write from here on out has that ability, and you understand the fine points around its success.
What do you sing in the shower? Is it the rhythm, beat, or the melody? The melody is the part that gets stuck in people’s heads and stays with you for days.
A functioning melody that contains hooks, the catchy movements between the notes, should be the focal point of creating a fantastic chorus. A poor melody will disrupt the entire song.
You can change the placement of the drum fills, and even the chords you play underneath it, but if you have a poor melody, it will never be your music that emanates from the worlds showers.
Follow these steps to find a chorus that fits your song.
- Find the last note of your melody in your verse. Go up a major third from this note (C to E).
- Tap out a different rhythm to that of your verse. Add other notes around your major third note. Make sure you repeat the first line of your melody at least once.
- When you compare your chorus with your verse, check that they are suitably different. If they are similar, do they compliment each other? Tweak individual notes and try different rhythms until you are satisfied.
- The sign of a winner is something that you are still humming the next day. Sleep on it, and then play it again to see if the magic has stuck around.
You should now have a melody with a clear change that delineates the change from verse to chorus. However, the dynamics of your song can be used to emphasis this change to powerful effect.
The shift from a quiet verse to a loud chorus in ‘smells like teen spirit’ is a clear example.
You can also think of other dynamic shifts such as creating a change in tempo or style (scaccato, legato etc) that build tension before the shift to the chorus.
Further tips on contrasting your verse and chorus come from this Berklee Professor.
The video demonstrates how you can build tension before releasing it in a satisfying way for your listeners. By alternating from diminished chords in the verse, and changing to the major and minor versions in the chorus, you can make a seemingly dry old professor nod along happily to a funky song.
Try them out in your next composition and the crowd will be yours.
Guest Post: Thomas Siddle is a musician, and music industry blogger for BIMM: Brighton Institute of Modern Music.