9 Secrets to Writing a Great Chorus

 One of the main tools in your songwriting arsenal is the almighty Chorus. Sometimes it comes naturally, sometimes it is elusive. Oftentimes, it gets lost in the other sections and needs a way to stand apart. Here are nine unabashed ways to make a chorus sound more like a chorus.

Use your hook at the beginning AND end of the chorus. Bookending it gives the listener a chance to hear it again and makes it clear that it’s important.

Place a solid I (one) chord at the beginning. Example: if you are in the key of C, give us a nice big C chord (or A minor) for that sense of arrival that marks a chorus. Bookend it for a classic chorus, or make it the second chord, but the ear wants it in there somewhere, especially at the start of the section. Avoid it, and your song will sound like it’s in a constant state of transition.

Write big sweeping melodies (wide intervals, long tones) or short rhythms. Whatever you have in your verse, make it the opposite in the chorus--and make it extreme. These are often the most memorable.

Change the feel. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as Alex Clare going into dubstep in “Too Close”. No Doubt did it in Sunday Morning to smokin' effect going from half-time reggae to four-on-the-floor(ish).

Keep the chorus's melody in a different range to differentiate it even more. Typically the chorus is higher in pitch, but not always.

Get vague. The time for lyrical specifics is usually in your verses. Let your choruses generalize/label, say how you feel, or have a catch phrase that will mesh with your entire song.

Add a pre-chorus or transitional bridge. Taking a few bars before the chorus to set up the change can make all the difference in defining your sections. (There are lots of ways to use this section, including making phrases twice as long or twice as short to highlight that something different is coming, especially if your chorus is similar to your verses.)

Color. This one is a little trickier but, if you can manage it, adds extra finesse to your lyrics. Create line in your chorus which, when repeated after each verse, takes on a new meaning. This is advanced stuff!

And finally...

Know when you need a chorus. Sometimes, when you have a rocking verse, all you need is a refrain (a short hook that gets tacked on like "Come Together right now over me"). Sometimes the song calls for AABA and all you need is a bridge.

Serve the song and she will serve you. Happy writing!

13 comments

  • Empror2015@gmail.com

    Empror2015@gmail.com

    I wanna knw deferent hip hop raper love somg

    I wanna knw deferent hip hop raper love somg

  • Empror2015@gmail.com

    Empror2015@gmail.com abuja bwari

    is a good tin dont lol If I dont understand u can let me knw am a new artist

    is a good tin dont lol If I dont understand u can let me knw am a new artist

  • marvelous

    marvelous new castle

    Cool one

    Cool one

  • TylerY538383

    TylerY538383 California

    Nice this helped me out alot

    Nice this helped me out alot

  • Stephen

    Stephen California

    Great list!

    Great list!

  • jisaan

    jisaan india

    It's pretty helpful

    It's pretty helpful

  • Jesse

    Jesse San Francisco CA

    Tight!

    Tight!

  • Sally

    Sally England

    This helped a little but next time you Could add key features of a chorus

    This helped a little but next time you Could add key features of a chorus

  • Ronny Vargas

    Ronny Vargas Boston

    Nice list, very helpful!!

    Nice list, very helpful!!

  • G.M

    G.M Nigeria

    Nice

    Nice

  • MV

    MV Seattle

    Great tips. Thanks for this.

    Great tips. Thanks for this.

  • rapmil

    rapmil atlanta

    Great article! For hip-hop, what are your thoughts on using 2 different choruses? Is that considered taboo... Supposing that the song is a storyline, so the first chorus picks up where the 1st verse ends. And the second chorus picks up where the second verse concludes (as far as the story plot goes).

    Great article! For hip-hop, what are your thoughts on using 2 different choruses? Is that considered taboo... Supposing that the song is a storyline, so the first chorus picks up where the 1st verse ends. And the second chorus picks up where the second verse concludes (as far as the story plot goes).

  • reanna

    reanna canda

    this sucked it did not helped at all because I knew all this all ready

    this sucked it did not helped at all because I knew all this all ready

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