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!

29 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!!

  • Wolfgang
    Wolfgang 6 feet under
    Helpful but "color" could be better specified

    Helpful but "color" could be better specified

  • N~~
    N~~
    This is very helpful. I've been looking for specific lyrical and musical tips with examples. Keep it up

    This is very helpful. I've been looking for specific lyrical and musical tips with examples. Keep it up

  • G.M
    G.M Nigeria
    Nice

    Nice

  • Justine
    Justine
    What the heck do we write in this 'chorus'?

    What the heck do we write in this 'chorus'?

  • MV
    MV Seattle
    Great tips. Thanks for this.

    Great tips. Thanks for this.

  • VENUS MUSIQ
    VENUS MUSIQ Jamaica
    Pretty much of a helping tips i more than understand this

    Pretty much of a helping tips i more than understand 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

  • Musw
    Musw Anambra
    Soo cool

    Soo cool

  • amine girl
    amine girl united states
    this helps alot for school projects thx

    this helps alot for school projects thx

  • Gabe
    Gabe
    Thank you this was much more helpful that other websites I looked at

    Thank you this was much more helpful that other websites I looked at

  • andyson
    andyson kenya
    this is great, keep it up

    this is great, keep it up

  • Kum
    Kum Cameroon
    Courage

    Courage

  • Kylee
    Kylee Houghton,MI
    great job thanks for the help i'm a new songwriter/singer

    great job thanks for the help i'm a new songwriter/singer

  • Yung Dave
    Yung Dave Nigeria
    I love this

    I love this

  • Jakon
    Jakon Kampala Uganda
    This is is really of Help Keep up

    This is is really of Help
    Keep up

  • Beep
    Beep USA
    Thanks for these tips!! I started songwriting a while ago and I still need some help!

    Thanks for these tips!! I started songwriting a while ago and I still need some help!

  • Fiona
    Fiona United States
    Thanks for these amazing tips!

    Thanks for these amazing tips!

  • Fiona
    Fiona United States
    Thanks for these tips!

    Thanks for these tips!

  • Boaz
    Boaz Kenya
    On dot

    On dot

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