Tips For Songwriting Part One - Intro, Verse, And Bridge

Author: Lynne May

INTRO

The Intro (introduction) is the first thing your listener will hear. It should be catchy and interesting. It might consist of chords from the CHORUS and an interesting guitar or keyboard lick. The reasoning behind making the chords the same as the CHORUS is that when the listener hears the chorus, it will sound familiar. People like things that are familiar.

The catchy little intro "lick" should be something that the listener will remember. Ideally, as soon as someone hears this lick, they will be able to identify the song. Think of the intro to "Smoke on the Water" or "Dream On". A good intro lick will become your song's "calling card".

This catchy lick is called a "hook", meaning that it "hooks" the ear of the listener. A hook is usually repeated at some time during the song and may be a line of lyric as well as a musical lick or riff. Many songs have more than one hook.

VERSE

The verse is the main building-block of a song. Verses are responsible for developing your idea and keeping your listeners interested. Each verse should take your idea to a different level or place. Each verse should describe a new aspect of your central theme (presented in the Chorus).

All verses should have the same basic melody and different lyrics. Small variations in the melody to accommodate the lyrics are acceptable.

The first verse is probably the most important. It should make your listeners feel that they can relate to the message--like the song could almost be about THEM. It also must stir some kind of emotion that makes your listener want to hear the rest of the song.

How long is a verse? Usually eight bars, sometimes twelve or sixteen--most of the time in multiples of four--but NOT ALWAYS. Listen to some of your favorite songs and notice the structure and length of the verses.

BRIDGE

The Bridge is a separate section of a song which acts as a break from the rest of the song. It provides a different perspective on your subject or adds a new dimension. The bridge usually occurs between two choruses, and should add a new level or perspective after the first chorus while leading the listener to the second chorus, on which the listener will now have a new "angle".

The bridge must remain consistent with the rest of the song--it must be about the same basic theme, but with a new "twist". The bridge is usually eight measures long. but could be longer.

You might make the bridge stand out by using chords that you haven't used before. You also might change the rhythm.

The next lesson cover the remaining components of a song: Pre- Chorus, Chorus, and Outro. It also includes a discussion of instrumental breaks and interludes.