Tips For Songwriting Part Two - Pre-Chorus, Chorus, and Outro

Author: Lynne May

PRE-CHORUS

The pre-chorus is a short part of the verse which leads the listener to the chorus. It is a short section--2 or 4 lines and immediately precedes the chorus.

The pre-chorus is an optional part of the song, but if one verse has a pre-chorus, then ALL of the verses should have one. ALL pre-choruses should have the same melody. It is acceptable for all pre-choruses to have the same lyrics.

The pre-chorus has lately become very popular in several genres of rock music, particularly alternative.

CHORUS

The chorus is the main message carrier of your song. In other words, all roads lead to the chorus. All of the choruses should have the same melody and basically the same lyrics. Often the chorus contains the main "hook" of the song, and often, this hook is the title of the song.

The importance of the hook in the chorus cannot be overstated. The hook is probably the single most important component of a commercially successful song. You can even START your writing by coming up with a good hook and building the song around it.

Granted, there are exceptions to every rule, but it makes good sense to take your guidelines from accepted music industry standards., especially if you are a beginning songwriter.

OUTRO

The Outro is, of course, the END of the song. Typically it is a chorus or a glorified chorus with added elements for intensity. The idea is to take the song out with a bang (or a whimper as the case may be). Sometimes the outro has a repeated part that just fades out at the end. Other times, it is a completely new section that ends the song on a memorable note.

INTERLUDE

An Interlude is a kind of "separate creation" within a song. It does not have to be consistent with the rest of the song--it is a separate entity. Interludes in today's rock music are almost always instrumental. The interlude has lately become a staple of metal musicians and some emo groups. The instrumentation can be different from the rest of the song--perhaps beginning with drums or drums and bass and then working in other instruments.

INSTRUMENTAL BREAK (solo)

Most songs include an Instrumental Break or Solo. This is the guitar player or keyboard player's chance to "let loose" (or it could be the bass player--or any other instrument).

The solo usually occurs after the second chorus or after the bridge. It can have the chord progression from either the verse or the chorus.

The solo can be either a marvel of musical virtuosity (common with the '60's and 70's "jam bands") or a simple tasteful musical statement. Your choice of the type of solo should depend upon the genre of music and the message that you hope to convey with the solo.

These elements and the elements in TIPS FOR SONGWRITING PART ONE can be combined in various ways to form a song. Look for my soon to come article on song form.
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