About the writer
Mylène Besançon is the co-founder of Tunedly, a cutting edge music production and publishing designed for the serious songwriter.
Writing A Chorus
When looking at the meaning of the word Chorus in the Oxford Dictionary by no means does it emphasize the difficulty of the task, the definition is minute in comparison to this mammoth task. Chorus defined as: “A part of a song which is repeated after each verse.”
Sounds so simple, but what is it about a Chorus that makes it so difficult? Sometimes, you must make sure to move from the verse into the pre-chorus (a two or four line section) and then into the chorus. The pre-chorus is crafted to propel the listener, both lyrically and melodically, into the chorus.
The chorus is the “catchy phrase” if you like, this is the section which will have your listeners mimic your song, fall in love with your words, and buy your music. So, how to do you get your choruses to really rock out for you?
Sometimes the Chorus will come naturally, sometimes it is elusive, oftentimes it gets lost in the other sections. The chorus is usually the focal point of your song and for that reason it’s crucial to make it stand out from the rest of your song.
Whatever the reason that you might be having trouble in writing a chorus, here is some help to get that Chorus identified in your master piece:
• Make your chorus melody memorable, make the lyrics of your chorus the catchiest part of your song, try for example flipping the chords or notes around, throw in a couple of chords or notes you did not use in your verse.
• One of the best ways to create your chorus is to intentionally try to keep it different from the verse and bridge. Give your chords / notes a new dimension. Use a different rhythm or pattern. You can think of the chorus as the heart of what your song is all about. Polish it.
• A very common and effective technique in many hit songs is to take the main vocal part higher than the rest of the song.
• Make your chorus happy, playful, sad… Adapt the emotion with the state of mind of your song. Don’t forget that a song’s chorus is more memorable if it is emotionally moving.
• A combination of musical and lyrical techniques will make your chorus work for you.
• Merely changing the length of your notes in your chorus can make it distinct, working on something exactly opposite to the verse can make it work.
• Give your chorus a different colour by using for example longer sustained notes.
• A technique which is often overlooked is when your verse starts on a down beat, then start your chorus on an up beat.
• Record your work and put it aside for a few days. Then listen again. If your new melody makes it through, chances are you hit it right.
While having the same chords or notes for both the verses and your chorus might work well, it has the tenacity to get tedious. With a catchy chorus it will always make the song easy to remember.