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We’ve all heard the terms Verse, Chorus and Bridge. But what exactly does that mean? Which order should they be in? All of this falls into the topic of song form. In this post you’ll learn how to organize the various parts of a song into a finished tune. Learn to build energy and create contrast by mixing and matching various chord progressions, rhythms and more.

Elements of a song form

The form is the overall structure of a song. It entails all of the sections and informs what part happens when! A short hand description of a tune might sound something like this: intro, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, and outro. But really it could be any combination of parts. Let’s begin defining those parts!


An intro can be something as simple as strumming one chord, it could be a drum beat, or even an isolated vocal. It can set the tone for the song and establish the tempo, key, and feel. Maybe it’s one time through the chord progression or just a short instrumental version of the melody that’s about to be sung. Also, maybe you don’t need an intro and want to jump right into the verse or chorus.


the verse is typically the first appearance of the vocal. (This isn’t always the case as we’ll later discuss) if the song is telling a story it gives you the set up, The Who, what,when, where, and why. I like to think of it as the set up for the big payoff that comes in the chorus. Musically speaking it’s usually more subtle than the chorus with smaller intervalic movements and less intensity in general. It’s typically arranged in groups of four and could be anywhere from 8 to 24 measures.

Pre chorus:

Not every song has a pre chorus but if your verse and chorus are drastically different feeling it can bridge the gap nicely. I think of it as a chance to build upon the melodic ideas of the verse and add a layer of intensity that takes you to the chorus.


The chorus is usually the big payoff. The hook. The moment the whole song has been building towards! it’s often the most memorable and sing along able part of the song. Most song writers save their best lyrical and melodic ideas for the chorus. If you’ve got an idea that keeps getting stuck in your head that might make for a good chorus! It’s quite common that a word or phrase from the chorus becomes the title of the song!


Also called the “middle 8” the bridge is a place in the song(most often after the second chorus) where you have the chance to take it somewhere new and unexpected. Not every song has a bridge so you certainly don’t have to force one if you’re not feeling it. But if you written a nice verse and chorus but still have more to say lyrically or musically a bridge could be a great outlet. It often contrasts the rest of the song, if your song is in a major key maybe try some minor chords on the bridge or vice versa. Maybe change the tempo, speed up or slow down. Maybe it’s completely instrumental like a solo or a dynamic build up into the last chorus. There’s a lot of room to get creative with the bridge so you’ll have to experiment with different ideas to find one that really works!

Want to learn more?