There are various forms of songwriting and it is mostly referred to as 6 famous forms or shapes of songwriting for making your music popular as these guys are the template to your success doesn’t matter if you are a composer, lyricist or even a producer it will all still be applied to your workflow as a standard and logical structure. For obvious reasons some of them are not working for today’s needs anymore and throughout the years they have been abandoned based on the audience demands and their expectations.
These forms and structures have been created based on specific rules that have the best harmony with the human animal brain and they have been formed based on the expectation of the listeners as they set the stage with the needed material and they create an expectation you were looking for and finally they fulfill it with what you want to hear coming out of your speakers.
They also best fit the commercial needs of the market length-wise, concept-wise and structure-wise. We are not going to be discussing all of the 6 forms in details but mostly this passage is about introducing them and make you familiar with the standards of this job, so if you think you have the talent this passage will help you a lot to walk in the right path of demystified facts.
1st Form: This form is not used anymore and it was mostly created for the musical theater needs where you used to create a preamble that tells you all about the rest of the song. You create this preamble (as a reason) and for the rest of the song you talk about the change you want to make based on that reason.
2nd Form: it almost suits most of the genres on the market taken from folk, dance, rock, country, hip hop and etc. it is only a combination between verse and chorus and it can be as many as verse/choruses as you want. Maybe the song hallelujah by legendry Leonard Cohen can be categorized under this marvelous form. Here’s the structure,
Verse-1 / Chorus / Verse-2 / Chorus / ……… / Instrumental / Chorus & Out.
3rd Form: Is an awesome form where you add a part called by many different names in different countries but the most used ones are Bridge (in America) / Middle-Aid (in Britain) / Passage (Globally) which adds another dimension to the song where you create a “what if clause” after your second chorus. saying the what if clause it doesn’t mean it always have to be “what if”, but the main concept of adding this part is to create that other dimension to your song and even most of the times you can somehow use this part as the “conclusion” part of your song or it can provoke a question in the listener’s mind or it can also add the information that were not previously added to the song throughout the verses and choruses, but you got to be mindful of setting the conclusion or the what if clause or all of the other information a way that goes along with the concept of your chorus, because you won’t usually change your chorus drastically in a song, “Katy Perry – this is a part of me” is the best example of this form. In this structure and the next one you can have two verses in the first part of the song before the chorus comes in; it is optional and based on you. Here is the structure (here we are going to use the name Passage for the added part as it is more sensible musically),
Verse-1 / Chorus / Verse-2 / Chorus / Passage / Chorus & Out.
Verse-1 & Verse-2 / Chorus / Verse-3 / Chorus / Passage / Chorus & Out.
4th Form: This by far is one of the most successful and the most complete forms of songwriting. It is very close to the third form except there will be another part added to this form before each chorus. Again it is called with various names in different countries but the most used ones are Pre-Chorus (in America) / Bridge (in Britain) / Lift / Climb or Channel. The reason why it is called a lift is because it lifts you melodically and even somehow conceptually into the chorus this is where you usually use “But, If, And, So, Maybe & etc” as multiple functions and it creates tension as it leads you into the chorus of the song and somehow makes your mind prepared for the thing which is about to come My song “Do You” is written in this form but I also have added a hook before each verse which makes it easy for the listener to remember the song by something (da ra rab da ra rab..). Here’s the structure (here we are going to use the name Bridge for the added part as it is more sensible musically),
Verse-1 / Bridge / Chorus / Verse-2 / Bridge / Chorus / Passage / Chorus & Out.
Verse-1 & Verse-2 / Bridge / Chorus / Verse-3 / Bridge / Chorus / Passage / Chorus & Out.
5th Form: this one is the famous old form mostly referred to as A-A-B-A where there is no chorus in this structure. This form is really deceptively easy but at the same time it is very hard to write in. Even though it is incredibly great but I tend to stay away from this form until I can completely feel it musically. There is a mathematical sense of time passage that’s essential for this form. You have to be consistent about what you have started the song with and the last verse that you are going to finish your song with in this form where you created an expectation and you have to be consistent about that creation. Like when you are trying to admire her beauty in your first verse, you have to stick to that concept and you can’t finish the song with getting apart or finish it with a negative vibe about what you have already provided you listeners with. Here’s the structure,
Verse-1 (in the beginning why I loved you) A / Verse-2 (now that I’m with you I see why I love you) A / Bridge (what if I never met you how could I feel love) B / Verse-3 (when I get old and gray I know I will still love you) A
6th Form: this form is the most suitable form for dance genre and it has been designed to fulfill that function, not many hit records are written into this form but they are designed to make you stand up and dance as they start with the chorus part where most of the energy of the song is and it only has one verse. Kylie Minogue has so many songs written in this form.
Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Musical Interlude / Passage / Chorus & Out.
NOTE: There are some little things you may consider when writing lyrics if you are willing to share them with me and they are only true for what I’m doing as someone who is tending to write and produce his songs for the pop music market and they are no facts by any means and they will only apply to what I’m tending to do.
1. Always be positive and don’t forget about the sense of irony when you were trying to be preachy.
2. In your verse focus on setting the stage and creating expectations but on the chorus fulfill those created expectations.
3. Always surprise your audience by the way you are going to tell your story and let them loose themselves in your stories but find the shortest ways to tell the deepest concepts and the shortest approaches to picture them the widest images.
4. Always use “You” and “I” instead of He and She (unless you were tending to say something negative) and invite me in your stories right away by using you and I, it makes me feel invited.
5. The singer is the hero of your story and he never is a looser or old. He is always young and proud and positive but if you were tending to talk about oldness start it with when I get old or if I was old, this way you are always young, positive and wanted.
6. Use details and write your stories vividly, this will help you invite the listener in. being spiritual is good but that is untouchable for most of your audience that are listening to your words as an entertainer. Give them something to believe and touchable rather than something untouchable and unearthly up from the sky above.
7. Always write the second verse first, as that is the main idea your whole story has started with and by saying the whole story in the first verse you have spoiled the ending for your audience. So when the idea came to your mind know that it is going to be explored in my second verse.
8. Don’t ever let the truth comes in the way of a beautiful story. In your stories you are the creator and you are the god, so let the story goes the way you want it to.
9. And last but not least, BE CREATIVE.
Hope this little passage helps you make a great career as they helped me to find my way.