I thought I would share a question that came in the other day:
I have a question. During my song writing I usually can write verses and bridges to songs (this includes melody for voice and chords for guitar) fairly easily, but the one aspect of writing that always stumps me is writing a good chorus. Since this is the most catchy part of a tune, I would like some feedback/advice as to how do write good choruses. Thanks for your time. - Craig
As already pointed out, a chorus is the most catchy part of a song. It’s probably the part that most of your listenters will latch on to, and sing in their minds - sometimes endlessly, to a point of absolute annoyance (we’ve all been there in our minds).
Surely enough, if this can be achieved, this is a good sign.
A good chorus can be broken down to a piece of melody which sounds good enough repeat many times over. Commonly, many great ‘hooks’ in history have been written this way. For example, if you listen to Aerosmith’s ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’, the chorus is one line that is repeated over twice. They use the same melody - and the hook line, ‘I Don’t Want Miss A Thing’ is also sung at the end of both lines.
Take another example, Tina Turner’s ‘Simply The Best’. The line is repeated at least three times in the chorus, each with a different chord behind the melody. Sounds simple, (excuse the pun) and you’d be right, it is! But it works like a treat. Remember, the genre of music isn’t important here. You can integrate this system is whatever type of music you write in.
Most songs follow this system. Why? Because it works. Billie Jean, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Purple Rain …all the songs that are coming into my mind at this precise point have this system in place. Your job is to take it and integrate it in your song. Remember, a melody worth repeating twice can be a chorus, and can be subtly repositioned with a different chord in the background. This causes a tiny mood change depending on what your song is about.
One other thing to point out is that many writers I know actually start off with writing a chorus, and then build the song around that. This works very well too. I know that it’s not always easy doing this, but if you can, I think you’ll find other elements will fall into place.
This is especially true for lyrical purposes. How? Well, breaking down the chorus into more details can easily be the bases for the verse and/or bridge .
Lastly, I’d just say this. A chorus will never be as good or as bad as you may think. You can only write it, sing it over our loud a few times and check out in your gut if you resonate with it. You may write a great chorus now only to find out that the next chorus for your new song that you write may be even better. Edit, modify, tweak, and move on.