Disclaimer: I don’t have any cuts or any songs recorded, these are just my views and my tips on the different aspects of Songwriting
Below are the basic components of a song (not musical components). You might see all the comonents in a song, or just a number of only verses make up a song. Understanding the Hook (which I might write another page on itself) is one of the key components to a song. Write a great hook and your song should get noticed and remembered!
Not all songs have an intro, however it can be a component of a song. As the name suggests which serves it’s an ‘Introduction’ to the song. Usually it will different from the verses, musically and by rhyme (if it was the same musically and rhyming as the verse it would be another verse!)and might only be a couple of lines. The intro can be used to set the scene for the rests of the song.
The verse is the driving force behind a song. It’s the parts of the song which tells the story (which is what most songs do). It usually has the same rhyme structure and syllable count between verses.
The Chorus is usually the repeated in whole (or similar incarnations of it) during the song. It drives the message home of what the song is about. I’ve heard some people describe it as the point you get up to and say ‘And that is why….’, and in answering that you can write the chorus and tell the audience the message you are wanting to get across in the song. Usually no new information is presented in the chorus. Most choruses have either the same amount of lines as the verse or are shorter. Most times the title of the song will appear in the chorus.
The Pre Chorus isn’t a ‘verse’ and isn’t a ‘chorus’. It is used as a lift or a step in to the Chorus, it can remain the same each time or be slightly different, representing the position or time line of the song. Like the intro, you don’t see this in every song, but it can be a powerful when used right.
Bridge / Middle 8
The bridge or the ‘middle 8’ as it has been called, can be used to add a twist or to ‘wrap up’ what you are trying to say in the song. It usually has a different chord progression and melody (and possibly rhyme structure) from the verses and chorus.
Solo / Interlude
Not a lyrical part of the song, however adding a solo can add emotion to the song (or just give the listener a break from singing). An interlude can be used to between different parts of songs or it has been used by some artists to make the song pass through time.
The ‘hook’ is another subject all to itself. Whist a songwriter/performer wants the listener to remember the entire song, they won’t. The hook is what you want to get stuck in the listeners head so they will want to listen to your song again (and again and again etc..). A hook can be musical or lyrical (I can’t think of any sound effects that have become hooks).
The first musical hook that came to my mind is the one from ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. When you hear the opening ‘guitar riff’ you KNOW what song it is. (It’s even been used in a Kid Rock song recently which had a line featuring the name of the song, and has indirectly become a hook in that song as well).
Lyrically, the hook can appear a number of times during the song (to enforce it), and by using repetition you can ensure that the audience remembers it. When thinking of an example of a lyrical hook the first one that came to mind was ‘Sha nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah la da ti da’… Brown Eyed Girl. Or more recently from the country duo Sugarland’s ‘All I want to do wo wo wo wo wo wo wo wo wo wo wo wo wooo’ (repeated twice in the chorus). Whilst some hooks can almost become annoying it can also etch itself in the listener’s brain.