A true blue music enthusiast identifies and cherishes the joy one attains when listening to any kind of music. Our day-to-day chores are often accompanied by the musical sound of our favorite songs. It possesses the ability to make us feel almost any type of emotion, be it the feeling of utter excitement or surreal calmness or reliving melancholy. The universal language of music creates a link between the worlds. It breaks the shackles created by language barriers and fashions, an enlivening experience for anyone who partakes. A song is the mind of music; chorus and verses make the body of a song.
A verse of a song counts as a vital part of the construction of the structure of a song. The genre of the song determines the length of the verse. It paves the way for the commencement of the narrative the artist attempts to achieve. As the audience partakes in listening to the song, the words in the verse provide more depth and a profound understanding of the song. A song’s chorus is repetitive, unlike a verse, which is the primary difference between the two. Verses act like the bridge that leads up to the chorus. Verses comprise of different lyrics for each repetition, but the melody remains consistent. However, a song may have the same verse throughout as well. It plays the crucial role of accessorizing a song with purpose, without which the experience of a song remains incomplete. A well-written verse also supports the theme of a song. The intricate assemblage of the words allows us to relate to the story portrayed by the piece. It raises anticipation for a listener and provides a necessary contrast to the chorus. With the help of lyrics, it successfully narrates the main story of the song.
How to write a verse?
Every once in a while, we come across a song that speaks to our soul and impacts us. Every song has a story to tell to its listener. The power of music is no stranger to the hearts of the people. It is an escape from the monotonous routine for several everyday hustlers. The feeling of listening to music while you do your chores gives you the energy needed to get things done, the sound of your favorite song playing. At the same time, you reminisce about the good old days, playing the favorite classic playlist in the kitchen. At the same time, you cook your favorite meal, that song that gets you pumped up for your workout, your wedding song that still brings tears to your eyes watching your baby smile as you hum the first song you ever played for him; these and several other small joyful moments are the gifts of music.
The perfect courtship is that of marrying the perfect lyrics to the most soulful melodies. When a listener relates to the story, a song expresses the narrative is considered a successful one. Most song narratives develop in verse. An impressive verse is the backbone of an attractive chorus. A verse is the listener’s first hello when they meet a song. The first verse is what the listener hears first; therefore, the need to make it simple yet likable. This also ensures a greater capacity to showcase creativity in the chorus and other verses. In such a case, the songwriter is left with a ton of room to develop the dynamics for the rest of the song. The second and third verse consists of exclusively different lyrics that help the listener understand and paint a bigger picture. The instrumental patterns of the song add subtle changes that gradually intensify, adding to the splendor of the song. The appeal of the verses contributes to the depth of the song and builds the song up.
Examples of a verse
For a better understanding of a concept, one must look at some examples.
Here are a few provided for your help:
A simple structure of a song uses only a verse. Let’s take an example of the famous song “Careless Whisper” by George Michael. The classic features two simple four-line verses. The first is as follows:
“I feel so unsure
As I take your hand and lead you to the dance floor
As the music dies, something in your eyes
Calls to mind a silver screen and all its sad goodbyes”.
The words express simplicity and admiration in a concise and wholesome form.
A different type of structure uses a refrain at the end of each verse.
A refrain is a repeated phrase in a song that comes at the end of the verse.
Let’s take an example of the adored song “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. The first verse is as follows:
“I see trees of green
Red roses too
I see them bloom
For you and me
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.”
The verses accentuate the beauty of the song, and each one ends with the phrase, ‘And I think to myself what a wonderful world’ that emphasizes the main point. Hence the use of a refrain for better understanding ensures maximum likeability.
Song Structure: How to teach verse into a song?
The art of songwriting does not come naturally to one. To master the same, it is important to escape inhibitions and give in to creative capabilities. The universally known and accepted truth is that the only rule in songwriting is no rule. It only takes the promise of trying to order the different parts of the song and find the right structure. The basic fragments of a song are as follows:
The intro is the introduction to the song. It delivers the first impression when you have presented the song. The verse gives the listener an idea of what the song is about. The verse of a song acts as the storyteller of the narrative.
The chorus conveys the most memorable melody of the song. In addition, it releases the musical tension created by the verse.
The bridge adds an element of surprise. It usually is placed by the end of the song just before the outro to break the pattern of repetitiveness.
The outro is the end of a song.
The verse in assembly
The most frequently used song structures in modern music:
Those mentioned above are the most commonly used structure in the making of a song. The VCVC above structure is prevalent in most of the present popular songs.
The song mentioned above structure delivers an element of surprise by the addition of a bridge. It also adds gravitas to the theme and angle of the main story.
Verse-Pre Chorus-Chorus-Verse-Pre Chorus-Chorus
The pre-chorus gives the listener an idea of what to expect in the chorus. It acts like the bridge that leads to the song’s main chorus, which makes the mandatory use of a bridge optional.
This structure isn’t used as commonly as the others. However, the use of a refrain is present in the mentioned song structure. In such a case of repetition, one has to make the melody interesting and beguiling.
How to find the right structure for a song?
To start finding the perfect fit of the right song structure, one must establish the feeling of the song. The emotion wants to express and the atmosphere it aims to create. The goal is to make a song that is the source of a feeling in the listener’s mind. Based on the emotion associated with the song, the structure can be decided. For example:
- The Verse-Verse structure with an insightful refrain is ideal if the song manifests mellow and soothing energy.
- If it’s an epic song, the verse-chorus structure form accompanied by a bridge can work wonders.
- To make a song that exhibits extravagance, opt for the Verse-Pre Chorus-Chorus with a bridge.
Fundamentals of writing a verse
Let’s get into a few things to remember when curating your verses.
- Do not stray further from the home key.
The creativity of a song begins with establishing the musical key you intend on singing in. Hence, it is ideal for writing a verse with the chord progression revolving around the chosen key. By doing this, the songwriter can ensure the narration of the story to be clear and effective.
- Narrate a story.
The words in your verses are the storytellers of your work. The articulation of the verses takes the narrative forward. The goal is to ensure a grip on the listeners by captivating their interest. The chorus of the song emphasizes the main story; use it to your advantage.
- Implement rhyme schemes.
Decorate your verses with powerful rhyme schemes. Rhyme schemes are the systematic pattern of rhymes after the lines in a verse. For example, lyrics that rhyme at the last word of each stanza denote the ABAB rhyme scheme.
- Use dynamics.
To achieve the ultimate quality when creating your verses, dynamics is ideal—inserting available elements when layering can make your verses optimum.
By thoroughly understanding the elements of songwriting, you can master the art of creating great songs that speak to the audience and tell a story. The greatest achievement for an artist is when the listener relates to his work and appreciates the art. Writing great songs that are moving and memorable is one such achievement.
- Should one start with verse writing or music?
The choice between the two can be completely subjective—different strokes for different folks. Suppose an individual already has an idea of what he wishes to write about. In that case, he can start writing verses before starting with the music. You can try doing both simultaneously or one before the other and compare the experience based on productivity. Make notes of your practice and identify your weaknesses, try to work on them, learn your strengths, and use them to your advantage.
- Should one write the verse or chorus first?
The process of songwriting is different for every individual. However, the artistic journey that results in the finest outcome is the one recommended. For example, suppose the inspiration dwells from a specific incident or occurrence or source of inspiration is one precise idea. In that case, you should consider writing the verses first and then craft a chorus that brings emphasis to the main story. On the contrary, if the inspiration is general or the source is one big generic idea, it may be best to start with the chorus and later head towards the verse to elaborate and back up the idea.
- Does co-writing a verse affect its quality?
For an amateur songwriter co-writing can prove to be extremely beneficial. If you believe in the capabilities of your solo effort, practicing co-writing can maximize the excellence of the output. Similarly, collaborating with a professional writer can prove to be very helpful for an aspiring writer. The knowledge about new and different approaches and methodologies can boost the confidence of an aspiring writer. It can help him reach his full potential, which can eventually help with the songwriting process. Co-writing can also make the process a little less stressful considering the shared responsibilities.
- How long does the process take?
Inspiration strikes at the oddest of hours. Being able to bring your thoughts into creativity can take a few minutes or days on end. The process requires focus and attention to detail every step of the way to see it through all the way to fruition.
Occasionally an individual may experience writer’s block; it can take weeks, days, or even years to overcome this plateau. However, an individual with a clear idea of his project can take a considerate amount of time to reach a satisfactory outcome.
*assignment submitted by Ms. Simran Rosario*