The most powerful part of any song is its chorus. A chorus can be in your face or it can be subtle. A poorly written chorus will get lost in the overall song.Therefore it is important to craft a great chorus that stand out in the song you are writing. Here are some ideas on how to write a great song chorus.
1. Bookend the Hook
You need a hook in your chorus. To make it more memorable, place the hook and the start and end of the chorus. This technique is called “book ending”. “Book ending” provides the listener repeated exposure to the main hook. In turn, they have a clear understanding of the key idea of the song.
2. Avoid Being Too Specific
The verse main design is to provide details in your song lyrics. The chorus is a summary of the verse. Therefore they need to be general in content.
3. Change Up the Melody
Create a melody using wider intervals and longer notes. Do the opposite of the verse and make the difference extreme. This contrast in melody makes the chorus more memorable.
4. Make the Feel and Mood Different
This can be accomplished though harmony. Try going from a minor feel to a major feel. Or change up the rhythmic feel from quick to slow.
5. Employ the Tonic Chord
The tonic is the first chord of the harmonic scale. If your song is in the key of G, the first chord of the chorus is G. An alternative is to use the relative minor. In this case that would be Em. Not only start the chorus with the tonic chord but also end the chorus with the same chord. The tonic is the most stable of all the chords. It is a sound that feels like home. Failure to include the tonic in the chorus will make the song feel like it is in a continual state of transition. The tonic chord provides the feeling of rest and completion.
6. Include Contrast
The chorus melody needs to be in a different note range from the verse. The best way to do this is to make the pitch range higher. Going higher will add energy to the chorus.
7. Write a Pre-Chorus
To help move to the chorus consider adding a pre-chorus. The pre-chorus helps set up the chorus. It acts as a bridge that builds momentum to the chorus. Make this section only a few bars at most. It will help transition from one section to the next. It is optional and may not work in every situation.
8. Add Some Flavor to the Chorus
By adding some finesse to the lyrics you can create a special flavor to the song. This can be accomplished by repeating a line in the chorus but when it is repeated offers a different meaning to the words. It can be tricky to do but will add extra flavor to a song.
9. Know When a Chorus Is Needed
As you learn more about song forms, you may realize that the song needs a refrain instead of a full chorus. A refrain is a single line that is repeated at the end of each verse in the song. This song form is the AABA form where the B section is the bridge.
So there you have it. You have just learned nine different things you can do to write a great song chorus. Take each of these suggestions and apply them the next time you sit down and write a song.