Parts of a Song


A song is a combination of melody and lyrics. The melodies and words are protected by copyright. Often a singer will have one or the other, but not both. Songs may be commercially produced by groups or individuals to make money. They may also be folk songs or religious or ethnic music. In the western musical tradition songs are often structured into an intro, verse, chorus and bridge (or outro). A bridge is a section of a song that changes the music from what is in the verse and chorus. It might start on a different chord or have a completely new lyric. A songwriter will use the time they spend listening to other musicians’ songs to develop an awareness of these common parts of a song.

Listening to your audience is important when writing a song. What do they want to hear? How do they feel? What emotions do they have to connect to your song? These questions help you build the story you will write into your song.

The lyric is the emotional heart of a song. It is the part of the song that will be remembered most. A good lyric will have simple, memorable words that are meaningful and emotional. Too many complicated words will confuse your fans. They will get so caught up in thinking about the lyric they will forget your song.

A great songwriter will place the song above their own personal preference or taste. This is especially true in co-writes. Too many times a writer will be so in love with their “sacred cow” line that they won’t let go of it, even if it makes the song weaker.