What Is a Song?

A song is a combination of music and lyrics. It has a melody and vocals (although some composers have written instrumental pieces that mimic the quality of a singing voice). Songs come in many forms and have been subject to change through the centuries. They can tell a story, be a celebration of an event or a remembrance of tragedy. Some are sung a cappella, while others have complex musical accompaniments.

A typical song layout includes an intro, verse, pre-chorus, and chorus. Many also have a bridge and an outro. Each has its purpose, and understanding how these sections work together can help songwriters construct their own masterpieces.

The chorus is the big payoff of a song, typically featuring massed voices and a catchy sentiment. Often, it’s the part that listeners will want to return to again and again. A pre-chorus is an optional song section that acts as a spacer between the verse and the chorus, and can build suspense or anticipation.

Art songs are a type of classical music that may be accompanied or not by an instrument, but they usually feature a simple strophic form and a melody that is wide-ranging or complex. Many art songs are revered as an important element of a country’s national identity.