What Is a Song?

The most common definition of song is a combination of melody and lyrics. The word song itself comes from the musical term for “melody with words.” A song is typically a short piece of music, usually in the three-minute range, and it has a set structure that includes verses and a chorus. Songs also have a rhythm or beat, and some have a meter. A meter is a specific pattern of repetition, and it is used to create the structure of the song.

The songwriter’s first task is to consider the feeling of the song and find a musical structure that fits that emotion. Then they can experiment with different ways to tell the story. For example, if the song is mellow and the idea is to evoke empathy for the characters in it, a song could use all verses, or it might try out a pre-chorus. The addition of a pre-chorus helps to heighten the impact of the chorus, and it can be used to explore different chord progressions or vocal styles.

The song can also have an outro, which signals to the listener that the song is ending. The outro can be instrumental or feature vocals, and it can either slowly fadeout or come to a full stop. Choosing the right outro is important because it sets the tone for how the listener will feel when the song is done. It can make the listener want to play the song again, or it can give them a sense of closure and a resolution to their listening experience.