Develop a Verse from a Chorus

My Song Coach

Q: How do I develop a verse from a chorus and how do I to create a strong transition between sections?

A: For writing a verse based on a chorus, think “contrast.” If the chorus is in a high note range, try a verse melody in a low note range. If the chorus melody has a smooth flow, try a choppy verse with lots of words. For lyrics, use your song’s title/chorus to guide you. Tell listeners more about the emotions or situation. Imagine the questions that a listener might have. Why does the singer feel this way? What happened to create this situation? What does the singer think will happen next?

TRANSITIONS:

=> Chord changes are a big factor in transitions between sections. Too often we fall back on old habits, using the same transition chords over and over. Make your transitions surprising and fresh. Instead of going to the usual turnaround V chord, go to the chorus from the chord before.

=> Try going to the chorus sooner than expected. Jump into the chorus from the middle of the line just before it or make the last words of the verse, the first words in the chorus.

=> Use a big leap upward in the melody to grab attention and create emotional urgency.

=> Try an interesting rhythm pattern in the melody – create a short melodic phrase with an interesting rhythm, then repeat it.

Here are more ideas on rewriting a melody.

The best way to get ideas for transitions is to study current hit songs. You’ll hear chorus melodies that start with a big leap upwards, or start early to surprise the listener, or use a one-line pre-chorus to delay the beginning of the chorus but still keep the listener involved. There are TONS of great ideas. Don’t steal… Adapt! 🙂

Author: Robin Frederick

Robin Frederick is the author of Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting and Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV. She has written and produced more than 500 songs for television, records, theater, and audio products. She is a former Director of A&R for Rhino Records and Executive Producer of 60 albums. Visit Robin's websites for more songwriting tips and inspiration: www.RobinFrederick.com and www.MySongCoach.com.