Songwriting

5 Things That Make A Chorus Better

by Marty Dodson
Nov 28, 2016

The chorus is often the most important part of a song.  It’s the piece that (hopefully) people will be walking around singing for years to come.  So, spending a little extra learning to write a better chorus will pay huge dividends.  Here are some things I always try to keep in mind.

Make the chorus melody rise melodically above the verse melody.

The melody needs to stand out.  The more you can make it stand out, the better off you will be unless you make it so rangy that it is too hard for a singer to sing.

Focus on your hook (title).

The more the chorus “writes to the hook”, the better your it will be.  Make sure that every line and every idea in the chorus points at your title.  Often, I find rhyming lines that are off-topic.  They wound up in the song just because they rhymed. Focus on the main idea of your song throughout the chorus and your chorus will be better every time.

Repeat your hook.

It’s not often that I see a hook used too many times in a chorus.  I just got a song recorded by a major artist and the song ONLY says the hook in the chorus.  4 times!  Repeating your hook drives home the big idea of the song.  Think back to “Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive…”  Repetition is your friend.

When writing a better chorus make sure it’s something that bears repeating.

Most of the time, the chorus section of a song is repeated at least three times.  So, you have to figure out three ways to get back into that chorus. Make sure yours is easy to set up a second or third time. Song Building is a great book to show you how to pace your ideas and build a song with an emotional impact.

Make sure nothing else in your song “outshines” the chorus.

The chorus introduces the big idea or emotion in a song and it should be the highlight of the song.  If something else is competing with it or overshadowing it, then people may miss the big impact of your big idea. A big part of writing a better chorus is learning to not over-write your verses.

Write on.  And make those choruses rock!  ~Marty

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing

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