How to structure songs – according to Spotify (video)

Image Credit: Spotify

Check out this Spotify for Artists video on songwriting for beginners, getting you started with a songwriter template.

Spotify for Artists’ Song Start series features great tips on songwriting for beginners, including songwriter and producer Nija Charles discussing how to structure a song. Charles, co-writer of “Positions” by Ariana Grande, started off watching YouTube tutorials and teaching herself how to use a MIDI keyboard.

When you’re first getting started producing and writing music it’s a good idea to have a song structure template to build around. For Charles, songs started to make sense once she understood the traditional song structure. She thinks of it like an essay with supporting facts.


Basic songwriting structure

Charles doesn’t always stick to the same structure, often moving the building blocks around. For beginners getting started making music, she lays out a typical song structure as:

VersePre-chorusChorusPost-chorus2nd VersePre-chorusChorusBridgeChorus


Verse

Before you begin writing, think about what you want central theme of the song to be. That’s what the verse should introduce immediately – the feel and mood of the song.

Each section should flow from one to the next.

Breaking down Ariana Grande’s “Positions.” Image Credit: Spotify

Pre-chorus

The pre-chorus has a different feel to the verse and leads the listener into the chorus, perhaps with new instruments introduced.

Charles describes the pre-chorus as “sticky” – featuring a catchy motif that grabs attention and lets you know the hook of the chorus is incoming.


Chorus

The chorus is the “hook” of the song, the part everyone will remember that cements the track’s meaning. Next the optional post-chorus, which keeps up the momentum through to the next verse, which will have the same melody as the first verse.


Bridge

The bridge is completely different to the verse, with a different chord change that moves the song along to somewhere new.

Charles describes it as taking “a breather” before heading back into the main song.


Don’t feel trapped using any one song format, as song structure can always vary. There might be an intro and outro added, or the track might start with the chorus.

Try using a template when you first begin making your track, and see what feels the most natural order to lay out the different elements as the writing continues.

Check out more top tips for songwriting structure here:


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I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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