Song Structure and Arrangement
“Imagination Creates Reality” – Richard Wagner
Structure is often one of the most overlooked aspects of song writing. This is because we have come to
expect very little from the structure of a song. The majority of pop music can be summed up as Intro-
Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Middle 8 – Chorus – Outro. Why? It works. This structure has
formed the corner stone of many multi-platinum selling hits time and time again. You can use this
structure with any song you’re currently working on and it will work. You may however want to stray from
this formula and experiment with song structures. Here are a few ides.
Borrowed Structure – A simple search on the internet for “song structures” will give you hundreds of
images and info-graphs of varying structures you can use. Many pros will listen to a song they like, note
the different verses and choruses and “steal” the structure. The structure of a piece of music is one of
few things that can’t be copyrighted.
Classical - Classical music features many different forms and structures that can be used in your song
writing. Close To The Edge by Yes is written in strict Sonata Form. Research classical music structures
and see if you can apply any to your own songs.
Lead With Chorus – If you have a catchy chorus why not starts the song with it? Even a guitar riff or
memorable lyrics can be used to start a track. 99 Problems by Jay Z uses this to great effect by using a
line from the chorus acapella as the introduction.
No Chorus – sometimes you don’t need a chorus. If it is not adding anything to the track then remove it.
Many songs don’t have a chorus. House of the Rising Sun by The Animals and Stairway to Heaven by
Led Zeppelin have no defined chorus section.
Frankenstein – If you have lots of unfinished song fragment why not try stitching them together to create
a song. The Beatles used this technique in the Abbey Road medley and Happiness Is a Warm Gun. You
would be surprised how much you can get out of this technique.