Song structure does not have to be set in stone. But it helps to have a format to follow to your idea. At any rate, you should never feel restricted by a particular structure. It should be there to help not hinder.
SOME SAMPLE SONG STRUCTURES
(WITH OR WITHOUT LYRICS)
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN DECIDING SONG STRUCTURE
- You’re not stuck in that song structure.
- Good transitions betweens song segments make for a good song.
- Try to keep the song moving.
- Decide the phrases before the structure and try to place them in a way in the song that makes sense and is easy to flow together.
- have an objective in mind when you’re deciding the structure.
- Do you want to come full circle?
- do you want to end up in a different place than you began in the song? Adjust the structure accordingly.
- Remember this is fun and it is a craft, the more you learn about your craft, the better results you will see.
Thoughts on structuring your song
You can start out with an ABAB type format in mind. A being one phrase and B another.
If at the end of the second A part you feel like the music should take a different turn or you want to change the direction of the song, don’t wrestle with yourself to keep to the original format of the song.
Some songs have no format at all. They have a start and a finish and a journey in between. This is a difficult type of song to write for a few reasons.
- First, you are not reinforcing the listeners’ ears with a phrase that defines the song so it may become easy for the listener to lose interest.
- The song may be choppy sounding. It may not flow between sections of the song, but that can be the case in any song honestly.
- Lastly, if there is no part that the listener can attach to you have to make sure the melody doesn’t become too stagnant.
Some songwriters have a tendency to fall into ruts within a song, whether it be a particular pattern, melody, a tempo, a phrasing, a mood or whatever. And what happens is that the song goes nowhere. It’s flat. This is one of the hardest things to overcome in writing songs. If you want to undertake one of these types of songs, make sure there is movement in the melody. Otherwise it will go nowhere.