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Structuring your Songs

Structuring your Songs

  • Does my song follow one of the traditional forms?
  • If not, is there the right amount of repetition and contrast?
  • If I heard this song for the first time, would I listen all the way through?
  • Would I buy it? What could have been done better? If you know, do it; if not, ask another’s opinion.


When structuring the form of your song, there are a few key elements to pay attention to. First, does your song follow one of the traditional forms? The typical form for popular music follows the AABA form, also known as the Thirty-two-bar form. A thirty-two-bar form consists of 4 sections: Two verses (A sections), a bridge (B section), and a return to the chorus or main verse. Other forms include twelve-bar blues and verse-chorus forms. However, your song does not have to follow one of these traditional forms as long as it contains the right amount of repetition and contrast. Repetition allows the listener to become familiar with your song, while contrast keeps your song interesting. If you can’t determine which form works best for your song, take a listen to your favorite artists and see what forms they use.

The beginning of your song needs to be enticing enough to capture the attention of the listener and make them interested in listening to the song in its entirety. You must establish how interesting you are from the start to prevent boredom from the listener. It is all too easy to press the “Skip” button on the CD player.

Lastly, try to take an objective approach to your song. Would you buy it? Is there something you could have done better, such as repeating a certain line or removing a verse? It can be difficult to detach yourself from something you have put a lot of work into, so sometimes it is best to ask another’s opinion.