Theory in Pills


Song structure is the organization and arrangement of different sections within a song. It determines how the various parts of a song, such as verses, choruses, bridges, and other sections, are sequenced and repeated.

Different genres and styles of music often have their own commonly used song structures, but there is no limit to creativity within these frameworks.

Understanding song structures is the first step to understand the uniformity and the variety of a song.

The most common forms are:

  • Verse-Chorus Form (VC). This is the most popular song structure in contemporary music. It consists of alternating verses and choruses, with the chorus typically being the catchiest and most memorable part of the song. The verses usually provide the narrative or story of the song, while the chorus serves as the emotional or thematic centerpiece.
  • Strophic Form (AAA). This form is characterized by the repetition of the same music for each verse or stanza of lyrics . It is commonly used in folk songs, hymns, and nursery rhymes. Each verse typically has the same melody, allowing the focus to be on the lyrics and storytelling.
  • 12-Bar Blues. This form is prevalent in blues music and consists of a specific chord progression that repeats for 12 bars. It follows a I-IV-V chord progression, where the I chord represents the tonic, the IV chord represents the subdominant, and the V chord represents the dominant.
  • 32-Bar Form (AABA). This form is commonly used in jazz standards and musical theater songs. It consists of 32 bars divided into four sections: AABA. The A sections are usually the verses and the chorus, while the B section, also known as the bridge, provides a contrasting and often more emotional or dramatic element to the song.
  • ABA Form (ABA). Also known as ternary form, this structure consists of three distinct sections: A, B, and A. The A section is usually the main theme or melody, followed by a contrasting B section, and then a return to the original A section. This form is commonly found in classical music and popular songs.