#1
Right, that songwriting bugger for me is choruses. I don't think I've ever really written a chorus I truly like and it's bugging me.

I'd like you to post what you think are the best choruses you've written and how you go about your chorus writing.

I've almost tended to stray from writing those big choruses of late, and although I'm just getting back into the swing of things I've been looking for a place to discuss this, and now I can thanks to the new forum.

I want to know what you do about rhyme, rhythm, syllables, anything to do with a chorus. Do you go for a big chorus, sing along chorus, short two liners - what? I'm not genre-specific here, I 'm just looking for some good old chorus discussion.

Anything would be appreciated

Many thanks S+L.
#2
In my experience, crowds definitely seem to prefer the whole two line/singable chorus.
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#3
if you go to our myspace (www.myspace.com/delusionsof ), and listen to our song Eternal, you can check out the chorus in it. of the 4 songs up on our myspace, its our best one, IMO. we have one I like better, but the song isnt even recorded yet. the chorus starts at 2:42, with "and this is my long goodbye". Broken Wings is a really good one too. that chorus starts at 1:17.
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Last edited by ConstableMurtis at Aug 21, 2007,
#4
Choruses need the hook in my opinion. I don't just write a chorus, I wait for a chorus, like I wait for a melody which is good enough to be a chorus, they normally come to me when I'm just singing - making a cup of coffee, or while i'm walking the dog or whatever. I keep singing it, change it around a bit, come back home and put some chords behind it. After that I put the verses around it, then finally write the lyrics. If you look on my profile, the song "Do You Agree?" is a strong example of how, in the verses, I've just kind of thrown a talkative non-annoying type of storytelling melody (if any) with a basic progression, and then on the chorus there is a definitive melody. Although the chorus is song HORRIFICALLY sung (mic broke after one [bad] take) you should be able to notice the strong definate melody. Kind of descends down and around on the "And it started raining, I saw the street light fading" and then ascends back up. I got that in my head just while I was messing around on piano, and thought yeah I'll write a song around that.

I think a big mistake people make is trying to make both the verse AND the chorus catchy. I think only one of them should be catchy, otherwise the song starts to get annoying really quickly, 'cos the catchy bits are the bits that annoy people after a while.

I don't think there's anyway that you could possibly TELL someone how to create the melody for a chorus, that's just something that you do naturally... But I mean, (Let me just make it clear that I have little to no musical theory, and I'm sure what I'm about to say has a technical term to it) I find that in order to make a chorus more powerful, I always kind of go to the chord that builds it up before I go into the chorus. E.g If I'm playing in A i'll hold on E for a bit, If I'm playing in G i'll hold on D for a bit, etc. to make the chorus hit you a bit more. Sorry for being confusing.

Overall, I think in order to create good choruses, you need to listen to good choruses. I know it sounds stupid, but I personally like to listen to lots of pop records, even Girls Aloud and that kind of ****.. Although I hate it, it's interesting to look at the melodies around the chorus, because that's what's making millions of people buy it. A couple of times I've adapted melodies from old popular songs, by say, The Spice Girls or something (), changed them around, and put them into a folk-rock type song, where they are not ATALL recognisable.

Another way to create choruses, which I did in one of my songs ("Down, Over, Out") is do something really weird or creative. On this one, I came up with this really weird strumming rhythm, and kind of put a melody over it that went along with the rhythm, and got the drums doing the same. It made for this really catchy kind of stick-out point in the song, that I THINK is probably one of the strangest choruses written in a while, but if it works - it works.

Right, now also, If you're not the type of person who naturally gets melodies coming along in their head, which few of my friends rarely get - and when they do they aren't too good (it's normally when your not too great of a singer I think) then there's other ways which I've come up with catchy choruses. Get on chord you're playing in, say G, and then get ready to play say, G then D then C, and try to kind of... erm.. try to MAKE your voice stand out. Try to sing something weird. Sing a note that really has no purpose being in that key, or one that's rarely heard, preferably after a few normal ones. It's really hard to explain, but I came up with an amazing melody in Am doing that, It's kind of the same melody used in a riff in the Terminator song, which i'm sure nobody would notice, but it just sounds really psychadelic and really hits you. It's not too catchy, but great for the song.

That's another thing, I've been going along talking about the catchy choruses, but there are so many artists that don't really rely ATALL on being catchy, and are still really catchy, if you know what I mean. They rely more on kind of the soul of the song, and the melodies throughout to make it catchy, and there's nothing specific punching you in the face and pulling down your trousers when you first read it. I think one of these artists is Randy Newman. I Love Randy Newman. And I love recommending him, most people just know him as the guy that wrote the soundtrack to Toy Story, but he's SO MUCH more. If you really have any ambition to be a songwriter, get out and buy The Randy Newman Songbook. That record changed me as a songwriter forever. After listening to it I just had idea's all over the place, I mean one of his songs "Rednecks", that was so inspirational to me that I just picked up the guitar and wrote probably the most melodically sophisticated song I've ever written, full of G7's and diminished chords that I would never normally use (normally I like to keep things simple) but it just sounded great, it's one of my favourite songs, though I kind of fear it because it's not catchy and probably wouldn't punch anyone in the face, but for an album it's perfect.

OK right, I've been talking so far about melodically catchy choruses, but as you know a large majority of songs (especially in more rock styled genre's) have hooks from the guitar, bass or even Drums (I think In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins really shows a drum hook, that bit at the end where the drums come in blows me away). David Bowie does this alot as well with Rebel Rebel, Ziggy Stardust, etc. Actually yeah, David Bowie is a great person to get into if your taking songwriting seriously, but I think you need to be careful with Bowie, because alot of his work either works fantastically or just fails totally. He did something interesting with Starman, taking the melodical lift from "Somewhere over the rainbow" or whatever that songs called, and stealing that then adapting it. Great idea, I've done that a few times, but tried to make it less recognisable, but anyway, back to the instrument hooks. I think the way you find them is similar to the way u find melodic hooks, your just playing and stumble across them, but this is when being a good guitar player comes in handy, because the amount of great riffs I've found where I tried to record them and they just sounded... thin.. because I can't kind of play them in the correct way, just note for note, that annoys the hell out of me. I normally take them to one of my friends who's a much better player than me and get him to work on them, and then kind of collaberate with him, but it's still annoying.

Finally, I'm gonna try and stop talking now although I could go on forever, the best decision i've ever made in terms of songwriting is learning piano about 5 years ago. I mean, it's just helped me to such a great level that I don't think i'd be half the songwriter I am if I didn't learn it. It doesn't help you be catchy, but it gives your songs so much more stregnth and originallity becuase on piano I find you come up with these great melodies that can be used for verses' and make your chorus melodies stand out alot more.

Anyway, I'd better stop talking now because I've gone on far too long. Sorry if I came across arrogant or like I thought I'm the grand-songwriter or anything, I don't, I was just trying to give tips from personal experiance.

Cheers
Last edited by skagitup at Aug 21, 2007,
#5
wow thanks all. This is great.

Skagitup (name?) I always try and go in for the catchy verses, with subtle rhymes and flow. I should try keeping that for the main hook, thanks.
#6
edited my post a bit, i'm gonna keep editing in more until I say everything I want to say (which is alot) if your interested. Without sucking my own thumb, I think I'm quite a good chorus writer.
#7
Ha, whenever I here a girls aloud song (a fast paced one) I always end up writing lol, they inspire me for some reason.

Thanks a bunch, what's your name?

Give me a PM next time you have a new piece up, I'd like thank you with a crit if you'd like
#8
My name's Alex Fontaine, or just Alex

Yeah definitely will man, I'm still editing the above post.

Your name?
#10
Bands like ISIS, or neurosis dont really write choruses, but they often revolve back to a central idea in their song. IE A Sun that Never Sets by neurosis, and ISIS is a little different, often with no distinct chorus. If you are interested in writing like that you should check them out. Quite a few mastodon songs are like that too.
#12
I've recommended it to the mods to be added to the tips thread

It's ace, thanks a lot, that was great.
#13
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Right, finally finished my post.


Holy Hell. Make that an article in the Guest Columns man.
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#14
Hm...I have this same problem, only about 10 of my songs are set out in the convential way. The rest are like Verse 1, break, Verse 2, Solo, Verse 3, Bridge, outro.
#15
Quote by gallagher2006
Hm...I have this same problem, only about 10 of my songs are set out in the convential way. The rest are like Verse 1, break, Verse 2, Solo, Verse 3, Bridge, outro.


What's wrong with that.. If they sound good, they sound good.

I rarely if ever use bridge's, outro's, break's etc. The majority of my songs go like this:

Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus.

But that's probably because I'm influenced alot by Dylan, and if you look at Like A Rolling Stone, Positively Fourth Street, All Along The Watchtower, Tangled Up In Blue - all of his best songs, none of them have bridge's or anything. I think they are unnecessary, but that is TOTALLY my opinion and personal preferance. Infact, why I didn't put a section on Dylan in that long post is beyond me, he is easily the greatest songwriter ever.
#16
First of all u should be clear about what message u want from your chorus rather than making sure that your chorus is catchy . Chorus is a central message of your song. The length of your chorus totally depends on the melody of song but at the same time, that central message should be maintained. Instrumentation and melody plays an important role in deciding whether song is catchy or not. Lyrics don’t decide that. Right now I’m little busy otherwise I would have loved to talk more in this thread
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Last edited by abhishek21 at Aug 22, 2007,
#19
I really don't know how to explain how I come up with choruses. I don't really have a method. I just try to make them as heart-felt as possible. Even without the rest of the lyrics, if the chorus alone has its own emotional content, that just means to me that it will be that much better with the verses there to build the mood/train of thought for the chorus. Heres an example:

Chorus alone -

reach me
one last time
draw that line
let me try
i'll cross it one day
i'll be on our side

With first two verses -

i decide
at some point
this is what i am
sterilize hope

how far i ran
to meet this
repeat the phrase "i can"
feel it faulter

reach me
one last time
draw that line
let me try
i'll cross it one day
i'll be on our side

The chorus does kind of pull on the heart strings by itself, but with the verses, the mood is already set and that makes the chorus hit harder. Also, a simple technique I like to use is the repetition of the beginning of two lines (theres probably a name for this technique, but I don't know it). In this case, I repeated the word "i'll." Heres another chorus which I use that technique in:

revive my life
let me keep this dying sight
as i live in fastforward
as these moments slip by
i don't want to dream forever
i don't want to find myself
still looking forward
but at the end

As you can see, for that one I used the technique twice with "as" and "I don't want." But anyways like I said, I don't have a methodical way about it. These few tips are the best I can offer. The only other advice I can give is just to use a good rhyme scheme. Heres another chorus I wrote that is the only chorus I have that uses this rhyme scheme, but its probably my favorite:

never
was there a better time
this minute my heart beats
forever
i've walked the same line
we've hung from the same cliff
together
but this time my heart stops
and i fall to my death

It has kind of a revolving feel, for lack of a better term.

OH and about melodies, the one piece of advice that I can give you that you can really put to use is that its all about the intervals. For choruses that are good for singing along, and that sound real catchy and are just big sounding, I highly suggest the major scale intervals, such as fifths. Those sound good. Don't just move up and down within the major scale. That sounds terribly boring.

Hope this helped.
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#21
It's not much help, but I hate choruses myself; I use other techniques to link and unify the piece (ie: one song, I end each verse with the same word, which might be repetitive and odd but I like it better than choruses).
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#22
Just make sure its catchy, thats it. Its the most important part in a song generally.

Most of my songs are like:
Intro
Verse
Pre-Chorus
Chorus
Verse
Pre_chorus
Chorus
Bridge
Chorus


Some have instrumental bridges, some have outro solo's, some dont have pre chorus's.
W/e sounds good to you is what you should do...
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