Second Chorus

Any Fred Astair fans out there? :)

Now that you have your song outlined, you need to know how a song is arranged before you start writing the lyrics. Pop songs (popular music) are usually divided into several parts, each with a different purpose. In this post, I'll show you what each part is and its function in a song.

The most important part of a song is the Chorus. The chorus holds the main idea that you are trying to get across. For example, in "Holy," the chorus gives the main idea of praise and worship before the throne of God.

Some songs are made up only of a chorus. An example is the old tune, "Seek Ye First":

Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His Righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
Hallelu, Hallelujah

This song is very simple (consequently, very easy to learn), yet it brings out the passage of Scripture that it was written from in just four short lines. It doesn't have to be complicated. Simple is good--especially if it's a praise and worship song. However, you'll probably want to spend more time writing the chorus because the chorus is what people remember. You can probably easily think of the lyrics of your favorite song, but it is a little more diffucult to recall the lyrics of the rest of the song.

Another very important element is the Verse. The verse takes the main idea of the chorus and goes into a little more detail. It sets up the chorus. In "Holy", the verses describe the setting in which the song is being sung, and gives the reason for singing holy; "'Knowing you are worthy..."

Many simple songs are made up of one verse and a chorus. Once again, these songs are easy to learn, and they have a bit more variety than just one chorus. "Stand in Awe" is a good example. Some songs are are made up entirely of verses. Hymns like "Amazing Grace" follow this pattern--there is no chorus. However, you'll notice that the melody in each verse (called "stanzas" in a hymn) are all the same. This is how verses should be, although slight variations are acceptable.

One more thing. There is usually a difference in melody between the verse and the chorus. Sometimes the the verse will be minor and the chorus major, or vice versa. All of this adds interest and variety to the song and allows for dynamics. We'll discuss melody later, and there is more to say about the structure of a song, so...

Until Next Time,
So Long!

Tim Heider


Announcement: Tim's Song Page

Now you can hear my music on Beta Records!

Visit www.betarecords.com/tim.heider or click the banner on the right side of the page.

Songs include :
Strength to Strength
Caught Away
Who You Are

Check it out and leave a comment here to tell me what you think.

Tim Heider


An Example

So, how'd your note-taking go? Get stuck? That's OK. It takes practice.

Maybe an example would be helpful. I'll use my song "Holy" to illustrate what kind of things you need to write down. Here are the lyrics:

I saw a mighty ocean roar with pounding waves
The singing of Your people giving You high praise
They cast their crowns before You,
Kneeling with their hands upraised
Knowing You are worty to open up the scoll
I bow my knee before You as I see Your work unfold
All of heaven trembles
When they see Your awesome pow'r untold

Holy Holy
The whole earth is filled with Your glory
Honor, Power
Casting down our crowns before thee
Cast them down before thee

This is a praise and worship song, so I would write "Praise and Worship" at the top of my page.
That done, I could write a paragraph about what I want the song to talk about. It could look something like this:

"I want this song to be based on the book of Revelation. Revelation 5:9 explaines how Jesus Christ is worthy to open the seals on the book of judgement. Revelaion 4:6 tells of the sea of glass that surrounds the throne of God, and verse 8 proclaimes the holiness of God, as it is sung by the four living creatures. I want this song to be about how holy and awesome God is, as if I were standing before his throne in heaven."

Now, some key words in this song would be "holy," "scroll," "throne," and "crown." I could also put a key line in, such as "Holy, Holy. The whole earth is filled with Your glory," or "You are worthy to receive honor and power." The key words or lines may not end up in your finished song, but it at least gives you some ideas.

Did that help? Now see what you can do.

Tim Heider


Taking Notes

Hopefully by now you have been inspired to begin writing a song and perhaps even have some ideas for a subject. Now you need to expand your ideas into material that can be used in a song. For that, you'll need a piece of notebook paper and a pen (or a word processor) to write on.

First, decide what kind of song you are going to write. Will it be praise and worship? Encouragement? A scripture song? Write it down at the top of the page. As you write more, you will probably lean toward writing a certain kind of song, so writing that down won't be necessary.

Second, determine the subject of your song. Every song should have a theme. Resist the idea of writing a song with whatever pops into your head. Songs written in this way are very disjointed and difficult to follow. Everything in the lyrics should flow smoothly together. Write a sentence or paragraph--or more if you need to--to define what your song is going to be about.

Finally, identify key words that you want in your song. If it is a song about the name of Jesus, write down "Jesus" as one of the key words. If you want to specifically talk about the authority in the name of Jesus, you could also write down "authority." You can put some more specific words in there too. Also, you may have an entire line, such as "The name of Jesus is above every name" that you will use as a line of the song. Write it down.

Now you have something to work with. It may not look anything like a song, but it gives you something definite to build on. So what are you waiting for? Close your internet browser now, and start taking notes!

Tim Heider