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Songwriting For Dummies by Cathy Lynn Austin, Jim Peterik, Dave Austin

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Chapter 3

Working It Out: Getting Your Song into Shape

In This Chapter

Understanding the terminology of a songwriter

Knowing the basic fundamentals of the verse

Getting a handle on the various song formats

Building the mood and telling your story

Getting “under the hood” of your favorite songs

When you hear a new song on the radio, you probably don’t turn to your friend and say, “Wow, awesome pre-chorus — I love how it sets up the hook!” Nonetheless, every song has a structure that it’s built upon. The framework can follow any of several tried-and-true patterns, or it can break the mold and go where no song has gone before. Knowing basic song forms, also referred to as form, will help guide you as you’re constructing a song. It’ll also help identify what you are already doing instinctively. It’s important to understand the basics of song structure even if you choose to stray from it in certain instances. There’s something reassuring in the use of familiar song organization that can help a songwriter sound immediately more professional and commercial.

In this chapter, we look at many of the most commonly used and successful song forms. We break down a song into its basic modular components and show how to organize the various sections to create a synergy that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Talking Shop about Song Form

Before we start looking at song forms, it’s important to understand the terminology songwriters use when they’re talking shop. You’ve heard most of these ...

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