Verse/chorus song form is a popular (modern day) song form consisting of a least two musical sections (the verse and the chorus). This is not the only pop song form, but it is the most common. There are additional sections that can be utilized (such as a bridge and/or a pre-chorus), but these sections are not required. The simplest example of this form would be a song containing one verse and one chorus.
A verse/chorus song form can contain either one or multiple verses. Additional verses will consist of new lyrics being set to the same music (chords and melody line) as the first verse. A verse typically contains more words than a chorus. Verses are used to tell the story of the song. They are also typically are set to a melody that is lower in pitch when compared to the chorus.
There is usually only one chorus in this form. Although it may be repeated several times throughout the song, each repeat usually consists of the same lyrics and music. The chorus usually consists of fewer words in an attempt to make it catchy and memorable. The main idea or hook of the song is usually found in the chorus. Also, this section of the song is usually set to a melody that is higher in pitch when compared to the verse.
The natural flow of this form is to state a verse and then lead to the chorus. The music may return for a second (or third) verse, but that will lead back to the chorus. There are exceptions that start with the chorus, but even in those songs the natural verse to chorus flow exists (they just have a different starting point).
Some songs contain verses that do not clearly lead to the chorus. In these cases an additional section called a pre-chorus can be used to lead to the chorus. These sections are usually shorter in length when compared to the verse or the chorus. They allow for the restatement of important ideas, summery of verse material and exploration of new harmonic areas.
Some songs also require an additional section in order to provide an even greater climax. This is referred to as a bridge section. The bridge usually occurs just before the final chorus (after all of the verses). It can be used to lead into a modulation, or just to transition to a different musical idea that provides an even greater climax upon reaching the return of the final chorus.
This Learning Music With Ray video discusses verse/chorus song form. In it, I discuss the meaning and aspects of this modern song form as they relate to musical form. I then analyze two pieces of music that are written in verse/chorus song form. In this stage of the lesson I review the components of this type of form, and the ways to identify them in the musical example.