Verse–chorus form

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Verse–chorus form is a musical form common in popular music and predominant in rock since the 1960s. In contrast to thirty-two-bar form, which is focused on the verse (contrasted and prepared by the B section), in verse–chorus form the chorus is highlighted (prepared and contrasted with the verse).[1] "Many popular songs, particularly from early in [the 20th] century, are in a verse and a chorus (refrain) form. Most popular songs from the middle of the [20th] century consist only of a chorus."[2]

Thus, while in both forms A is the verse and B is the chorus, in AABA the verse takes up most of the time and the chorus exists to contrast and lead back into the return of the verse, in verse–chorus form the chorus often takes much more time proportionally and the verse exists to lead into it. For example: ABABB(B) [approximates: "Be My Baby"], rather than thirty-two-bar form's AABA.

The chorus often sharply contrasts the verse melodically, rhythmically, and harmonically, and assumes a higher level of dynamics and activity, often with added instrumentation. This is referred to as a "breakout chorus."[3] See: arrangement.

Contrasting verse–chorus form[edit]

Songs that use different music for the verse and chorus are in contrasting verse–chorus form. Examples include:

Simple verse–chorus form[edit]

Songs that use the same music for the verse and chorus, such as the twelve bar blues, though the lyrics feature different verses and a repeated chorus, are in simple verse–chorus form. Examples include:

Simple verse form[edit]

Songs which feature only a repeated verse are in simple verse form (verse–chorus form without the chorus). Examples include:

and with a contrasting bridge:

Both simple verse–chorus form and simple verse form are strophic forms.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Covach, John. "Form in Rock Music: A Primer", p.71, in Stein, Deborah (2005). Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517010-5.
  2. ^ Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.317. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
  3. ^ Doll, Christopher. "Rockin' Out: Expressive Modulation in Verse–Chorus Form", Music Theory Online 17/3 (2011), §2.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Covach (2005), p.71–72

See also[edit]