Verse-chorus Form
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Verse-chorus Form

Verse-chorus form is a musical form common in popular music, used in blues and rock and roll since the 1950s,[1] and predominant in rock music since the 1960s. In contrast to 32-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).[2]

"Musically, most Civil War songs were cast in the verse-chorus patterns that had been popularized by Foster and widely imitated by his peers and successors, with their choruses set in four-part harmony."[3]

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".[4] See: arrangement.

Contrasting verse-chorus form

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

Simple verse-chorus form

Songs that use the same harmony (chords) for the verse and chorus, such as the twelve bar blues, though the melody is different and the lyrics feature different verses and a repeated chorus, are in simple verse-chorus form. Examples include:

Simple verse form

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.

See also


  1. ^ Michael Campbell & James Brody (2007), Rock and Roll: An Introduction, page 117
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Popular music - Grove Music". Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ Doll, Christopher. "Rockin' Out: Expressive Modulation in Verse-Chorus Form", Music Theory Online 17/3 (2011), § 2.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Covach (2005), p.71-72

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