The vast majority of popular music has a specific
Common terminologies we use in popular music
include Introduction, Verse, Chorus, and Middle
Most popular music consists of 2 or 4 bar phrases, so
the sections are often divided into 4, 8 or 16 bars.
Verse 1: 6+6+8 – what else could it be?
6+6+6+2? 6+7+7? (Why/Why not?)
Verse 2: 6+6+2
Sections usually contrast with one another melodically to
sustain interest, but also harmonically, texturally, lyrically,
dynamically and rhythmically (or any other ‘element’
Listen to examples below, how do the above factors change?
Sigor Ros – ‘Fljótavík'
Snow Patrol –
‘Sloop John B’ The Beach Boys (1966)
Note how this consists of only one section, so
variety of texture is vital)
‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’: Elton John
As well a metre being used diachronically, it
can also be used synchronically. Example:
‘Kashmir’ Led Zeppelin (cover)
Introduction: content usually used somewhere else in the song. Not
always incorporated, but always introduces the song.
Verse: Recurrent harmonic pattern, but different text and texture etc.
Usually occurs after the introduction, but sometimes chorus can occur
before it (Example “I Shot the Sheriff”, “Rock and Roll Music”)
Chorus: Usually a recurrent harmonic and lyrical pattern.
Refrain: Not a distinct section, but part of a verse or chorus.
Can end or start a section. Consists of a repeated subsection, often with
same lyrics. For Example:
“I Saw Her Standing There”: The Beatles (After Verse)
God Only Knows: The Beach Boys: (note how refrain repeats at end)
“Want To Hold Your Hand”: The Beatles (After Verse)
Bridge: Connects two other sections.
Normally occurs once, if twice, usually has same text.
Sometimes called the ‘Middle 8’.
Bridges can be instrumental: “Nights in White Satin”
Outro: Content usually derives from elsewhere in the song. Always ends
Rhythm Delineating Form
Metre Delineating Form