successful songs incorporate this technique and once you are familiar with the
various ways in which you can achieve contrast, you can begin to incorporate it
into your own songwriting.
The purpose of contrast is to make each section of your song stand out and
sound different from the other sections in your song.
a. MELODICALLY. Try to make the melody higher in the chorus than the
verse. It’s a good practice to try to write your chorus in your highest
comfortable range, giving you room to make the verse lower.
b. RHYTHMICALLY. If the predominant rhythm for the verse melody is
quarter notes, try making the chorus rhythm eighth notes. Even if you’re solely
a lyricist, you can build rhythmic contrast into your lyrics. A good example of
a song that incorporates rhythmic contrast between two sections is the old
standard, “Somewhere Over
c. HARMONICALLY. Try and change the chord progression between sections. An easy way
to achieve this is simply by consciously choosing a different chord to start
each section. For example, if your verse begins on a G chord, try starting your
chorus on a C chord.
a. RHYME PATTERN. Change the pattern or placement of the rhymes between
verse and chorus. Let’s say, for example, your verse has an A-B-A-B rhyme
- The sky above is
- The ground below
is green B
- When I look at
- It’s the
prettiest sight I’ve ever seen B
however, that whatever pattern you set up in the verse should remain consistent
for all the verses. The same goes for your chorus
• RHYME SOUNDS. Vary the primary vowel sounds of the rhymes throughout
your song. For example, if you use a long “e” rhyme
• sound in your first two lines (be/see), use a different rhyme sound in your
next two lines (light/night).
• RHYTHM. Change the rhythm of the words between sections. If your
verses have long lines with lots of syllables, you might try using short lines
without a lot of syllables in your chorus. This will automatically create
contrast when the lyrics are set to music.
• PRONOUN EMPHASIS. If you are primarily talking about “I” and
“me” in the verses, try emphasizing “you” in the chorus.
You don’t have to make use of every type of contrast in each song, but try to
incorporate at least one type of musical contrast