In short, a lyric verse is the story line of the song; the details and furniture of your song topic.
In music the form of each verse should be identical. The first written line in each verse should have the same number of syllables and same meter.
I am sure we all have come across this issue. Counting out each syllable till you get the correct amount for the melody of the song. (in the beginning this is a pain, but it becomes old hat, after a while you say your lines and go, eh I need more here, you get a feel for it)
It's good advice to say that what you write for the first verse has to be able to fit the other verses.
The most direct way to explain the meaning of lyrical verse comes form "The Everything Songwriting Book" by C.J. Watson. Once I absorbed how he viewed verses I had a better understanding which makes for a better verse.
A strong start is needed to help the listener decide to keep listening. This statement leads to the opening line of your song. This is one of the most important lines in your song, other then the hook or title. The first line should grab you and hold your attention, captivating the listener so they want to keep listening. Or at least that's the ideal situation!
All my bags are packed and I'm ready to go ("Leaving on a Jet Plane": Denver)
It's nine o'clock on a Saturday….("Piano Man:" Joel)
Blame it all on my roots I showed up in boots and ruined your black tie affair…("Friends in Low Places" Brooks)
No Good, Two Timin', Lies comin' outta your mouth…("Turn On The Radio" Reba)
You don’t have to go now honey call and tell ’em you won’t be in today…("Just Got Started Loving You" …Otto)
There's a want and there's a need…("Cowboys and Angels"…Lynch)
Breaking Down Story Openers
These suggestions work well, the question , the suggestion or request, the provocative statement, the time frame.
The Time Frame - It's nine oclock on a Saturday ("Piano Man":Joel)
The Suggestion or Request - Take out the papers and the trash ("Yakety Yak":Leiber/Stoller)
How about you answering the last two?
The provocative Statement and the Question?
Types of Lyrics
The way lyrics are written have to do with the type of song being written. Here is a breakdown of types that I recommend and reference.
- Story Song: The verse can act as the preface and sometimes carry the plot.
- Cycle Song: This verse can cover periods of time or an important scene.
- Love Song: Verse gives evidence to support central theme.
- Novelty/Humerous Song: These verses set up chorus to be a punch line or verses can contain jokes or funny situation theat lead o the chorus tying it together.
The whole point point of writing is to evoke an emotion and have the listener be right where you are or in a similar situation that they have experienced. When you write your verses make sure they progress as the story progresses, making sure you have a payoff with the song. There is nothing worse then being left hanging, wondering what happens next and the writer delivers nothing, bubkiss, zip! Your fans will not want to listen to the song again.
The 411 on writing verses is geared to helping you become a stronger lyricist. You don't have to agree, but why not try using it and see where it takes you.
Till next time.
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