Audio: chorus (0:15)

Figure: chorus
Chorus structure
Figure: chorus structure

chorus plays the chorus section, bars 25-32, of pop song. The chorus figure shows the score in lead sheet format. The chorus structure figure shows the structure of the chorus:

  • pop song modulates from the key of D in the bridge to the key of A in the chorus.
  • The chorus is a refrain.
  • Bars 25-26 contain the hook: the chord progression, F#m-F, and the key briefly modulates from the key of A major to the key of A minor.
  • Bars 27-28 progress from F to E7.
  • Bars 29-30 repeat the hook.
  • Bars 31-32 contain a single power chord to end the song.

A chorus or refrain is a section of a pop song that contains harmony.

A chorus often follows a verse and is shorter. It contains harmony, which can be sung or instrumental, whilst a verse, which can also be sung or instrumental, contains melody or harmony or a mix of the two.

A chorus is built up from a single line of lyrics. The line lasts one or two bars. A pair of lines constitute a couplet and last two or four bars. A repeat couplet is a refrain and lasts 4 or 8 bars.

The chorus is the high-point of a pop song. It contains something different, a catchy riff or some memorable words. The something different is called a hook.

A hook is a short phrase which people can hum or sing along to.

A hook in a chorus is something that sounds different. It does not have to be unique, it just has to be different to the verse and bridge, so it acts as a contrast. It can be an unusual noise, a change in rhythm, a singable melody, a notable chord progression, or any mixture thereof. A sung hook usually contains the title of the song.

In pop song the hook includes an F chord. This is not diatonic to the key of A major. It is a borrowed chord from the parallel key of A minor. During the hook, the key briefly modulates from A major to A minor, which is why it is the hook, it sounds different.

Any musical idea is a potential hook. All music writing starts with a musical idea which is then developed into a phrase and forms a whole or a part of a section. The natural reaction is to start the music with the idea. The logic is that since this idea inspired you to write in the first place then it should start the piece. Another approach is to make the idea the hook. The logic behind this is that the idea is so unusual, if not unique, that you should build up to it rather than start with it. This backward way of writing music can be extremely productive: use the idea as a hook, a target to aim for.