Verses give the details of the song and move the story along from
beginning to end. While the chorus
is the "catchy" part of the song, the purpose of the verse
is to tell a memorable story and move the song along emotionally.
Verses are also sometimes called stanzas and in a song they are
usually four to eight lines in length.
When writing verses it is important that all
verses throughout the song have the same number of lines,
otherwise the inconsistency will be glaringly apparent.
Memorable verses usually employ some of the same poetic
devices used in writing other forms of literature.
Metaphors, similes, alliteration, personification,
point-of-view, repetition, meter and rhyme are poetic
devices that professional lyric writers pay attention
to when building the lyrics for a song.
Meter and rhyme are the most common elements that speak to the
rhythm and sound of the song, while elements such as metaphor and
personification speak to the imagery evoked.
When writing verses, it is important to keep these poetic devices
in mind and use them as needed when building the music lyrics. It
is also important not to use every poetic device under the sun as
this is a sure sign of amateur lyric writing.
Some professional lyric writers also rely on the conflict-resolution
strategy when writing memorable lyrics. The first verse will set
up the conflict in the song and the next verses and chorus are used
to resolve the conflict. This is a successful strategy that will
usually leave the listener feeling uplifted at the end. This is
a popular technique for "empowerment" types of songs such
as "I Will Survive"
by Gloria Gaynor.
Meter and rhyme
are also important elements in writing verses. Meter is the syllabic
stresses on the words in each line, which need to be consistent
throughout the song. Rhyme may be internal or end rhyme and also
need to be consistent as well.
Probably the most important element in writing memorable verses
is not in the writing but in the rewriting. First attempts at
writing poetry or lyrics, may sometimes make it into the finished
piece, but more often this is not the case. When writing verses,
it is important not to "fall in love" with your writing
and be open and flexible enough to make changes. This is especially
true for love lyrics where writers
feel a deep personal connection.
Writers who are humble in regard to rewriting their own work will
most often go further in their career than those who stubbornly
refuse to make changes. Writing anything professionally is mostly
rewriting and writing verses for lyrics is no different.