When to use a Pre-chorus in your songwriting

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When to Use a Pre-Chorus in Your Songwriting

As a songwriter, you're always looking for ways to make your music stand out and connect with your audience. One technique that can be especially effective is the use of a pre-chorus. In this article, we'll explore what a pre-chorus is, why you might want to use one, and how to create one that works for your song.

What is a Pre-Chorus?
A pre-chorus is a section of a song that comes after the verse and before the chorus. It's often used as a transitional part that builds momentum and tension leading into the chorus. It's usually shorter than the verse and contains a different melody and lyrics than either the verse or the chorus.

Why Use a Pre-Chorus?

1. Adds Contrast: A pre-chorus provides a contrast between the verse and the chorus. It can highlight the emotional and musical themes of the song by creating a bridge between the two sections.

2. Builds Tension: By using a different melodic and lyrical approach, a pre-chorus can create a sense of anticipation leading to the chorus. This can make the chorus more impactful and memorable.

3. Provides a Natural Build-Up: Depending on the genre, some songs benefit from a gradual build-up to the chorus. A pre-chorus can provide an opportunity to add layers of instrumentation, harmonies or other elements to enhance the emotional impact of the chorus.

How to Create a Pre-Chorus

1. Identify the Song's Climax: The pre-chorus is the section that prepares the listener for the most powerful part of the song, the chorus. To create an effective pre-chorus, you need to identify what the climax of your song is and build towards it.

2. Experiment with Melodies: A pre-chorus should have a unique melodic approach that sets it apart from the verse and chorus. Experiment with different melodies until you find one that creates an effective transition.

3. Use Dynamic Lyrics: If the verse and chorus have established the emotional themes of the song, the pre-chorus can introduce new ideas or perspective. This can help build tension as the listener anticipates the more powerful delivery of the chorus.

4. Keep It Short: Pre-choruses are usually shorter than verses or choruses. Keep it simple and on-point by limiting the number of lyrics and amount of instrumentation.

Examples of Songs with Pre-Chorus

1. "Billie Jean" - Michael Jackson
The pre-chorus in "Billie Jean" is a brief four-line section that creates a sense of tension and anticipation leading to the chorus. It's built on a simple melody that repeats in the chorus.

2. "Uptown Funk" - Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
In "Uptown Funk," the pre-chorus acts as a build-up section that adds instrumentation and harmony layers before the chorus. Its lyrics change the perspective of the song, providing a new angle for the listener.

3. "Sweet Child O' Mine" - Guns N' Roses
"Sweet Child O' Mine" has one of the best-known pre-choruses in rock music. It builds the tension and anticipation for the monumental chorus, using an ascending melody and simple lyric structure.

Conclusion

Using a pre-chorus can be an effective way to enhance your songwriting and add an extra layer of excitement to your music. By providing contrast, building tension, and creating a natural build-up, pre-choruses can make your songs more memorable and impactful. Experiment with different melodic and lyrical approaches to create effective pre-choruses in your songs.