PRE-PARE FOR THE CHORUS
A Pre-Chorus sits between the Verse and the Chorus. However sometimes you may hear someone calling this section a Bridge. In the UK we use the section name Bridge to mean a section later on in the song, often also called a Middle 8. I suggest you use the term Pre-Chorus so there is no doubt about where this sits in a song. Confused yet? Okay, sometimes a Pre-Chorus is referred to as a lift or ramp!
So how do you decide when you need a Pre-Chorus?
One function of a Pre-Chorus is to connect the verse story to the Chorus.
It can help to ‘announce’ to the listener that the Chorus is on the way. It might give opportunity for the rhythm to change or the melody to start climbing towards the Chorus crescendo.
So quite often its use to create some tension, maybe ask questions lyrically, or musically feel awkward, so that when the Chorus arrives, that brings a resolution.
If the Verse melody is very simple and doesn’t really get going, then a Pre-Chorus allows that to be developed.
Sometimes the story of the song might feel like it jumps too much if you go directly from a Verse to the Chorus - this is a good time to use a Pre-Chorus.
An example of this might be the Verse telling a story, the Pre-Chorus asks some questions, and the Chorus answers them.
It can be very short, even a single line, or repeated line, and it doesn’t have to have the same lyric every time. Its job is to set up the Chorus, musically and lyrically.
If the Verse melody is very similar to the Chorus, then an alternative to changing the melody in one of the sections is to add a Pre-Chorus with a different melody to create some variation.
If the Chorus melody is going to be much higher than the Verse (maybe an octave higher), then adding a Pre-Chorus makes a way to climb up in the melody range rather than taking one leap from Verse to Chorus.
If you are enjoying this series, please contact me and let me know, and if you are struggling to apply these ideas to your own writing I'd be more than happy to help.