Veel bepruikte vormen voor commerciëlele popliedjes


  1. Verse – Chorus – Verse Chorus – Bridge – Chorus
  2. Verse – Pre-Chorus – Chorus – Verse – Pre-Chorus – Chorus Chorus
  3. Couplet/Refrein – Couplet/Refrein – bridge – Couplet/Refrein

Sectional forms include:

  1. Strophic or AAA Song Form
  2. AABA Song Form
  3. AB or Verse/Chorus Song Form
  4. Verse/Chorus/Bridge Song Form
  5. ABAB Song Form
  6. ABAC Song Form
  7. ABCD Song Form
  8. 12-Bar Song Form
  9. 8-Bar Song Form
  10. 16-Bar Song Form
  11. Hybrid / Compound Song Forms


AABA Song Form / American Popular Song Form / Ballad Form

This is one of the most commonly used forms in both jazz and early to mid-twentieth cetury popular music. The AABA format was song form of choice for Tin Pan Alley songwriters of American popular music, an East Coast USA songwriter scene based in New York City, in the first half of the 20th century. Tin Pan Alley included songwriting greats like Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Sammy Cahn, Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer, George and Ira Gershwin.

The dominance of the AABA format faded out during the 1960s with the rise in popularity of rock ‘n’ roll and the rise of groups like The Beatles. Before The Beatles broke off into other songwriting formats, they heavily utilized the AABA format in many songs.

This song form is used in a number of music genres including pop, jazz and gospel.


Structure Of AABA Song Form

In modern terminology the A section is repeated as the main section of the song and is known as “the verse”.

The A sections are similar in melody but different in lyrical content. The phrases of the A sections often comes to harmonic closure.

This is followed by the bridge (B) which is musically and lyrically different than the A sections. The bridge gives the song contrast before transitioning to the final A section. The B section often provides melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, or contrast in texture. The B section is known as “the Bridge”, “Middle Eight” or “the Release”. It presents the listener with a change in mood in the song, often using contrasting melody, lyrics and chords.

Derived versions of this form (AABABA or AABAA for example) or AABA with the addition of a coda (or “outro”) are not uncommon. Where necessary readers should confirm the meaning of terms in our music glossary.

The standard AABA song form is 32-bars long, with each section of the song being 8 bars long.



Examples of AABA song form:

  1. “Harlem On My Mind” (1933, by Irving Berlin)
  2. “Blue Moon” (1934, by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart)
  3. “Heart And Soul” (1938, by Frank Loesser and Hoagy Carmichael)
  4. “Blue Moon” (The Marcels by Mel Torme)
  5. “Over The Rainbow” (Judy Garland, 1938, by by Harold Arlen and E.Y.Harburg)
  6. “Crazy” (1961, Patsy Cline, by Willie Nelson)
  7. “That’ll Be The Day” (1958, Buddy Holly)
  8. “From Me To You” (1963, The Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon)
  9. “Yesterday” (The Beatles, 1965, by Paul McCartney)

Non-standard AABA Forms

There are many AABA songs that don’t use the 32-bar, 8-8-8-8 format. For example: “Send in the Clowns” has a 6-6-9-8 format. Sometimes the songwriter lengthens the AABA song form by adding another bridge and a last A section resulting in an AABABA format. The second bridge can have lyrics or purely instrumental in nature. It can be essentially the same or completely different than the first bridge. The last A section may also be an earlier verse repeated, or an entirely new verse that somehow completes the story of the song.

As mentioned earlier, not all AABA songs use the typical 32-bar length. Some songs have additional or reordered sections, such ABAC, ABCD and ABAB forms.


Title / Main Hook Placement in AABA Song Form

The title in an AABA song can be used in three main ways:

  1. The first line of the verse
  2. The last line in the verse
  3. Both the first and last line of the verse

Sometimes the title / main hook will also appear within the bridge section.

Here are some examples of songs by The Beatles using AABA song form, where the song title / main hook is used in the first line of the verse:

  1. A Hard Day’s Night
  2. Something
  3. Free As A Bird
  4. The Long And Winding Road
  5. Here, There, and Everywhere (Starts with a pre-verse)

There are also a number of songs by The Beatles using AABA song form, where the song title / main hook is used in the last line of the verse:

  1. And I Love Her
  2. Here Comes The Sun (Starts with Title Refrain)
  3. Back In The U.S.S.R.
  4. Ticket To Ride
  5. I Am The Walrus (Title Refrain used after Bridge)
  6. From Me To You
  7. Day Tripper (Title in Middle of Verse) (Music only bridge)
  8. I Saw Her Standing There
  9. Please Please Me

Below are three examples of songs by The Beatles using AABA song form, where the song title / main hook is used in the first and last line of the verse:

  1. Magical Mystery Tour
  2. Love Me Do
  3. I’m Looking Through You

There are also examples where the song title / main hook is used in the first line of the verse and in the bridge:

  1. Blackbird
  2. She Said She Said[/blt

Here are two examples of songs by The Beatles using AABA song form, where the song title / main hook is used in the first and last line of the verse and in the bridge:

  1. Yesterday
  2. Hey Jude

…and here are four examples of songs by The Beatles using AABA song form, where the song title / main hook is used in the last line of the verse and in the bridge:

  1. Can’t Buy Me Love (Starts with Bridge)
  2. Eight Days A Week
  3. Girl (Title Refrain used after Bridge)
  4. All My Loving


Planning Your AABA Song

The goal is to effectively showcase the hook/title. To achieve that the hook should appear in the same place in each A Section. This is usually be either the first line or the last line of the section. All other lyrics should relate to and clarify the core message or concept that the hook/title captures.

It is a good idea to have a clear outline that can be used to develop your idea clearly and help you to convey it concisely. Plan what the purpose of each A section is, and what you want it to convey. The bridge section is a great place to make a point to make relating to the hook. The fact that the B section contrasts melodically and rhythmically from the A sections helps the point to stand out and be set apart from the rest of the song.

The natural flow and uninterrupted development of the AABA Song Form lends itself beautifully to one of the following formulas:


Verse 1 – Introduce an idea

Verse 2 – Develop the idea

Bridge – Offer a different perspective, omitting the title

Verse 3 – Conclusion



Verse 1 – Identify the problem

Verse 2 – Elaborate on the problem — what caused it?

Bridge – Discuss the solution to the problem

Verse 3 – Talk about where we go from here. In a sad song, this is where we offer hope.


Structure Of AB Song Form

AB Song Form consists of two or three verses that alternate with a second, distinct musical theme. This second distinct theme is a section called the chorus.



As with blues progressions, not all AB Song Form songs are found in the typical 32-bar length. Verses and choruses can be any length, however, most are four, eight, twelve, sixteen, or twenty-four bars long.


All About The Verse

In AB form, one of the main functions of the verse is to serve as a build-up to the chorus.

The first verse of an AB song sets-up the “story” for the rest of the song. Usually there are several verses made up of 8 lines with the last line preparing the listeners for the chorus.

Verses are often sung by an individual singer.

Don’t make your verses too long, it is important to try to reach the chorus quickly.


All About The Chorus

The chorus usually contains the song’s main message, major hook and title. This makes the chorus the catchiest, most memorable part of the song. The chorus contrasts, musically and rhythmically, with the verse and it is repeated several times throughout the song. This means the chorus is the part of the song that often sticks in the mind of a listener.

The title of the song is usually included in the chorus as well as the main theme. One important rule of thumb when writing the AB song is to try to get to the chorus quickly, so avoid writing verses that are too long.

In a chorus the individual singer is usually joined by one or more other singers. In fact the name “chorus” comes from the multiple voices that join the solo singer during this section.


Title Placement In AB Song Form

The title line or hook is usually a feature of the chorus. It can fall into any number of places in the chorus, including:

  1. First line
  2. First and third line
  3. Second and fourth line
  4. Last line
  5. The first and last line
  6. Every line

The first and last lines tend to be the strongest title / main hook positions.

The important part is simply to make your chorus memorable.


AB Song Form Examples

Examples of the AB Song Form built on typical eight-bar verses and choruses include:

  1. “Foxy Lady” (Jimi Hendrix, 1967)
  2. “Get Back” (Beatles, 1969)
  3. “Proud Mary” (Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969, written by John Fogerty)
  4. “Superstition” (Stevie Wonder, 1972)
  5. “Candle In The Wind” (Elton John, 1973, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin)
  6. “Sweet Home Alabama” (Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1974)
  7. “Hotel California” (Eagles, 1977, by Don Felder, Don Henley, and Glenn Frey)
  8. “Don’t Stop” (Fleetwood Mac, 1977, written by Christine McVie)
  9. “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” (The Police, 1981, written by Sting)
  10. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (Whitney Houston, 1987, written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam)
  11. “Oops, I Did It Again” (Britney Spears, 2000, written by Max Martin and Rami Yacoub)
  12. “Run” (Snow Patrol, 2004)
  13. “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Gotye, 2011)

Extending AB Form

VERSE / CHORUS / BRIDGE Song Form or ABC Song Form

The first and most obvious form derived from AB is that of VERSE / CHORUS / BRIDGE Song Form. ABC song form can be challenging because your song may become lengthy. This is made all the harder when you consider that a commercially viable song ideally should not exceed 3 minute and 30 seconds.


Structure of ABC Song Form

ABC song form is an extension of the simple AB or VERSE / CHORUS structure.

Often ABC Song Form uses this pattern:



It is identical in structure to AB song form with the exception that a bridge is inserted in the song structure. The bridge must be different from the verse, lyrically and rhytmically, and ideally it should offer the listener a reason for the chorus to be repeated.


The Bridge

ABC Song Form songs includes a bridge, but it usually only appears once.

bridge can be described as a piece of music that connects two primary musical themes. In isolation, a bridge can be described as feeling “incomplete”.

The bridge gives the listener a break from the main themes of a song. Usually, but not always, a bridge will return to a chorus section. It should sound different musically from both the verse and the chorus. It can either contain lyrics or be purely instrumental.

Usually the bridge section is inserted after the second chorus. This is often the point in the song that the listener is ready for something new. Some songs may place the bridge in a different location, often for lyrical reasons.

You might choose to add a bridge to your verse/chorus song for a number of reasons:

  1. To break up the repetitive back and forth effect of the simple A/B, verse/chorus form.
  2. To extend the song’s length
  3. To include necessary lyrics to move the story forward out-with the verse theme.


ABC Form Examples

  1. “If I Were A Boy” (Beyonce, 2008, by Toby Gad and BC Jean)
  2. “Fix You” (Coldplay, 2005)
  3. “Hands Tied” (Toni Braxton, 2010, by Heather Bright, Warren Felder, Harvey Mason Jr)[/blt


Other AB Derived Song Forms

Many of the other AB Form derived examples include a variety of permutations making use of a number of the modern Song Building Blocks, as mentioned above.



Sometimes there is a section inserted between each verse and chorus. It is really a form of bridge, commonly called the pre-chorus, the rise, or the climb. It’s purpose is to build tension within the song that is usually resolved by the chorus.


Examples Of AB and ABC Derived Song Forms

  1. “Crush” (David Archuleta)The structure is VERSE / PRE-CHORUS / CHORUS / VERSE / CHORUS / PRE-CHORUS / CHORUS to fade out.
    1. “Rolling in the Deep” (Adele)
    2. “Someone Like You” (Adele)
    3. “Set Fire to the Rain” (Adele)

    All of these Adele songs use: