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The Ultimate Songwriting Template: A Must-Read for Songwriters!

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Songwriting can be both a very challenging and rewarding process, with endless possibilities for creativity and expression. However, it can also be a daunting task to start from scratch and craft a song that truly resonates with you and your audience. 

That’s where using a songwriting template can come in handy. A Songwriting Template is a comprehensive guide that provides a framework for creating a successful song. Just like the name suggests, it reduces the level of brain stress by providing you with a mould to build your ideas. 

The Ultimate Songwriting Template is designed to help songwriters of all levels, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician looking to streamline your creative process. 

The template begins by breaking down the key elements of a song, including melody, lyrics, and structure. It then guides you through the process of brainstorming ideas and developing them into a cohesive concept. 

From there, it offers tips for crafting a strong chorus, verses, and bridge, as well as techniques for enhancing the emotional impact of your lyrics. But The Ultimate Songwriting Template isn’t just about the technical aspects of songwriting. 

These templates also emphasize the importance of tapping into your own unique voice and style and finding ways to infuse your personality into your music. Whether you’re looking to write a hit pop song or an introspective ballad, The Ultimate Songwriting Template can help you get there. 

With its step-by-step approach, practical tips, and emphasis on creative expression, this template is an invaluable resource for any aspiring songwriter. So if you’re ready to take your music to the next level, grab your pen and paper and get ready to create something truly special.

The Key Elements of A Song – A Must-Know for Every Songwriter

Understanding the structure of a song is essential for any songwriter. It’s like learning the alphabet before writing sentences. In this section, we delve into the anatomy of a song, exploring each component, from the intro to the bridge. 

These elements contribute to the whole, with each part adding its unique flavour and emotion to the composition. 

By mastering these key elements, you position yourself to create compelling, resonant music that deeply connects with your audience. Let’s dive into the intricacies of each song element:


The intro is your song’s initial statement, it is like a handshake with the listener. Whether it’s an iconic guitar riff, a haunting piano melody, or a catchy drum beat, it’s this initial part that hooks your audience and draws them in. 

The intro sets the tone and mood for the rest of the song. It may include elements of the main melody or theme, or it can be a completely separate entity, designed purely to captivate and intrigue.


The verse is the storyteller of your song. It’s where the listener learns about the characters, the setting, and the situations they’re in. Each verse typically has different lyrics, furthering the story or developing the theme with each iteration. 

Musically, verses often contain a lower energy level compared to the chorus, serving to build up and contrast with the more intense parts of the song.


The pre-chorus, though optional, can serve as a potent transition tool. It exists to build momentum, preparing listeners for the song’s pivotal moment: the chorus. 

This section often amplifies the emotional intensity or musical energy. Lyrically, it might hint at the theme of the chorus, thereby creating anticipation and continuity.


The chorus is often the climax of the song, where the main theme or message is delivered. It’s typically the most memorable part of a song, the section you find yourself humming long after the song has ended. 

The lyrics remain the same with each repetition, reinforcing the core message or emotion. Musically, the chorus is generally the highest energy moment, with larger, more open chord progressions and strong, catchy melodies.


The hook is the “earworm” part of your song. This catchy and memorable section, whether it’s a lyrical phrase or a musical riff, is what keeps the song in your listeners’ heads long after they’ve finished listening. 

The hook can appear in different forms and at different parts of the song: the melody of the chorus, a recurring guitar riff, or a repeated lyric. The more engaging and catchy your hook is, the more likely your song is to stick in the listener’s mind.


The bridge offers a reprieve from the repetition of verses and choruses. It usually comes after the second chorus. The bridge can introduce a new melody, change the chord progression, or shift the perspective or mood of the lyrics. 

It’s a chance to add depth and complexity to surprise your listener and keep them engaged. After the bridge, the final chorus might feel even more impactful due to the contrast.


The outro serves as the concluding statement of your song. It’s the last chance to leave an impression on the listener. The outro can echo the intro, provide a reflective ending with a slow fade-out, or finish abruptly for a strong impact. 

It can be a repetition of the hook, a variation on the main theme, or an entirely new idea to leave your listener thinking. The outro should feel like a satisfying conclusion, bringing closure to the musical journey you’ve taken your listener on. Here is a table summarizing each section:

IntroThe opening section that sets the tone and grabs attention.
VerseProgresses the song’s narrative, usually with different lyrics each time.
Pre-ChorusAn optional section that builds anticipation for the chorus.
ChorusThe repeated section, often containing the song’s main theme and hooks.
HookA catchy, memorable musical phrase.
BridgeA contrasting section that introduces new elements to maintain interest.
OutroThe closing section that wraps up the song and leaves a final impression.

Ways to Notate Song Structures

Song structure notation is a useful tool for songwriters to plan and visualize the arrangement of their songs. There are two common ways to notate song structures: full notation and poetic notation.

Full Notation

This method is quite straightforward. Every part of the song is represented by its name, such as verse, chorus, bridge, etc. 

You write down the structure in the order the song follows, like “intro – verse – chorus – verse – chorus – bridge – chorus – outro.” This method is beneficial because it gives a detailed layout of the song’s arrangement, but it can get lengthy for complex songs.

Poetic Notation

In poetic notation, song sections are assigned letters (A, B, C, etc.). The first unique part, usually the verse, is labelled “A”. The next unique part, often the chorus, is “B”, and so on. 

For example, a song structure might be noted as “ABABC”, where “A” is the verse, “B” is the chorus, and “C” is the bridge. This system is more concise and allows for easy visualization of the song’s structure, especially when dealing with more complex arrangements.

Below is a table that provides examples of song structures notated in the poetic style:

Poetic NotationFull StructureDescription
ABABVerse – Chorus – Verse – ChorusA classic pop structure, clear and direct, providing a balance between repetition (chorus) and new content (verse).
ABABCBVerse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – ChorusAdding a bridge to the classic structure provides variation and a potential emotional peak or twist in the song.
AABAVerse – Verse – Chorus – VerseThis structure, often found in jazz and pop standards, gives more weight to the verses while the chorus serves as a climactic break.
ABACVerse – Chorus – Verse – BridgeThe bridge serves as a conclusion or resolution, without returning to the chorus.

8 Songwriting Templates for Every Musician

Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus (ABAB)

The ABAB structure, alternating verses and choruses, is a foundational template in songwriting, utilized across many genres. 

Its balanced repetition makes it ideal for pop, rock, country, and folk music where the catchiness of a repeated chorus is key to the song’s appeal. One classic example is The Beatles’ “Let It Be.”

Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Chorus (ABABCB)

The ABABCB structure adds a bridge into the mix, offering variation and an emotional peak before returning to the familiar chorus. 

This template fits well in genres such as pop, rock, and country, where dynamic shifts and a climactic moment are often appreciated. An iconic example is “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish.

Verse-Verse-Chorus-Verse (AABA)

The AABA structure, often found in jazz and pop standards, puts the focus on the verses while the chorus provides a climactic break. This works well for narrative-driven genres like folk, country, or singer-songwriter styles. Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” is a classic AABA song.

Verse-Chorus-Verse-Bridge (ABAC)

The ABAC structure has a bridge acting as a conclusion or resolution, without returning to the chorus. It’s a great fit for ballads, pop, or rock songs that aim for a dramatic conclusion or narrative twist. A notable example is Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees”.

Verse-Pre-Chorus-Chorus-Verse-Pre-Chorus-Chorus (ABCABC)

The ABCABC structure includes a pre-chorus, building momentum and anticipation before each chorus. 

It’s a go-to for pop music and also works well in rock, country, and electronic genres where a build-up to a high-energy chorus is essential. Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” is a prime example.

Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Chorus (ABCB)

The ABCB structure, similar to the ABAC template, adds a bridge but returns to the chorus for a satisfying conclusion. It works well in pop, rock, and country genres where a memorable final chorus is key. A prominent example is “Someone Like You” by Adele.

Verse-Verse-Bridge-Verse (AABA’)

The AABA structure is a variant of the AABA, but the final ‘A’ verse often brings a lyrical or musical change, offering a twist or resolution. This suits narrative-driven genres like folk, country, and singer-songwriter styles. Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” exemplifies this template.

Table summary

TemplateBest GenresExample
ABABPop, Rock, Country, Folk“Let It Be” – The Beatles
ABABCBPop, Rock, Country“Bad Guy” – Billie Eilish
AABAFolk, Country, Singer-Songwriter“Blowin’ in the Wind” – Bob Dylan
ABACBallads, Pop, Rock“Fake Plastic Trees” – Radiohead
ABCABCPop, Rock, Country, Electronic“Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
ABCBPop, Rock, Country“Someone Like You” – Adele
AABA’Folk, Country, Singer-Songwriter“The Sound of Silence” – Simon & Garfunkel

10 Songwriting Tips Every Songwriter Should Know

  1. Know your audience: Understanding who you’re writing for can guide your style, content, and tone. Each genre has unique attributes that appeal to its listeners.
  2. Start with a hook: A catchy melody, phrase, or beat can grab a listener’s attention from the get-go and create a foundation for your song.
  3. Practice your craft: Like any skill, songwriting improves with practice. Write regularly and experiment with different styles, structures, and themes.
  4. Embrace collaboration: Working with others can bring new perspectives and ideas to your songwriting. Collaborators can challenge you, inspire you, and push your boundaries.
  5. Write from the heart: Authenticity resonates with listeners. Write about what moves you, and what matters to you. Your personal experiences and emotions can make your songs more relatable and compelling.
  6. Study successful songs: Analyzing popular songs in your genre can teach you about effective hooks, memorable melodies, engaging lyrics, and successful structures.
  7. Show, don’t tell: Instead of stating emotions directly, depict them through vivid imagery, metaphors, and stories. This can help listeners connect more deeply with your song.
  8. Revise, revise, revise: Rarely is a song perfect on the first draft. Don’t hesitate to revise your lyrics, tweak your melody, or change your song structure if it serves the song.
  9. Be open to feedback: Constructive criticism can help you identify weaknesses in your songwriting and grow as a songwriter. Seek feedback from trusted peers, mentors, or listeners.
  10. Break the rules: While learning traditional songwriting structures and techniques is valuable, some of the greatest songs break the mould. Don’t be afraid to innovate and make your own rules.

How Do Most Songwriters Write Songs?

Songwriting processes vary greatly from one songwriter to another, and often even from one song to the next. However, some commonalities exist among many songwriters.

Lyrics First or Music First?

Some songwriters start with lyrics, crafting a compelling story or concept before adding a melody. Others start with the music, letting the rhythm, harmony, or melody inspire the lyrical content. 

Still, some songwriters develop both simultaneously, shaping the lyrics and music to complement each other from the start.

Brainstorming and Drafting

Most songwriters begin with a brainstorming session to generate ideas. This can involve free writing, mind mapping, improvising melodies, or jamming on an instrument. From these initial ideas, a rough draft of the song begins to form.

Structure and Arrangement

Once the basic elements are in place, the songwriter(s) will usually determine the song’s structure. They decide where verses, choruses, bridges, and other sections will go, shaping the song’s overall flow and dynamics.

Revision and Refinement

Songwriting is often an iterative process. After a draft is complete, songwriters typically revise and refine the song, tweaking lyrics for clarity or emotional impact, adjusting melodies for catchiness or expressiveness, and modifying the structure for better flow or dramatic effect.


Many songwriters collaborate with others. This can involve co-writing, where two or more songwriters create a song together, or getting input from producers, bandmates, or other colleagues on a song the songwriter has drafted.

Ultimately, each songwriter has their own unique process, shaped by their personal creative style, their musical background, and the genre in which they’re working.


Songwriting is an intricate craft, blending creativity, emotion, and technical skill. Whether you’re a novice songwriter dipping your toes into the world of music creation or a seasoned musician seeking new strategies, the tools and techniques discussed here can help enhance your songwriting process.

The Ultimate Songwriting Template offers a roadmap to navigate this complex craft. Understanding the key elements of a song, knowing how to notate song structures, exploring different songwriting templates, and internalizing practical tips can go a long way in creating captivating songs. 

Yet, remember that these are guidelines, not hard rules. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you.

So pick up your instrument, grab a pen, and start creating. Your next song could be your best one yet. Whether you’re looking to pen a hit single or express your deepest emotions, the world of songwriting is yours to explore.