How To Write A Popular Song - online manual

A non-technical how-to-do it system for the aspiring song writer.

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A very important point is the construction of the Refrain, or Chorus, of the song. Upon this part of the composition rests, in a majority of instances, the ultimate success or fail­ure of a song. Wherever possible, it is a very wise plan to write your chorus words so that they are equally applicable to every verse. There are exceptions to this, of course, but it is well to apply this rule pretty generally, as the public readily retains the words of the one refrain, whereas two different sets often retard popularity. In Comic, or Topical songs, the two or three lines preceding the last one are fre­quently varied, as they contain the "laugh" or "gag" line— in other words, the strong point of the verse is here revealed. The last line in the chorus, or refrain, is very rarely changed, as nearly all songs that come under the head of "Popular" depend on this line for their title. To put it shortly, get a good line for the finish of your chorus, and your successful title is assured. It is hardly necessary to add that a really good title is almost everything, though to find one is almost as difficult as the naming of the first baby. It is most es­sential that the public get their attention fixed on this line at the outset. In this way they retaiu it in their mind and know what to ask for in purchasing.
Not so many years ago, refrains to songs were not con sidered so important, but now the chorus is looked upon as the kernel of the whole song. In ninety-nine cases out of every hundred it is the words of the refrain and the melody that the public sings, whistles and hums, and so it becomes known as "the popular hit."'
Alliteration is often very effective in song lyrics. One excerpt from a well-known verse is here quoted to show the cleverness of this trick:
"Linger longer Lucy, linger longer Lou."
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III