The verse is the part of a song contrasting with the chorus. Its function is to expound the excerpt contents or story.
It is often repeated that is the chorus or sometimes the bridge follow two verses.
Here there are the main features of a verse:
- usually 8 or 16 bars
- not too high melody
- it is often repeated uninterruptedly (4+4 or 8+8)
- light enough orchestration
Music theory and harmonic features of a pop song verse
Considering harmony the verse usually has a series of precise chords that means they have been written just for this song part
There are several possibilities of these combinations.
Here there are some of them:
- the verse chords can be a simple chords turn in the tonality: for example this is a typical progression I-VI-IV-V in major (such as C-A min- F- G7) and in minor (Cmin7-Ab-Fmin-G7) or I-VI-III-VII in natural minor tonality (Cmin7-Ab-Eb-Bb7)-
- the chords can be a simple blues that is 12 bars of a major blues which can also repeated
- sometimes the verse chords are simply two, such as a I-IV in minor or II-V in major (for example: Gmin7-C7)
- sometimes there is a chord progression with the bass drop to tones and semitones always keeping the same chord (for example: D min- Dmin/C#-D min /C-D min/B-D
- usually there are no modulations or key changes in the verse
However there is not a precise rule; the artist or composer has got a complete stylistic and harmonic freedom. What is important is a pleasant result.
Considerations about a verse of pop song
I have wrote in a page the main chords progressions used in pop songs. The verse is a preparation to the chorus. I suggest not to compose a verse too much long, but to limit its duration at about 30-60 seconds in order to leave high the listeners’ tension and interest.