Theory Made Easy - Time Structures 4

What is a Verse ?

A verse could be defined as the parts of a song where the music is repeated but the lyrics are not - as opposed to a chorus where the lyrics would be repeated.

A verse is typically 8 or 16 bars in length and usually leads up to a chorus.
In traditional song forms you could say that verses tell the story and the choruses punch home a particular point about that story.
Some music forms don't have choruses at all and just repeat verses - 12 bar blues forms do this.

The verse/chorus/verse/chorus etc. format is probably the most widely used in popular music.

To sum up what we've learned so far you could say that in terms of time a typical 16 bar verse consists of 4 lines - each line has 4 bars - each bar has 4 beats.

How to count Bars

When you break music down to 4 bar chunks it becomes easier to count the sections ( even if the music isn't 8 or 16 bars ) I tend to count up to 4 and then start on 1 again - this is useful as you then don't have to include numbers like se-ven which have 2 syllables or even worse el-ev-en which has 3 syllables . Count like this;

|1 2 3 4 | 2 2 3 4 | 3 2 3 4 | 4 2 3 4 |

Once you get to the end of the 4th bar repeat the process - you then have to remember how many 4 bar chunks you have counted which isn't that difficult.


Try to locate the verse section of a song and count how many bars there are in that section.