Structure Great Content by Using Music Writing Techniques

Write content using the same structure musicians use to write songs.
Write content using the same structure musicians use to write songs. | Source

Disclaimer: This is Not a How to Write Course

This publication is written with the assumption that you know what a subject and verb is and you understand sentence structure for proper grammar and punctuation. My intent with this publication is to help you use your basic knowledge to structure content in the same manner used by musicians.

Me and the Band

Me and the band called Mosaic
Me and the band called Mosaic | Source

Learn to Write Like Musicians

Tales have been told about song writers who sat at a bar with a pen and a napkin and wrote a song that hit the top of the charts, selling millions of records on the first day it was released. We want to believe the artist was struck with pure luck when that happens. The truth is, a lot of structure goes into writing a song.

I will be sharing concepts like, Intro, Verse, Chorus, Collision, Bridge, Coda, and more to help you write content using musical structure that, when applied to writing can strengthen and enhance your writing experience. My hope is that I am able to help you produce content that is stronger and flows more like a song than mere words on a page.

I hope that I am able to help you save time when structuring the beginning, middle, and end of your publication by using these simple techniques.

What Lead Me to Write Like a Musician?

For more about me and how I came to treat writing content like a musician, read, "Write Like a Musician for Content That Flows." In the introduction, I write about my four-year gig as a lead singer in a Christian rock band. That experience led me to treat content writing the same way as I treat song writing.

Listen to Good Music and Read Good Writers

The first tip, "Familiarize Yourself With Other Artists," may sound like something I pulled out of a hat. The truth is, out of all the tips shared in this publication, this tip is probably the most important one. It is, surely, where you want to start in order to become knowledgeable about what a good song sounds like and how a good song is structured. With this knowledge, you can create a base upon which you can grow and build a more solid structure.

Familiarize Yourself With Other Artists
Musicians listen to other musicians. A song that is on the Billboard’s Top Ten chart is there for a reason. It is there because people enjoy the song and pay money to listen to that song. So, it makes sense to listen to top performing songs to discover what makes it so popular.

Familiarization as it is applied to content writing - In the same sense that musicians listen to music, writers must read the content that other writers write. Read the works of famous writers such as Lord Byron, Maya Angelou, Shakespeare, and Tennessee Williams. All of these writers are famous for creative structure of their sentences and paragraphs written in such a way that when you read them, they sound like musical lyrics.

Tell a Story

We all have a story worth sharing, but no matter how great your story, if it is not well-written, you may not have many readers. Write like a musician to draw readers in and have them wanting to read everything you write.

The story
When a song writer sets out to write a song, he or she normally has a single-focused, distinct story to tell. Have you listened to any Taylor Swift songs lately? If so, you know many of her songs are about how her boyfriend did her wrong. The song titled, “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams is a song about being happy. No matter what song you hear, there is one definitive story to tell or message to convey.

The story as it is applied to content writing – When you write content, write with one story or message in mind. Be clear about what you intend to convey to the reader and write about that subject only.

If you are an online content writer, then you have an even greater responsibility with regard to the story or message. Online readers have a short attention span. You only have a few seconds, at most to capture their attention. After that, you only have a few minutes to keep them interested in reading your message. Be succinct, tell them the story or message they are going to receive and then deliver it quickly or you will lose them.

Attention Span of Internet Readers

  • 49% of readers read an average of 593 words per web page.
  • Readers will only spend 2.4 seconds more for each additional 100 words.

By the way, a typical song length is not longer than four minutes. Likewise, if you are an online writer, you want to write publications that are approximately 1500 to 2000 words or less. Longer publications are alright, so long as the information is valuable throughout the publication. Considering the attention span of most online readers, whenever you can convey your message succinctly, it is best to do so. You’ve got to capture the readers' attention quickly and keep their attention throughout your publication.

If you find that you have a lot of content to share about a subject, then it might be wise to divide the content into different parts.

Music Components

Music has various components generally known as, Intro, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, and Coda. For a more in depth explanation of each of the components and more, please read my publication titled, "Write Like a Musician for Content That Flows." In that publication, I give detailed information about song components and show you how to get your your content to read like a song.

Brief explanation of music components

  • Intro - The Intro is the opening of the song. It is used to bring the listener into the song.
  • Verse - The Verse is a set of lyrics set to a segment of music. There can be multiple verses in a song.
  • Chorus - The Chorus is a set of lyrics set to a segment of music that is different than the verse. The course remains the same throughout the song.
  • Bridge - The Bridge connects the verse and chorus. It is a contrast with the verse.
  • Collision - The Collision is a dramatic section of music that breaks up the monotony of the song.
  • Coda - The Coda is also known as the outro and is a way of ending the song.

Develop a Format or Structure

When you listen to a song, you can recognize the format (structure) of the song. Musicians are free to structure songs in whatever sequence fits the needs of the song. Still, it is typical to format a song using the following structure:

Intro / Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Bridge / Verse / Coda


I really want you to listen to this song titled, "Who Loves You," by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. It is a great song and you will become familiar with music structure by listening. The song is just over four minutes long and is a valuable listening tool. Plus, I think you will enjoy it a lot.

Hit the PLAY button now. Then continue reading for more tips.

Who Loves You

Did you enjoy Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons? Were you able to identify the various components and experience the flow of this song?

Chorus / Verse 1 / Chorus / Verse 2 / Chorus / Bridge / 1/2 Chorus / Coda

Structure as it is applied to content writing - Writers use sentence structure to format a flow. We write simple sentences. We write complex sentences. Some sentences are long. Some are short. We punctuate, articulate, accentuate, and more. Everything we do attributes to the flow in a way that when your content is read, the flow contributes to the overall experience of the reader.

For example, you can use short sentences to generate excitement or urgency. Use longer sentences to portray mellow circumstances. You can stretch out a sentence to create drama and write as if you are not in a hurry to get to the end of the sentence. Use interjections like, “ah” to express a sudden emotion, or "so" to help the reader pause. Even using contractions can be effective in helping create the flow you desire.

Just like most song writers write an Intro, Verse, Chorus, and Coda, make sure the content you write has a well-defined beginning, middle, and end.

The Beginning (Intro)

Every song has a beginning. The beginning can be instrumental or a cappella (without instrumentation). The beginning of the song is designed to bring the listener into the song. It can be soft or dynamic. However the song is introduced, the intro’s purpose is to engage the listener so that they want to hear more of the song.

The Intro as it is applied to content writing – Invite readers into your content. At the very beginning of your publication, let the readers know what they will be reading. Tell the reader exactly what you are going to cover in your content. Consider the reader's curiosity. Assure the reader that you are a credible source for the content they are about to read. Share a little about your expertise or how you are connected with the content.This will validate you as a credible writer for the subject you are sharing and set the reader's mind at ease as they continue reading your publication. Remember, this is just an introduction, so keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

The Middle (Verses)

A song usually has several verses. While lyrics in the verses are normally set to the same style of music, each verse has a different set of lyrics. The message is still the same, but the lyrics in each verse move the song along to convey a complete message.

The Verses as they are applied to content writing – I like to think of verses as the sentences that comprise the paragraph. While each paragraph is different, each paragraph moves the story or message along. Each paragraph leads the reader through the content to a place where the reader has received the ultimate promise given in the introduction of the publication.

Accompanying Material (The Bridge)

In music, the bridge connects the verse and chorus. The bridge can be all instrumental, a capella, or whatever the musician wants. It is a musical component that is designed to bring the verse and chorus together in a creative manner. Not every song has a bridge. It is a component that is used in songs where doing something different makes the song more interesting.

The Bridge as it is applied to content writing – When writing content, writers have an opportunity to include accompanying material, such as photos, videos, quotes, biographies, interviews, tables, charts, almost any material that enhances the story or content. A video pertaining to the subject can be entertaining, yet give the reader a break from reading, a chance to think, or a chance to become more engaged with your material. Include visual aids. They are a way to tie thoughts together and enhance your content.

Spice up Your Content (Collision)

In music, a collision is a section of music that is meant to be dramatic. It breaks up the monotony of the song.

The Collision as it is applied to content writing – Spice up your content. Spark some kind of elevated emotion or interest in your content. This can be done with remarks or accompanying photos, videos, or quotes that create additional interest or drama. The collision is a little different than the bridge. The bridge is designed to validate your story. While the Collision can be used to validate your story, the Collision is designed to stir things up. The Collision can be a place where you could insert your candid and passionate opinion or plea. You could also use the Collision to share the opinion of someone else who has a strong opinion for or against your content. The Collision is an optional component that can be effective in keeping a reader's attention.

The End (Coda)

Rather than abruptly ending a song, musicians end a song in a number of ways. They may do a simple fade-out where the song ends on a progressively quiet note. They may sing a portion of the chorus or a portion of the verse. Or, they may sing an entirely different stanza designed specifically to be sang at the end of the song.

The Coda as it is applied to content writing – In writing, the writer wants to give a recap of the content. Summarize what was written and what you hope the reader gained from reading your story or content.

Write Like a Musician

As you can see, a lot of structure goes into writing a song. I hope that now you are able to write like a musician, applying the techniques of song writing to content writing in a way that produces great content that readers want to read.

Statistics Resource

Attention Span Statistics - StatisticBrain.com

© 2014 Marlene Bertrand

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Comments 47 comments

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 21 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello B. Leekley. Thank you for your feedback. I like what you said about deleting what is not the story. That is an excellent tip.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 21 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Songs can also teach by example the use of figures of speech, symbolic imagery, and other writing techniques. An example is the Hank Williams song "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry".

I agree re the importance of what you say about story. When editing a rough draft, I strive to delete whatever is not the story (or, for some nonfiction, the argument). Whatever is not the story distracts and bogs down the reader and impedes the flow, the forward motion, of the work.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 22 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi aesta1. You are absolutely right. Writing to some kind of rhythm really does make it easy to write.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 22 months ago from Ontario, Canada

I suppose you get into the rhythm so it easy to write.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you, Dhruvjad, for your very kind compliment.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello psychicdog.net! Thank you very much for your feedback. Yes, I, too remember those music lesson days of the past quite well.


psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 2 years ago

Nice one Marlene...as a muso found this interesting but a coda! that one made me laugh and think hard at the same time - go back to the sign and then jump off to the coda. As well as that the Franki eValli classic was huge for me...keep up the good work!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your compliment, Dhruvjad. It means a lot.


Dhruvjad profile image

Dhruvjad 2 years ago from Jamshedpur


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your compliment, supercibor. I feel fortunate that I was able to learn the nuances of various instruments. I think that gave me an edge when leading a group of talented musicians. Transferring my musical experience to writing was, indeed a challenge, but once overcome, has helped me to become a better writer (I think).


supercibor profile image

supercibor 2 years ago from Dominican Republic

This is a very interesting approach to writing although there are coincidences musicians must deal with different instruments and we aspiring writers need to use our hands and imagination to try to make sense about what we write to our readers. Great hub. I enjoyed it.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi AudreyHowitt. Thank you very much for your compliment. Your feedback means a lot to me.


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AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Really an interesting way to look at the process. And congrats on the HOTD!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello fibrogirl. Thank you so much for your comment. I am thrilled to read that this hub is helpful to you. I was actually writing a song when the idea of this hub hit me like a ton of bricks. I began thinking about how similar content writing is to song writing and before long I had written one extra long hub that I had to split into two hubs. Music has a way of moving people and that's what I want my writing to do. So, your compliment (and the compliments of everyone here) means a lot to me.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello ladyguitarpicker! I see that you are a musician yourself! So, you already have a head start on writing like a musician. Thank you for your wonderful comment.


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MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you, poetryman6969, for your feedback.


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MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you, melpor! I do hope that when you try writing like a musician, that you will find a lot of joy in writing this way.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello greatstuff. I am glad you enjoyed it. I hope you give it a try to see how it works for you.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you, Kappygirl, for your positive feedback. Music is one of those things that can be applied to just about anything, or so I'd like to think it can.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello mary615. Thank you for letting me know about the video. I just tried it myself and it didn't play for me either. I'll get that fixed. I truly appreciate your feedback and support.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you, Colin323. As a former musician, I could hardly resist putting the two together.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you ChitrangadaSharan. You are such a wonderful supporter. I truly value your feedback.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi mySuccess8. Thank you very much for your positive feedback. Music is such a great part of my life that it makes sense to apply music writing techniques to content writing. It works for me and I hope it works for others, as well.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello doris and me! I am very glad you enjoyed reading this hub. I am also glad it is helpful to you.


fibrogirl profile image

fibrogirl 2 years ago from Ocala, Florida

I just had to tell you that this article made my writing "lightbulb" come on. I have always struggled with organizing my articles and writings. Sometimes it feels like a big jigsaw puzzle and I can never get all the pieces to fit neatly and snugly. But as a music lover (I'm a karaoke host & D.J. and also have played piano and flute), your association between writing and music made some things come into focus for me. Thank you so much!


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Hi Marlene, enjoyed reading your hub I have only tried to write a few times. This was interesting. Stella


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 2 years ago

Interesting hub!


melpor profile image

melpor 2 years ago from New Jersey, USA

This is a very interesting approach to to writing content. I will try to use your suggestions mentioned here in the future. Thanks. Voted up.


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 2 years ago from Malaysia

This is an interesting concept, which I have now got to learn and apply. Thanks MarleneB for sharing this, and congrats on your HOTD.


Kappygirl profile image

Kappygirl 2 years ago

Being in a family of musicians and being an avid music lover, this made a lot of sense. It is very well-written, easy to follow and has valuable information. Thanks for sharing!


mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida

Congrats on HOTD. I clicked on the video to listen, but it won't play. As a musician, I did enjoy this Hub and can understand what you are saying.

Voted UP, etc. and shared.


Colin323 2 years ago

A most interesting article, making the link between writing and music in an engaging and interesting way. Bravo.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Just came back to congratulate you for HOTD, for this wonderful hub!

Enjoy the day!


mySuccess8 profile image

mySuccess8 2 years ago

I was already amazed before this by your other Hub which also won the Hub of the Day accolade then, that is, “Write Like a Musician for Content That Flows”. This other related Hub reinforces my appreciation and understanding for this unique technique you have introduced. This technique also has some similarities to one of the key techniques for singing well (as explained in my Hub on singing) which can be applied to content writing, that is: “singing is about emotions, expressions, and acting through a song. It conveys stories, messages and feelings, and can influence listeners. Get emotionally involved with the lyrics in the song, believe what you are singing, and inject it with so much vitality and life. Try to connect to the song through some personal life experience.” Congrats on Hub of the Day!


doris and me profile image

doris and me 2 years ago from Dhaka

This is article is very much helpful to me. Especially i like the structure of the music components.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello spartucusjones. For a long time, music was my world. Now, writing is a great part of my world. Pairing writing and music just seemed like a natural evolvement. Your feedback is very inspirational. Thank you.


spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 2 years ago from Parts Unknown

I read this after reading your HOTD about how songwriting structure can be applied to content writing. Just like that one I found this to be most informative. As a music fan I definitely agree that the elements of a great song can be carried over into writing compelling online content. Thanks for sharing!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello vkwok. You are quite welcome, although you have a wonderful way of writing already. I really enjoy your work.


vkwok profile image

vkwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

Really thanks so much for sharing this way of writing with us!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you DDE. I am so glad you read and hope it is helpful. But, I have to admit, that song is stuck in my head now (smile). I really enjoyed it and hope you did as well.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello ChitrangadaSharan. I found that matching music and writing together makes it easier for me to stay on track when writing. Thank you so much for your very positive comments.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Great concepts put together. I am so glad to have read this interesting hub.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Very nice concept about structuring content by using music writing techniques. Good music has a flow and by your suggestions, the content would also have a flow. capable of retaining the reader's attention right through and till the end.

Enjoyed the hub and the video is equally wonderful. Thanks!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello MJ Martin. Music has been a delightful part of my life. But, now I enjoy writing. Combining the concept of writing music to writing content has actually made it easier to understand the process of writing. Thank you for your feedback and for your support.


MJ Martin profile image

MJ Martin 2 years ago from Washington State

I found this extremely helpful and useful. I will be coming back often to this example of a great way to accomplish better writing. Thumbs up and shared.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Good morning, repoprimo. Your comment reflected exactly what I wanted to do with this piece. It brought a warm feeling to my heart to hear you say that. You are so kind. Thank you for your generous feedback.


repoprimo profile image

repoprimo 2 years ago from California

Good Morning Marlene. I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed your piece, in it's entirety. The Video was an especially nice touch! The way you put the article together was masterful, in my opinion, and you touched something that I have forgotten, all too many times, in my writing and format considerations. I believe there are many of us, whom get so caught up with putting a piece together, that we forget to ensure our message and writing flows properly. I definitely have to say, you have brought about some pretty important things here, and in some of your other works, which I will definitely start being a little bit more mindful of. THANK YOU, for this. A definite Must Read!

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