Understanding Song Structure & Arrangements

This article breaks down the basics of what a song consists of and common song structure.

Understanding Song Structure & Arrangements

Common Song Structures

Once you have a good understanding of putting together a beat, next you need to understand song structures. Different music genres are laid out differently. Song tempo and length may vary.

Common Sound Sections

  • Intro – Usually has fewer elements and builds up to the verse or hook.
  • Verse – Usually simpler version of the beat, allowing room for vocals. Usually 16 bars.
  • Hook – Usually has the most elements in a song and repeats a chorus. Usually 8 bars.
  • Bridge – Usually appears before the last verse. Usually appears in R&B and Pop songs. Usually 8 bars.
  • Outro – Usually fades the song out.
  • Solo – This is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung by a single performer.

Common Song Structures

IntroVerseHookVerseHook VerseHook Outro


IntroHookVerseHook VerseHook VerseHook Outro

R&B Songs

Intro VerseHookVerseHook Bridge Hook Hook Outro

Rock Songs

Intro VerseHook VerseHook Solo Hook Hook Outro

The examples above are just examples. You should study your favorite songs to see how they are structured. You can also search Genius.com for song lyrics, and see the order of song lyrics.

Helpful Links on Song Structure

If you have tips on song arrangements, please share in the comments below.

Next Step: Audio Mixing

This article is a part of How to Make Beats series.

Mark V.

Written By Mark V.
Hip Hop Makers is a music production website launched in 2008 to teach music lovers how to make music, sell beats, and make money from music.


  1. The 16 bar verse and 8 bar hook you mention is important. I always recommend it as a starting point for beginner beat makers. I sent someone a huge email about this earlier in the month. I’ve found those that stick to this structure in the beginning of their beat-making are able to transition to different song structures better as they progress. The opposite is those that have tried to make a quirky song structure straight away…it’s kind of a know the rules before you break them situation.

    thanks for the article.

  2. Thank you!

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