I'm stuck! How to complete a great song?

This might be an question that maybe is hard to give an answer that really helps me but I give it a try! I usally start writing my songs by creating a chord progress for a verse. Playing with it with my gitarr and find a melody. So far so good. But then I want to write a chorus, bridge, intro, outro to make a complete song. AND here is where I often get stuck. Often I am happy with the verse but not with the rest … Any help how to develop my ability, hints tricks anything to help me are highly appreciated!

We talk a lot about this in our music theory books.

A couple of quick recommendations - try starting your chorus on a chord you haven’t used yet in the verse, or at least one that isn’t at the start of the verse. Like if your verse was I IV I V, maybe start the chorus on IV. Similarly for a bridge, you can utilize another unused chord, or start on a chord you haven’t started on before. In this case, maybe you could start a bridge on a vi or a ii.

Another thing you can try is taking your verse that you already like and make that the chorus, and then make the verse some type of simplified version that just contains a subset of the verse chords you already wrote and maybe has a simpler melody with less melodic movement.

As far as tools that can help you, you can use hooktheory trends and put in your verse progression and then see all the songs that use it and you can see what else those songs do and just pull an idea from one of them. Although this tool only shows the section of the song with the matching progression, you can click the song name at the top to link to all sections of that song (that have been contributed) There, you can see what other sections of those songs do.


The hooktheory cheat sheets are also a great resource to show you popular progressions in every key. You can literally grab any of those for a chorus or verse. Also at the top of the page, it lists the 20 most popular chords in that key so you can pick from any of those chords for your song. Also you can try playing any of these progressions in reverse order! Lots of times things that sound good in one direction work the other direction (not universally true, but often!) (linked cheat sheet is C major, but at bottom of cheat sheet page there are links for every key/scale)

If you don’t know how to play all of them on your guitar, you can put them into
Hookpad and hear them. Hookpad can also help a lot with chord exploration. The “magic” chord palette (for unlimited use requires subscription but you get 90 sec preview) can help.

Hope this helps!


When I was starting out writing songs, I had favorite popular songs that I would use as a template. Usually they were very simple folk-type with just verse and chorus. Not too complex. Not every song needs an intro,a bridge or an outro. Like becoming an architect. If you start out in Highschool woodshop, you learn the basics on a small scale, a birdhouse, then a shed for the garden, then help an uncle who is building a real house, then study architecture if you want. The best songwriting rule is “KEEP IT SIMPLE” then learn to add on to the basic form after studying the great songwriters. Hank Williams, Lennon & McCartney, I started 50 years ago, and that’s my experience. Keep at it!:musical_score::notes::+1: Miki

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I learned to write better songs by contributing to the Theorytab database. You’ll get an ear for it when you have to listen for melodies and transcribe them on Hookpad.