Introduction: How to Write an AABA Song

In this How-to, you will learn the process involved in writing an AABA song. AABA represents a type of song structure, and it is used often in popular music. The As represent verses and the B represents a bridge.




Step 1: Generate Lyric Ideas.

Before you can write a song, you need a topic to explore.

  • Pick an interesting subject. It can be anything: your cat, the clouds, or your first crush
  • Write for 15 minutes. Explore the idea. Write down whatever comes to your head as you think about the subject.
  • Do not edit. There are no stupid ideas in this part of the process. Keep writing and do not erase.

Step 2: Write the First Verse.

Now that you have generated a lot of content, it is time to trim it down into a song.

  • Decide on a rhyme scheme. There are many types of rhyme schemes. The two most common and useful ones are AABB and ABAB. The letters represent which lines rhyme. In AABB, the two AA lines rhyme and the two BB lines rhyme.
  • Decide the length of the verses. It can be as short or as long as you want but remember that you will have to mimic that length in the upcoming verses. Make sure you have enough material if you choose to write a long song.
  • Do not go too far. Introduce and describe the topic in the first verse. It should be clear and concise. Leave the development for the rest of the song. For example, describe what your pet cat looks like.
  • Create an unforgettable hook. The last line of the verse should be a winner. It should be the strongest line you have. This spot in the song is reserved for the part you want people to remember and sing along with. It will also serve as a perfect song title. Keep in mind that it is good for the hook to summarize your main idea.

Step 3: Write the Second Verse.

  • Remember the patterns. Earlier you decided on a rhyme scheme and verse length. Stick to these for the second verse.
  • Develop the idea. Now that the song is in full swing, you can begin to explore the topic more. There should be more development to the narrative. If, for example, you have described what your cat looks like in the first verse. Now, it is time to talk about a certain personality quirk that they have.
  • Repeat the hook. The last line should be that unforgettable hook again.

Step 4: Write the Bridge.

  • Change up the pattern. This section of the song is about contrast. Pick a different rhyme scheme and length. It should not resemble the verses.
  • Introduce conflict into the narrative. Now that the subject has been explained thoroughly, it is time to bring in antagonism. To go with the cat example, talk about how sometimes your pet lashes out and scratches you.
  • Do not repeat the hook. This section is different from the verses.

Step 5: Write the Third Verse.

  • Return to the original form. After exploring a little bit, it is time to come back to the familiarity established at the beginning of the song. Repeat the rhyme scheme and length you have in the two other verses.
  • Bring resolution to the narrative. You have explored a subject, and now you need to bring it to a close. Using the cat example, you would want to say that you love him despite his temper and will try to work the relationship out.
  • Repeat the hook. Close the song with the strong line that punctuates the main theme.

Step 6: Polish Your Song.

  • Edit. Edit. Edit. You are not done with the song just yet. Now you have the chance to look it over with a new perspective. Are there any details missing? Do you have too much explanation in parts? Take the time to fix any clunky sounding lines.
  • Consider changing the hook. You wrote the hook after the first verse. So much has developed in the song since then. You might want to rewrite it so that it fits with each verse better. Remember it should be catchy and summarize the main theme of your song.
  • Learn from the masters. Do not be afraid to listen to songs written in AABA form to get used to the form. A good example is Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon.