Skip to main content

How to Form a Basic Pop Song on the Drums

Learn how to form a basic pop song from drum teacher Jason Gianni in this Howcast drum video.


I'm going to talk to you now about basic form for a pop song, and there are many ways you can go with this just based on the song you're playing, or the style of music you're playing, but we're just going to talk about a generic pop song right now.

Typically, what you're going to find is that you have sort of an introduction, and then you're going to sort of get to the body of the song. And the body of the song usually comprises of a verse, normally a prechorus, and a chorus And that usually happens a few times, usually twice. After the second chorus may come a bridge, or some sort of solo, like a guitar solo or a keyboard solo, or a piano solo, even a vocal thing. And then often times it returns back to another verse or prechorus. It usually ends in something called a double chorus where the chorus happens twice and typically ends after that. That's your usual form for a pop song. There are, of course, many variations and ways to get in and out of that, but that's a good place to start.

From a drumming perspective, it's up to you to outline how that works. Either section has a certain amount of bars that you play; eight bras, typically, sometimes four bars is typical, and what you would is vary what you play depending on the section. A lot of times in a verse what you're going to find is you're going to play a tight high hat and a standard, easier, lighter groove. When you get in to a prechorus, it might pick up a little bit and go into a looser high hat or maybe even perhaps the ride cymbal. And then when you get into a chorus section, you'll probably go to the ride cymbal and come off the pattern that you were doing before. While this is going on, you're outline the sections with four bar phrases, fills, crash cymbals. What I'm going to play for you right now is a four bar phrase in each section. I'm going to start with standard pattern on a closed high hat and go to a little bit of a busier or looser pattern for the prechorus, and finally end up in a pattern for our chorus on the ride cymbal, with maybe some left foot action in there. And I'm going to start with some easy grooves and some easy fills to work off into the end of the section. It will sound something like this.

One, two, three, four.

[plays music]

And that's just the general outline for a verse, for a prechorus, and chorus. In a regular song, you might get more sections, might get longer sections. But that's where you want to start with how to build ideas through your song and complement the music.

Popular Categories