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Don’t Be Afraid To Repeat The Title

Something I encounter quite often… songwriters who are not inclined to repeat, within the Chorus, the Title of the song.

Sometimes repeating isn’t appropriate, of course. But I think it’s always worth keeping in mind as an option in a Title-based song.

The last thing I want is for the Title (by definition the most important line in this kind of song) to feel like ‘just another line’. Of course its placement in the melody can sometimes do the job all by itself. But sometimes that’s not the case.

Let’s say a song has a 4-line Verse and a 3-line Pre-Chorus, followed by a 4-line Chorus in which the 4th line is the Title. So that’s 11 lines in the whole section (which usually takes a minute to a minute and a half), of which only one line is the Title.

So the Title is taking up 1/11th of the lines; less than 10%. That’s not much in a song that’s supposed to be based around the Title. If the Title’s the central idea around which the song is organized, you usually want it to be the most memorable.

That’s hard to make happen when you only hear the phrase once every minute or so, or twice in two and a half minutes, etc… with a lot of other lines in between that are vying for the listener’s interest.

Usually the Title needs more emphasis than this, particularly if it’s not placed in an absolute high point of the melody. So I ask myself, what would it sound like to repeat the last line, that is, sing the Title phrase twice at the end of each Chorus? That’s sometimes the easiest (low-hanging fruit) way to address this issue – if it’s an issue.

Another way is to ask, can the Title be in the first line of the Chorus (as well as the last)? Or, if the Title is already in the first line, can it be repeated in the last line?

The Title has to take up an appropriate amount of real estate in the song. What’s appropriate varies from song to song and is, once again, a ‘feel’ thing – you can certainly also overdo it by repeating too much (although I think this is far less common).

It’s easy to forget how important the Title is and to underemphasize it. That’s what I’m warning against.

Give the Title its due. Don’t be afraid to repeat it.

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments section below:

fear of repeating title


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Bonus Title-repeating Video:

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