Five Different Types of Introductions You Can Use In Songwriting

Sure, your song needs to have smart lyrics and a catchy chorus that people won’t be able to get out of their minds, but just because you have those two things, that doesn’t mean you’re done working on your latest track. You also need to know how the parts of your song fit together, and make sure that the tune is introduced in a way that will grab people from the first note and hook them, forcing them to stay tuned in to hear more.

Your song’s intro sets the tone, rhythm, key, and overall feel in just a few seconds. No, it’s not easy to master, but nobody said this was going to be a simple process.

There’s no wrong way to write an intro, but analyzing popular and indie music and the songwriting that goes into making a hit can help you identify some common types of intros heard in music. After reading below and doing further research, it’s up to you to figure out how you can apply these tips and formulas into your own music.

Do you have a new single or album you’re just waiting to share with the world? Let’s see how we can make it your biggest one yet.

In This Article: 

Do I Start Writing A Song With The Intro?
What Are Different Types Of Introductions For Songwriting?
Begin First Verse Immediately
Begin Chorus/Hook Immediately
Verse Or Chorus Chord Progression Introduction
Instrumental Verse/Chorus
Separately Written Or Composed Introductions


Do I Start Writing A Song With The Intro? 

There are very few “wrong answers” in songwriting, but as the intro will generally be reflecting the hook, chorus, chord progression, or other elements of the completed track, you typically would find yourself creating the intro after the structure and chord progression of the song is written. Essentially, while the intro may come first, it may wind up being one of the last things you tackle in the creation of a tune. 

That’s not to say that you can’t start writing with the intro, but you may be going about the songwriting process in a way that’s tougher than it needs to be.

 pexels photo 1054713 1024x683 - Five Different Types of Introductions You Can Use In Songwriting


What Are Different Types Of Introductions For Songwriting?

This article is mainly focused on non-electronic music (sorry EDMers), so we’ll mainly be focusing on the introductions present in folk, rock, indie, funk, and pop in order to put together our list of common intros. 


Begin First Verse Immediately 

Record companies are constantly harping about how listeners in today’s world have an incredibly short attention span, so a common introduction these days is to just start directly with the first verse. Depending on how your verses begin, you may want to include a more “silent” rhythm introduction (say a nodding of a head as a lead in), a drummer keeping time with rimshots, or even just a standard “1, 2, 3, 4” type of count in. You can spend some time trying to come up with a creative option, but keep it short, sweet and memorable if you do.


Begin Chorus/Hook Immediately 

“Don’t bore us – get to the chorus” is an aptly titled greatest hits album released by the Roxette’s in the mid ’90s, and encapsulates this type of introduction completely.  Using any of the rhythm introductions above just launch directly into your chorus.  Depending on the speed and rhythm of the song this is a good way to keep a song high-energy without needing to ‘waste time’ building up to your hook.

Need some advice on how to take your career to the next level? Let’s chat! (323) 952-5050

pexels photo 7097822 683x1024 - Five Different Types of Introductions You Can Use In Songwriting


Verse Or Chorus Chord Progression Introduction

This is another very common way to start songs, and it involves playing the chord progression of your song one or more times through and then starting the vocals. This helps establish the keys, rhythms, and in some cases melodies the track will contain and it can help a listener become accustomed to the music they’ll be hearing.

You can also use this time to help slowly bring in different instruments – perhaps starting with a guitar for the first time around the progression, bass second, drums third, piano fourth, or any combination, just as an example.

Depending on the song’s structure you have a few options for using a “no-vocals” chord progression to start:

  • End of or Full Chorus Introduction: Oftentimes you’ll find that the chorus itself (or even just the second half of it, or ending chords) can make for an excellent introduction to a song. In many popular folk tunes, the “end of the chorus” is used as it naturally provides a good start to the verse, as choruses generally precede a verse. This also gives listeners a “taste” of the chorus or hook right away.
  • Verse Introduction: Just a simple 1x, 2x, 3x or more depending on your tastes, around the verse’s progression helps create a natural way to build in energy as a song begins.
  • Single Chord Introduction: Sometimes there isn’t a need (or the time available) to work your way through an entire verse or chorus of a song. You can easily just strum, fingerpick, and play the main root note (or other notes) of the song to help establish the key and then launch right into the chorus or verse.


Instrumental Verse / Chorus

A bit of a step above just playing the chord progression of the verse or chorus is to focus on adding in instrumental melodies on top of those chord progression.

This section can be a hint to a later vocal melody (verse or chorus) or even used to help allude to an instrumental solo or other non-vocal sequence played later in the song. This approach helps get people quickly into the song without jumping right into the vocals. 

radio promotion company


Separately Written Or Composed Introductions

An introduction doesn’t have to mirror the verse or the chorus every time. While it is a common strategy, there are plenty of examples of hit songs that just contain an introduction that has been composed separately and which stands on its own.

While this would generally be using the same chords present in the original key of the song, don’t be afraid to experiment. Some of the following types of “non-traditional” introductions are used widely:

  • Modulating down or up to the song’s main key
  • Writing an intro in a major or minor key opposite of the song’s main key
  • Using different dynamics in the intro – such as starting with louder more high-energy sounds and then dropping that down to a softer style

Okay, so you’ve got your intro, chorus, verses and the song is ready for the world to hear. So, now what? Now you begin promoting it, of course!