Help, Guides and Tips Written by Will Hicks

Getting started with Chorus

Getting started with Chorus
Getting started with Chorus

Chorus is packed with features to help you write the best songs you’ve ever written. Here we give you a quick rundown of how each feature of Chorus can help your songwriting.

Lyric sheet – focus on your lyrics

The lyric sheet in Chorus

Here’s where you write your song’s lyrics. We keep it as simple as possible and keep it free from distractions.

Down the left-hand side is your syllable count, which helps when you have a rhythmic structure you want to stick to.

Pro tip: If you hover over a word, you will see a popup with the top rhymes and related trigger words.

Chords – everything you need for songwriting without the theory

The chords panel showing the chords for the key of E major, including chord substitutions and 7ths.

The chords panel lets you hear all the chords you’re likely to need for the key of your song.

Select your root note and scale, and the chords buttons will show all the chords you would typically use in a song in that key.

The “base” chords are all the simplest chords for your scale – the standard major, minor and diminished chords that fit.

In the right column, there are the “substituted” chords. These add color to your chord progressions as they use notes that sit outside the key of your song. Read more about chord substitutions in this great article on Simple Chord Substitutions for Songwriters.

For both the “base” and “substituted” chords, you can add a 7th note, which is another way to add color to your chords. Seventh chords: How to add richness to your songs does a great job explaining how to effectively use 7ths in your songwriting.

There are lots of different instruments to choose from, and even an arpeggiator to hear each note in turn. The arpeggiator can be really useful for developing melodies that follow a chord structure.

Pro tip: Use the number keys on your keyboard to play the “base” chords. Hold Alt to play substituted chords, and hold Shift to add a 7th!

Dictionary – near rhymes, perfect rhymes, song ideas and intelligent phrase suggestions

The lyrics Genius, that writes lines and phrases

The dictionary section is the lyrical powerhouse of Chorus. You’ll find a set of tools for helping you write the most creative lyrics you’ve ever written. Whether you’re a professional writer, you’re just starting out, or you struggle with lyrics, Chorus will help you turn your ideas into finished lyrics more quickly and creatively.

Before you use any of these tools, make sure you choose the right lyrical genre for your song. These tools are all dependent on the genre – you get different suggestions if you’re writing an Alternative Rock song or a Pop song.

We analyzed the vocabulary in hundreds of thousands of songs across all kinds of genres to make sure our suggestions are as helpful as possible for you.

Pro tip: Spark creativity by trying different genres to get a unique feeling for a line or section of your song.

Rhymes – near rhymes and perfect rhymes

Type the word you want to find a rhyme for, press Enter, and you’ll see a list of perfect and near rhymes. Filter the list by the number of syllables, and narrow down your search for the perfect word.

The darker the text, the more singable and useable that word is for the genre you’ve chosen

You might find that imperfect rhymes are more useful for songwriting. Often, you

Pro tip: One mistake a lot of songwriters make is using words that are too complicated and hard to sing when a simpler, more singable word will do. Chorus helps by highlighting the singable words that fit the genre best.

Triggers – song ideas, and inspiration for that tricky second verse!

Give Triggers a word, and it’ll give you back a list of words related to it. It’s not a thesaurus that gives words that mean the same thing – the results are more conceptual. Let’s look at an example:

Say we’re writing a song set in Las Vegas, and we want some ideas that work for this song. Put “Vegas” into Triggers and you’ll get suggestions like this:

  • hotel
  • paradise
  • desert
  • motor
  • boulevard
  • strip
  • Elvis
  • Sammy
  • gambling
  • casino

See how these all give you the “feeling” of Las Vegas? This song is practically going to write itself!

“Triggers” is one of our most popular features. Lots of writers use it to build up a “palette” of words when they’re starting a new lyric. It can be really helpful to give you ideas for your second verse and make sure it’s as strong as your first verse and chorus – not always an easy feat!

Pro tip: Click on a word to look up its triggers and go on a journey discovering more related words. This will help you build up a rich palette of words for your song’s theme that you can draw upon as you write.

Genius – revolutionary AI that acts as your co-writer

Genius is a magical songwriting tool that writes lines and phrases from your prompt.

Give Genius a single word and it’ll write creative, unique phrases you can use directly or spark your own ideas. Give it a full line it’ll suggest ideas for next lines that make sense based on what you’ve written.

The style of writing depends on the genre you choose, and also the prompt you give it.

Not only does Genius understand and respond to your input, but it also has real-world knowledge to make leaps of imagination that are truly amazing.

Let’s look at an example of Genius generating some lyrics for a pop song, given the idea “Take me to another galaxy”. Genius gives us:

  • in a spaceship made of diamonds
  • I’m gonna drink it up in the milky way
  • Take me to the stars
  • You said this universe is nothing, I wanna go further
  • Just don’t forget to breathe as we float through the stars
  • I’m a star you can’t afford
  • Where I can see everything but the stars at night

Pretty impressive, I think you’ll agree!

Pro tip: Try generating more than one set of lyrics and see how Genius tries different styles, even within a single genre.

Notepad – keep your ideas separate from your lyrics

If you’ve got a word palette from Triggers, some great lines from Genius, or a chord sequence you like, the Notepad is a great place to keep these. Keeping your lyrics free from distraction is so important! You can even hide the Notepad when you don’t need it by clicking the down arrow in the corner.

Collaborate – work on the same lyric in real-time

You can invite other Chorus users to write with you using the Collaborate button in the top right corner.

This is really useful if you’re in the studio together, so you can all work on the same lyric with one person at the desk, someone else at the keyboard and someone else on the soft on their phone! You know it goes in writing sessions!

We’ve deliberately made it so that the song’s owner is the only person who can write into the lyrics part. This helps prevent making a mess in the lyrics, which often happens with something like Google Docs. Everyone can use Genius and has their own private Notepad, though, so everyone can play an active part in the writing process.


How to use all the parts together for the ultimate songwriting experience

We’ve published a guide on how to use all the parts of Chorus together to supercharge your songwriting process. Read all about Will’s personal process here, based on his experience of working in sessions with some incredibly talented songwriters: My personal Songwriting Process – How I Write With Chorus


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