40. Please explain the song structure in Band-in-a-Box

Band-in-a-Box® uses the Jazz convention that a "Chorus" is the whole song. This topic covers the terminology of:

  1. Intro
  2. Verse
  3. Chorus
  4. Bridge
  5. Tag

You'll need to use the "Framing Controls" of Band-in-a-Box®, where you set the chorus begin bar, the chorus end bar, and the number of choruses to repeat. These controls are found just below the song title window on the main screen. The defaults for a new song are [1]-[32]x[3]

How long an intro is, and what is included, is determined by what is in the 1st number box of the framing section of Band-in-a-Box®. So if your first chorus starts at bar #17, you have from bar #1 to #16 (16 bars) to do what ever you want to with. You could create a standard intro, or with instruments coming on one at a time every 4 bars. You may place part markers to go from lighter to heavier feels. You may include as many bars as you need to, but this section will only play once at the beginning of your song.

"Chorus begins at bar #17" means that everything from bar 17 to the "Chorus ends at" bar (let's choose 48) will play or repeat as many times as you have indicated in "#choruses". In this section it is a good idea to make full use of the part markers, which will give your song a different feel, especially in the bridge.

Contained within the main framing section of the song between the chorus begin and chorus end bar, the bridge is usually emphasized with the use of the "B" substyle. To make your song even more interesting, Band-in-a-Box® allows you to do style changes at any bar. Experiment with two styles that are similar, and later with wildly different styles.

The tag can also be used similarly to the intro. You can make it as long as you like. It will fall outside of the "chorus begins at" and "chorus ends at" section, and it will only play once at the end of your song, after the choruses have been played. It could consist of the chords for a bridge, a key change and chorus restatement, then a full ending. To set up the tag ending, click the [S] button found just to the right of the framing controls to bring up the Song Settings window. Place a checkmark in the Tag Exists box and then specify how you want the tag to be played by typing the bar numbers in the 'Tag jump after', 'Tag begin at', and 'Tag ends after' boxes. In our example, say we set those to 40, 49, and 56. This means that the song would play through two chorus, play the third chorus up to bar 40, then jump to bar 49 and play through to bar 56. Note: A Tag will only work if there is more than one chorus set to play. If your song only has one chorus, the a tag isn't needed.

This automatic feature can be selected if you do not want to create your own ending with held bars/instruments and/or rests. It will add 2 bars to the song and auto-create an ending for you. You can toggle the 2-bar ending on/off in the Song Settings window just underneath the Tag settings.

In summary, the entire song that we have set up in the examples above would play the following way: 1-48, 17-48, 17-40, 49-56, and if we have turned the two bar ending on, bars 57-58 would be the ending.

Band-in-a-Box® 2004 and higher also have options to use repeats, 1st/2nd endings, and codas in your song. The Repeats/1st-2nd endings/codas feature is mainly used if you need to create printed charts that show those symbols. Click here for more information about this.

Alyssa - PG Music