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How I Give The Chorus More Impact

Last updated: January 2, 2023
Written by Bradley J Simons
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Reading time: 3-5 minutes

Hey everyone, it's Bradley J Simons here.

In today's video blog, I want to show you some of the ways to make the chorus have more of an impact in my productions. Why does this matter?

In music, this means we want to help the listener feel the big moments. It's these moments that make a song more memorable.

Here's a summary, but watch the video above for detailed explanation!

1. Make things wider

A great way to start is by finding elements that have a stereo element to them and making them wider in the chorus. You can also do the inverse by making them more narrow in the verse.

Some common elements I use for this are synths, overheads, guitars, etc.

  • If already a stereo element, automate the panning towards the center in the verse and outwards in the chorus

  • If a mono element, duplicate the track, copy non-correlating parts on top of each other, and hard pan for width (see video for explanation)

  • Add a stereo reverb or delay on the chorus to add width with FX

  • 2. Add impactful sounds to the downbeat

    This can really help the listener feel the downbeat, spoon feeding them the chorus.

    2023 Update: some of these techniques are getting a little out of style, but are still useful to have in your tool box!

    3. Filter or drop out elements at the end of the verse

    Sometimes a great way for the chorus to feel bigger is to make the verse feel smaller. I like to do this in two ways:

  • Mute elements that have a decent amount of low end information, such as synths, rhythm guitars, basses, etc.

  • Filter elements using automation. Use a high pass filter on elements that have a lot of low information, and a lo pass filter on elements that have a lot of high end information.

  • 4. Add a sub bass

    This is a super effective technique to make the chorus feel bigger. Add a sub bass sound and typically either copy the bass line or simply play the root notes of the chord progression

    This brings a lot of dimensionality to the chorus, as it feels like it stands up on a strong foundation. There's a warm cozy feeling you get when the bottom end fills out.

    5. Add Volume Automation

    This is the easiest way to add impact. If you have elements that play through the verse into the chorus, draw volume automation to outline the change to the chorus.

    I think this works best with elements that are less in the focus, so synths, pads, rhythm guitars, basses, etc. I'm less fond of this on drums and vocals, but that's my taste.

    Start by loading up the volume automation track and setting a node at the beginning of the verse. Then add a node at the end of the verse that is down 2 - 3 dB from the beginning. Add one more node at the beginning of the chorus that jumps the volume back up to the original.

    This makes that element gradually get quieter throughout the verse, and the pop back up on the downbeat of the chorus


    Hope that helps give you some ideas to make your choruses sound bigger! Thanks for reading :)


    Juno nominated canadian musician, producer, and founder of Velveteen Music, Bradley J Simons

    Bradley J Simons

    Bradley is a Canadian musician, producer, and is the founder of Velveteen Music. His work has been nominated for 3 Juno Awards, and he has toured Canada and the US as a session guitarist. In addition to making music, Bradley also develops software for Velveteen.
    Person tweaking eq settings on a Neve 1073 DPX at Velveteen Music's Edmonton recording studio

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