Chorus vs. Refrain in Music Means?

Chorus vs. Refrain in Music

Chorus vs Refrain in Music – The dusk is falling, and you are sitting by the window sill, humming the chorus lyrics of your favorite song. Everything around you is peacefully quiet, and you feel like dancing to the hums of your own song, but in the midst of this calm, suddenly a question arises in your mind, and you want to know why you remember those 4-5 lines of your song by-heart and not the entire song? Why does this affect happen to every other song and not just your favorite one?

Well, we all have been perplexed about this question some or the other time in our lives, but as a matter of only a few of us are aware of the right answer. Well, it’s time to spill the beans…They are the chorus lyrics of the song, and these particular lines are repeated about 4 to 5 times in the song and consist of the most beautiful lines.

As quoted in the words of John Friedrich Richter – “Music is the moonlight in the gloomy night of life.” Music is the essence of our lives, the food to our soul, the peace to our mind, and the contentment for our hearts. One cannot imagine their life without music. Music has the ability to invigorate the intellect as well. There are numerous aspects of music to which we might listen and pay attention. Music has the ability to lift someone’s spirits, stimulate them, or soothe and rest them. Music also allows us to feel nearly or potentially all of the emotions we experience in our life, which is crucial.

Chorus vs Refrain in Music

Music is important to our lives as it soothes our soul and provides meaning to our lives and its miseries, and this is the very reason for the success of music as a commercial industry. Tons of new music genres have come up, and traditional ones have been enhanced more. But the one thing that remains common for every type of music is the – catchy phrases and irresistible music. They hook into the listener’s consciousness and are bound to remain there forever, let alone mention the name of the song, and the listener is ready to hum those lines. It is of no surprise that most lyricists save their most catchy and meaningful lines for one part of the music, and that’s the chorus.

What is a chorus?

In music, the word chorus refers to that section of the song that has the main musical motifs and the most catchy and irresistible lyrics in the entire song. This section repeats itself after every para. Commonly, these lines are repeated 2-4 times in the whole song, depending upon the musical requirements. The chorus is a key part of a song’s narrative. It’s frequently the section where the song’s biggest payoff happens when the mounting tension has finally dissipated. Despite this, a chorus can occur at any point in the song. The chorus is an important aspect of a song’s story. The song’s main idea is hidden in the chorus, and it repeats itself after every para so that everything can be connected and retraced back to the main idea. Other than this, the main task of the chorus is to mount the excitement of the audience and invest all of it into the hook created by the chorus.

Examples of a chorus:

Islands in the stream

That is what we are

No one in between

How can we be wrong

Sail away with me

To another world

And we rely on each other, ah ha

From one lover to another, ah ha.

Consider these chorus lines written by the Gibb brothers in Islands in the stream. These words contain the main motive of the whole song and are the most catchy phrases.

What is a Refrain?

Like poetry, vocal music has a defined structure, and the elements of a song are arranged into a greater musical shape. The refrain is a term used to describe one of these portions of a song. It could be a recurring word, line, verse, stanza, line, or chorus that balances the piece’s rhythm and evens the sound. When you add a refrain, it will sound more rhythmic. The word Refrain also means “repetitive phrases,” but they are different from chorus. These lines are generally smaller than the chorus. These recurring verses occur at the end of each stanza or their beginning. You may see them especially in kids rhymes, such as in “Twinkle twinkle little star,” where the hook line repeats itself at the beginning and the end of the poetry.

Examples of Refrain:

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Consider this example of a refrain in Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind. Every verse ends with the same two short lines. These phrases contain the hook but don’t express the complete idea of the song lyrics in one go.

Difference Between Chorus and Refrain

In many cases, the terms chorus and refrain are used interchangeably. Yes, in some cases, that is true because the chorus does repeat itself, which is a property of the refrain. But consider this small statement, “ All choruses are refrains, but all refrains are no choruses. “ Simple, isn’t it? Secondly, you may find refrains in any part of the song because they are just repetitive lines. But on the other hand, choruses have their own special place and specific melody, and therefore they cannot be placed anywhere.


Though both Chorus and Refrain share a thin boundary of difference between them, they both form one of the essential elements of a song and cannot be neglected. They contain the main hook and story of the song and, maybe rightly said, as the living part of the song, which creates a space for itself in the listener’s hearts. These are like hook lines whose craze seems unbeatable. The whole song owes its glory to these bunch of lines and maybe surely be abbreviated as the “jewels of the song.”

Also read How To Start Your Music Career?

Chorus vs. Refrain in Music Means?

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