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Mapping Form: The Superchorus

The superchorus is a section in popular music form that exists besides the chorus, but functions as an even greater climax.

The superchorus usually occurs at the end of a song and can be interpreted as a sort of "closing remarks" or a summary of the contents of the rest of the song. The superchorus can work as a summary both musically - by releasing the tension that has been built up so far - and lyrically - by for example conveying broader remarks on the meaning presented in the choruses and verses.

Generally, if we see each set of verses + pre-choruses as summarized by the succeeding chorus, these rotations, or sub-summaries, will in turn be summarized and commented on by the superchorus:

(V - P - C) - (V - P - C) - ... - S!

Where V = Verse, P = Pre-chorus, C = Chorus and S! = Superchorus.

The superchorus is found in Japanese pop music where choruses usually have slightly different lyrics each time they occur, making it possible to try and summarize the choruses themselves. Though it has to be said that the superchorus is only really found in the most ambitious storytelling styles. In Western style pop music, there may be less need for summary, since the normal chorus already has this function.

To give an idea of how it can be used, let's take a look at Stardust by Sound Horizon:

C - riff - V - V - P - C - bridge - C - C - S! - riff

The song's normal chorus presents a lie the main character repeats to herself («We match each other, don't you think?»), while the superchorus presents the repressed truth finally bursting forth, unable to be contained:

«Those frozen silver-blue stars flare with the light of death As I dream of a Paradise lost, I am led by the light of the stardust»

We find another example in Asriel's Scarlet:

intro - riff - V - P - C - riff - V - P - C - bridge - P - C - S! - riff - outro

In this song, the main character is helping the depressed people they meet pick themselves up. In the verses, she empathizes with them; in the pre-choruses she gives them advice; in the choruses she rejoices; and finally in the superchorus, she mentions a dream she has, that she wants to see fulfilled, and for that purpose she will continue to shine. In this case, the superchorus reveals the deeper motivation of the main character and serves a revelatory function.

The narrative potential of the superchorus is to a large degree untapped and exciting to think about. If you know any other examples, feel free to post them in the comments below.

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