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What’s A Song Bridge For?

What’s A Song Bridge For?

How is a bridge different from a verse or a chorus?  Do you even need one in your song?

Understanding all of the different song parts, or song elements, is sometimes confusing, but an essential part of creating a great song. While you can always find the definition of a bridge, what does that really mean when you’re writing?

How should you be thinking about the overall structure and the role of the bridge in your song?

We’ll break down the role of the bridge and how it fits into the song elements that combine to create your song lyric. We’ll also give you some guidelines on deciding whether or not you even need one!

Bridge
Is The “A-HA Moment” Of The Lyric

It’s role includes:

  1. Creating a new perspective on the central idea
  2. Upsetting the balance of the song by creating another contrasting moment
  3. Resolving back to the chorus to re-establish the prior balance

What does “creating a new perspective” even mean?

To me, it’s the “A-HA Moment” for the speaker.

The BRIDGE usually turns the central idea on its head by seeing it from a different perspective. It’s the moment when the speaker thinks, holy smokes, I’m not really alone, i have you!  i.e., the “A-HA! Moment”.

If you’re a poet, it occurs in a poem towards the end: the lines are chugging along making great insights, and then wham, there are two lines that take the whole thing into a new direction on the central idea. It’s the revelation for the poet.

Your BRIDGE should also employ contrast in order to create a sense of tension. It needs to call attention to itself in a way different from both your verse and chorus.

 

Contrast
Allows you to separate your song elements within the lyric so the listener has a clear signal that something has changed.

You can achieve contrast in your chorus in many of the same ways you would for your chorus:

  • Changing your rhyme pattern (this one should be a given as part of your writing)
  • Changing the length of your phrases (short in the verse, long in the chorus)
  • Reversing your chord structure used in the verse
  • Using the same chords, but altering your phrasing
  • Changing up where the stresses occur in the phrases
  • Shifting key or time signature, as well as
  • Finding variations of chords in the same key
  • Using chords in the key not yet employed in the song

 

Should You Have A Bridge?
It’s a big question, and one you can ask a few simple questions to determine:

  • Does the song require an insight by the speaker to complete the central idea?
  • Will the imbalance created by a bridge be easily resolved back to the song structure?
  • Is your story so linear, veering off with another concept will create confusion?

If the answer is “NO” to any of the above – don’t add a BRIDGE!

 

Because songs start from the ground up:

Forming The Lyric
Syllables -> Gather Into Words -> Words Form Into Phrases -> Phrases Stack Into Elements ->

which . . .

All Combine To Form The Lyric

 

it’s important to know how the different sections or song elements and key phrases impact your lyric!

Song Elements

 

More About The Bridge

 





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