There is a reason why certain song structures are very often used in songwriting. A good structure leads the music listener on a journey, controls how the listener feels, and it helps maintain interest.
The bridge has an important role in this, so let’s take a look at how we can recognize the bridge in a song, and also how we can create a bridge.
The bridge is a section of a song which typically comes after the second chorus. It introduces a new musical idea in the song, something different than the chorus or the verse.
When you made the typical verse – chorus – verse – chorus repetition, you might need to put a bridge after the second chorus, to break this repetition, and make the song less monotonous.
Although, you don’t always need to have a bridge in your song. In fact, in the past 10 years or so, not many songwriters put a bridge in their songs. This mostly occurred because today’s pop music is deeply influenced by EDM.
If you are more of a traditional songwriter, or you like traditional song forms, you can still make a bridge in your song.
How to write the bridge of a song
In the Songwriting Essentials course, we learn more details about the bridge and song structure, but here are some tips for writing a bridge.
– A bridge needs to be in contrast with other parts of the song (the verse and the chorus).
– You can make contrast mostly with the chord progression. (We learn about this in the Songwriting Essentials course)
– If your bridge has the same chord progression as your verse and chorus, you can make a contrast by writing a different melody for the bridge.
– The bridge only makes sense if it comes after the second chorus.
– The bridge is almost always followed by another chorus.
– You can change the arrangement (for example the drum groove) in the bridge to make it different from other parts of the song.
– You can change the musical key in the bridge (modulate). However, keep in mind that this is a very adventurous/risky songwriting tool to use.
What alternatives do we have?
You don’t always need a bridge, and there are other alternatives to make your song more colorful.
For example, you can put an instrumental solo after the second chorus. Although this is even more rare nowadays (at least in commercial pop songs), not everyone writes commercial pop songs, like the ones you hear on radio.
For example, I write Cuban style timba music, which is somewhere between worldmusic and pop. I always put an instrumental “bridge” in my songs, listen to this one for example: https://youtu.be/nLpP7SwOUx8
You can also recycle other parts of the song, for example, nowadays they often use the pre-chorus as the bridge.
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About the Author
Producer, songwriter at Bánhidy András, and Barrio Latino Hungría. Author of The Rhythm Code.