Writing a Music BridgeWednesday, August 18th, 2010
A music bridge is a new section of a song that differs from the verses and choruses. A great bridge can really take your song to the next level, but sometimes we’re so focused on the verses and the choruses that we forget how powerful an amazing bridge can be.
A memorable song bridge can break up the monotony of simply switching back and forth between verses and choruses. It can be a great place to bring the dynamic level up or down in the song. It can fit nicely along with the feel of the verses and choruses, or it can throw the listener into unexpected new territory. There’s no one way to write a bridge, but here are some opportunities that you might want to capitalize on when it comes to writing the third section of your next song.
Introduce a new chord progression
A bridge allows you to bring a new chord progression into your song that hasn’t been heard before. Since the verses and choruses should generally stay consistent with each other, a bridge allows you the freedom to introduce something new. You might draw inspiration from (or use chords from) other sections of the song, or you could go the daring route and try something completely different. The sky’s the limit! A good example is ”Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison
Sometimes artists will modulate to a different key for their bridge. This can really make the section stand out from the rest of the song, and it keeps the listener interested in hearing more of the song. After you change keys, you have the option of getting back to the original key when the bridge ends, or simply staying in the new key for the rest of the song. An example of a key-changing bridge is “Summer of 69” by Bryan Adams.
Feature a solo/instrumental passage
You don’t have to go to another lyrical section of your song when the bridge comes. Many artists will use the bridge as a place to feature a guitar solo or another type of instrumental passage. This can be a great way to take a quick break from singing or feature a great musician in the band. Listen to the great guitar solo bridge of “Hot For Teacher” by Van Halen.
As I mentioned above, the bridge is a great opportunity to change the dynamics of a song. Sometimes the bridge will be a huge crescendo, and other times it will strip the song down to just a vocalist and a guitar or piano. Listen to how Audioslave does the latter, bringing it all down to just voice and acoustic guitar in “Like a Stone.”
To bridge or not to bridge?
Of course, you don’t have to write a bridge at all for your song. There are plenty of tunes that stick to verses and choruses and don’t bother with a third section. It all comes down to what’s best for your song: does it need a new section to break it up and keep the listener guessing? Or does the song hold up just fine without an extra part? Only you can decide!
If you’re having trouble figuring out where you song should go, call Studio Pros for a free project consultation with one of our producers!