What Is a Bridge in a Song - Recommendations and Best Practices

by Jared West

How would you like us to do a drill before we proceed? Tell me, what comes to mind first when you're asked to mention a living thing with several parts interwoven to give a single entity? (relate your answers in the comment section). Well, for me, and sure for most of you, it's the human body! The human body is made up of lots of parts which, individually, carry out separate functions but, come together as a whole to achieve one purpose.

What Is a Bridge in a Song : Recommendations and Best Practices

The understanding of this simple illustration will pave the way into our main focus today- what is a bridge in a song?

What Is a Bridge in a Song : Recommendations and Best Practices
What Is a Bridge in a Song : Recommendations and Best Practices

I tell you, the particular group of people or the individual who came up with the terminology for the components or parts of new-age songs did commit attention and precision to the job-applause for the person(s).

And what are these components?; Chorus , Verse , and bridge . To be honest, each name given to these parts significantly typifies what they do in songs. Simply put, the naming relates entirely to their roles.

So that you know, Verse has its origin from "Vertere, " a Latin word meaning turning or to turn. More or less like to turn or flip a page of a storybook. What does it tell you? Each verse is meant to share the story.

On the other hand, Chorus , in its real sense, means a large company of people singing unanimously or in unison. Only the exact feeling we all get when singing the chorus of a song, right?

Now, to the million-dollar question- what is a bridge in a song? As you ruminate on the matter, think of it in its real sense of meaning.

Don't worry; we won't bring you this far to leave you hanging. We are true to our word, always have been, always will be. So, let's break it down for you to digest. Read on!

What is a Bridge?

To start with, the bridge of a song is a particular part created for the sole purpose of giving or building a purely distinct feeling from the other components or parts. On the norm, it should generate a bit of contrast. Still, corks tightly to the meaning of the song . Like it has been seen in lots of songs or music, bridges usher in a new chord progression , the timing (time signature) changes, and particularly heralds a new key.

Please, always take note of this, a bridge is and shouldn't be the part that puts a full-stop to the song. No, it isn't! A bridge connects, so it's created to convey right into the song again. Let me provide you with an illustration: You find yourself on a bus which seems to choke. So, you move by the window to take a deep breath and draw the fresh air before moving inwards to the reality of the severe heat on the bus. That slight opening, breathing fresh air, and running back is the bridge .

Note : Usually, the bridge ushers us back to the chorus .

Bridge in a song, what does it do?

Bridge in a song, what does it do?
Bridge in a song, what does it do?

Try to picture the last bridge you saw while on the road or when taking a peep through the window. What does it do? It links two different areas of the earth, thereby letting you gladly do the walk past the water body. Also, it's a new landscape, and sure, the full view is always lovely from there.

Now, that's exactly what the bridge of a song does.

Just as every song has a bit of difference from the other, bridges also differ in their ways. But, all bridges play the same functions. So, a bridge will undoubtedly do the following;

Create Variety

Bridge comes with something new for the audience to relate to. A new feeling, it gives more push and strength to the song in general, and it serves as the connecting loop that joins each end of the song to itself.

To sound a note of warning to songwriters and others in the music world , never write a bridge just for writing sake. It should come with something tangible, a "why" we all(the audience, singer, and even you, the writer) can work with and still add meaning to the song, not take from it. The reason could be to serve as the covering for the storyline or to give a new look to a song that has seen many repetitions .

A song with just a body(verse) and chorus might cause boredom on the part of the audience(though not in all cases, but in most of the cases, it does). Introducing a bridge to the song could be a game-changer as it is almost certain that the ears of each listener will tune in sharply to the incoming bridge.

It's always good to carry everything along in your toolbox. And, getting your listeners surprised is part of the tool, make use of it in your bridge . Get the life and attention your song deserves from the audience.

Establish Tension

The interplay between release and tension is pivotal to your song. That means the two elements are keys that must not be missing in your song. If your song tends toward release all the time, your audience gets bored, and they know what's up the next time you're coming. And if it is all tension , you'll write, play, sing and listen to your song yourself. So, it has to be a mixture of the two in the right blend to get your listeners glued to their seats.

To create tension , come to the bridge , it's an ok ground for this purpose. You can do it this way; bring in a fresh side of the song that comes with tension , followed by a solo on the guitar , which causes a sigh of release , this then points the listeners back to the chord progression in the verses or to the chorus section .

A connecting loop of the song

See it in this picture; your already written song is characterized by a section that comes before the chorus( pre-chorus) , chorus , and then the bridge . Now, moving from the chorus to go over the pre-chorus again may not sound all that nice. You can easily slot in the bridge . The bridge can serve as a connecting loop for the two parts . That way, you get to sing the chorus again without it looking somehow. Let the bridge be the soothing balm and the connecting loop.

Verse/Refrain Songs? See how to use it

Verse/Refrain Songs? See how to use it
Verse/Refrain Songs? See how to use it

Many times, some songs take the form of a Verse+Verse+Refrain+Verse arrangement( 1121 format ). In this case, we have about three verses and one refrain . Most times, the refrain comes as just a line or two. Songwriters who love storytelling (Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, and others) do this on several occasions.

Since one thing that's common with these kinds of songs is repetition , a bridge works just fine most of the time. It breaks all forms of redundancy in a song.

A perfect example of a song depicting this style is "We Can Work It Out."- The Beatles.

If you follow the lines , lyrics , and arrangement of the song carefully, you will notice the flow of the song; B+R+B, afterward, right back into two other sessions of V-R.

NOTE : B- Bridge

R- Refrain

V- Verse

Assuredly, you can relate with the bridge as it adds more value to the entire mix, both in storyline and music . This is to tell you all that having a bridge is one crucial part of a song.

A Bridge in Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus songs. How to use it

The " Verse+Chorus+Verse+Chorus" arrangement is prevalent. We can use the 1212 format to help better(1-verse, 2-chorus). In several cases, bridges do well in this kind of structure, giving it a new look(121232, 3 as a bridge). So, here, it links the concluding choruses concurrently. This way, repetition is cut out! However, as stated earlier, the bridge is not meant to be written just to fill a space. It should give more value to the song. An excellent example of this outlook is " Fix You" by Coldplay .

If you study the lyrics and the arrangement of the song correctly, you will notice that at first, there was a build-up at the beginning of the song, and each instrument coming along. All of a sudden, the introduction of the bridge

turns the atmosphere before restoring steadiness, and a close with the chorus brings it to a halt.

If there weren't any interplay among the three components or parts of a song , the outcome wouldn't have resulted in anything good.

What am I gravitating towards? This is it! The creators of the song , without a doubt, did justice to it by effectively putting the bridge into good use. It can be a source of learning for all.

Take-Home: Useful pointers you may need for penning a Bridge in your song

  1. Input the bridges when you're done with the second chorus.
  2. Write a fresh and harmonious piece.
  3. Alter the progression.
  4. Compose bridges using lyrics with deep root meanings.
  5. Follow the path

Note : This isn't a straight-jacket. It's highly recommended as it has been applied on several occasions and worked perfectly fine, but not mandatory.

Summary: What is a bridge in a song?

What's in it for you?

  1. What is a bridge?
  1. Bridge in a song, what does it do?
  1. How to use a bridge in various song structures
  1. Pointers to writing a bridge in a song.

The Bottom Line

The truth is, music can only be said to be enjoyable and refreshing when all these components have been well combined. The connecting loop of all(bridges) should be correctly used in the different song structures to help retain the quality and value of the song.

About Jared West

Jared's unique approach to audio writing involves meticulously crafting intricate sound designs that serve as the foundation for his narratives. Through careful selection and manipulation of sound effects, ambient noise, and music, he weaves together a tapestry of auditory sensations that bring his stories to life.

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