60-Second Songwriting: Song Structure Basics—the Bridge
60-Second Songwriting aims to offer quick, concise, song-craft tips, basics and blasts for the time-crunched and attention-challenged 21st-century musician.
Song structure is one of songwriting’s key elements or building blocks. As songwriters, we casually throw common structuring language around all the time—“Let’s double a chorus here. Why don’t we go to the bridge there?” But how often (if ever) do we really stop to think, beginner or advanced writer alike, about the nut-and-bolt concepts behind the everyday rudiments of our trade?
Let’s quickly explore song structure’s “change of pace” component, the bridge.
So what is a bridge?
• The bridge (aka “the middle eight”) of a song is a unique section of a tune that has its own musical and often lyrical motif that’s totally different from the song’s other main sections.
• A bridge, many times, consists of an underlying chord progression and a sung, top-line melody.
• Other times, a bridge may be totally instrumental in nature with no vocals in play. That said, an instrumental bridge is different than a solo or instrumental section of a tune in that it is often times more structured and less improvisational in nature.
• A bridge is usually introduced toward the middle of a tune and is designed to offer a sort of sonic cleansing of the pallet, allowing the listener a break from the repetition of your verse and chorus sections of the song.
• The bridge offers something different, refreshes the ear, and as a result, the listener is ready to hear your song’s verse and/or chorus once again.
Mark Bacino is a singer/songwriter based in New York City. When not crafting his own melodic brand of retro-pop, Mark can be found producing fellow artists, composing for television/advertising and teaching songwriting via his Queens English Recording Co. Mark also is the founder/curator of intro.verse.chorus, a website dedicated to exploring the art of songwriting. Visit Mark on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.