This is a series of posts about song formatting and structure. All this week I’ll be writing about the different individual elements that make up a song.
Please bear in mind that these are my definitions and interpretations of the different parts of a song structure. There are no hard and fast rules determining which part of a song goes where.
However, there are generally accepted guidelines. Think of this Songwriting 101 series as the “nuts and bolts” of putting your songs together.
You’ve been refining your songwriting process and you’ve come up with some great ideas and now you are ready to put them all together.
Your journey starts now…
Today I’m going to be talking about the BRIDGE and let me tell you, I do love a good bridge.
There’s something about how a bridge takes you to somewhere else in a song and then gently back to the familiarity of a verse or chorus that makes it a very important piece of your songwriting armoury.
Good bridges are hard to find and are even harder to write. It’s not enough to just write a departure from what you’re creating with your verses and choruses.
The departure has to be purposeful. It needs to have some sort of meaning and reason behind it.
Lyrically a bridge can introduce another point of view, be an extension of the song story or even be a devil’s advocate to it.
Musically it can be whatever you want it to be however there are a couple of things to consider:
1. Make sure the entry and exit points of the bridge are seamless.
Take into consideration the melody, rhythm and flow of the song. This is what I mean about the bridge being purposeful
2. Don’t make the bridge too long.
This is not a time to introduce a second movement to your song. Generally bridges are between eight and sixteen bars in length (if its eight bars in length it can also be called a ‘middle eight’)
Bridges add character and uniqueness to your songs. They break up monotony and pleasantly surprise the listener or possibly prepare them for a key change.
A great example of a great bridge is the one in “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.
Sting is a master at writing bridges and in this song he switches tonality and presents a 10 bar bridge that lyrically shifts the perspective of the song while at the same time seamlessly moves from one tonality to another.
Here is the song for you to listen to. The bridge starts at at 1:23
If you want your songs to spring into life, now is the time to start learning the art of a good bridge.
What other examples of bridges or middle 8’s do you consider to be masterful. Feel free to let me know.
Until next time, happy writing,
All About Songwriting