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FDP Forum / Tin Pan Alley - Songwriting / Why a Bridge?

argo
Contributing Member
*****

Michigan

Feb 5th, 2010 07:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've submitted 2 tunes to the band I'm in, they both were met with "Good but it needs a bridge"
They are rock/blues type tunes not pop. Is there some rule I haven't learned? or is it just a matter of taste? Mine against everyone else!

I can name quite a few classics W/O a bridge.

kve

Crozet, VA

I'm "Branded"-- my stars are ripped away
Feb 5th, 2010 08:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"I can name quite a few classics W/O a bridge."

Listing a song from 30-40 years ago as a reason for why you are doing something in a song today probably won't cut it. Name a few songs that were released in the last year that are verse-chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus. I am sure there a some, but the vast majority have a bridge. Why? It give the listener a little break, a different little path before you knock them over with the last chorus.

So if you want to write a song that wins over today's listeners as an original tune, do you use a format from a "classic" tune or a format that works right now? (... and might be a "classic" in its own right.)

Kevin



argo
Contributing Member
*****

Michigan

Feb 5th, 2010 09:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


Ok, I understand the dynamics a bridge can add to a song, But! Thats all it is , right, just a diversion.
Yes Kve it may be nostagic,but what goes around comes around. It will be new again.

oh does rap have bridges? No offense, just a question, cause I never listen to it!

fendrguitplayr
Contributing Member
*****

Greater Boston

Joyfully embracing my midlife crisis
Feb 7th, 2010 09:09 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The general format of the song, whether it be a story, a soundscape, or whatever seems to determine how much extra a bridge could add, IMHO.

gdw3
Contributing Member

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Feb 16th, 2010 09:43 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You've got to think of it differently. You're looking at a bridge as a distraction. You should look at it as something that adds interest.

I haven't heard the tunes you submitted, but I suspect that if both times the comment was "Needs a bridge", then my guess is the listener was getting bored.

A bridge is there to give the listener something different, something to wonder about, and a chance for the songwriter to bring back the main thrust of the tune, hopefully even stronger than before. This allows you to build toward a big finish. The verse and/or chorus after the bridge ought to add something that wasn't there before. Sometimes this means holding back something at the beginning of the song. In other words, don't blow your wad too early!

Have you ever heard the saying "here comes the big finish!"? People want a big finish. People want the song to end, and stand up and go "yeah!". A bridge helps you do this, by giving the listener something different, then allowing them to be reminded of the meat of the tune when it comes back in.

Classic songs that are only verse/chorus would be the exception rather than the rule, and I'd be willing to bet even those have dramatic dynamic changes within them....

(This message was last edited by gdw3 at 09:47 AM, Feb 16th, 2010)

argo
Contributing Member
*****

Michigan

Feb 21st, 2010 08:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

very well put, gdw3.
I guess I have been looking at this from the wrong side.

gdw3
Contributing Member

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Mar 23rd, 2010 12:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Here's a good quote or two from Britt Daniel of Spoon on bridges:

THE TRUTH ABOUT BRIDGES

Sometimes the bridge of a song comes off as an afterthought, or even worse, it ruins the vibe entirely. “It’s so easy to make a bad bridge,” Daniel says. “I just feel like so much of the time somebody’s throwing in a bridge because they feel like they need to. It’s very often not something that adds to your enjoyment of the song. In fact, a lot of the time it takes you out of the headspace that you were in before. It’s hard to come up with a new section that feels the same but goes to a different place.”

If he can’t make a bridge make sense, Daniel will skip it or just create a break in the song to give it a sense of relief. “If I feel like I need some space between the chorus and the next verse, then maybe I’ll try to do something that just stays on the first chord of the verse and make some kind of riff there,” he says. “It really bothers me when a song produces a mood and a feeling in you, and then all of a sudden it just switches gears and goes to a new thing just for the sake of going to a new thing.”

kve

Crozet, VA

I'm "Branded"-- my stars are ripped away
Mar 24th, 2010 05:53 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Of course some bridges just effortlessly float along connecting to the final chorus quite nicely: The House that Built Me (by Miranda Lambert, written by tom douglas and allen shamblin).

Kevin

The House That Built me

fendrguitplayr
Contributing Member
*****

Greater Boston

Where suspense is never in short supply.
Mar 30th, 2010 12:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

When it comes to writing pop/rock songs, songwriters usually place the bridge right before the instrumental solo/break.

The bridge is a pathway that leads the song to a new level with the aim of bringing it smoothly back to the chorus.



argo
Contributing Member
*****

Michigan

Apr 2nd, 2010 03:24 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

kve, Great words in "The House that Built Me"!
The Bridge did seem effortless and was very subtle. It had the same cadence as the rest of the tune and combined the melody of the verse and chorus, I can see a middle ground here.

argo
Contributing Member
*****

Michigan

Apr 2nd, 2010 03:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

After futher consideration....

Thanks kve! you taught me something with posting that song, If I would have heard it earlier, it would have escaped me.

Standard24
Contributing Member
***

San Antonio, Texas

Jun 1st, 2010 02:02 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The Beatles were masters a inserting a bridge or interlude. I find a great bridge can make the whole song. Listen to "Your Mother Should Know" or McCartney & Wings "1985".

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
******

That chicken

is WRONG, baby.
Jul 18th, 2010 08:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If you don't want more words in there, add a little musical interlude. Up a whole step, or perhaps in the relative minor (or relative major) of the tune's key.

PigfarmerJr

CoMo

Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.
Aug 1st, 2010 07:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Or a 'middle 8' - Basically a solo for 8 bars (a common length of a bridge) that can also build tension that can be resolved with the last chorus or another verse then a chorus.

What gdw3 is almost spot on. It isn't only something different but usually a new perspective. If you write a love song and it's all lovey dovey then in the bridge go from the new perspective of all the trials you have gone through... or some other angle to the relation ship.

If your song is all about the future then you have the opportunity to fill in the listener on some of the past at the bridge. Don't think of it as another verse but rather as a new perspective that enhances the song.

A good bridge is killer... a bad one might as well just be a solo.

And of course you could put a solo there instead of a bridge if you can't find one that works.

ghodaddyyo
Contributing Member
**

Huntington Beach

Sep 14th, 2010 05:07 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"The Beatles were masters a inserting a bridge or interlude."


The Beatles are the first songwriters I think of when it comes to effortless bridges. A great example is "I Wanna Hold Your Hand".

ECS-3
Contributing Member
*****

USA / Virginia

Dec 19th, 2010 07:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Another idea, this one from a blues tune "All Your Love" by Otis Rush.

That tune starts out in F# minor, goes thru 2 verses with a syncopated bassline, then goes into a guitar solo section in F# MAJOR with a walking bassline, then eventually falls back into F# minor / syncopation thing again for the outro.

FDP Forum / Tin Pan Alley - Songwriting / Why a Bridge?




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