Personal blog and comfy corner of Lyra Rhodes: musician, cake aficionado, whinger...maybe just a place where I can stuff things (words!), rather than them falling down the back of the sofa

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Over The Bridge!

Ok, I'm gonna talk about songwriting a bit. Feel free to switch off! ;-)
I reckon that songs need a "Bridge".
"What is it?", I hear you ask? Or maybe not. We're in a virtual world, after all...
Well, if you read Wikipedia, it goes on about offering a "contrasting section" to the verse/chorus of the song. I tend to disagree, or add that I feel it offers an alternative viewpoint in terms of the lyrics... and quite often from a distance or a distance in time, a reflection...
The link below (NME website), gives quite a few examples of songs, and how important the Bridge (or "Middle 8" - used more in the UK I'd say) is to the song. I totally agree with their example of The Beatles "We Can Work It Out" and Lennon's "Life is very short.." Bridge/Middle8 line in response to Macca.
You know it?
Take a look.

Or for a more amateur example, take a listen to my "Are Ya Happy Now" (blog music section), where I whinge about "There could be hope in many places" as a response to the depression described in the verse/chorus lyrics. The only problem with it? Well, most songs with a regular structure involving a Bridge would have Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Chorus-Chorus. But when I recorded that, it ran to more than 4 1/2 minutes! And I felt it was too boring, so cut out a verse in the editing, throwing in the Bridge after the first Verse/Chorus. The result is a satisfying 3 minute song, but it actually feels unbalanced, because I wanted to have a quite Verse1/Chorus and then a build up in Verse2, without the Bridge inbetween!

Having said ALL OF THIS, there are loads of songs that don't have a Bridge, and way many that don't actually have a Chorus either.
Quite often, a song sounds like it has a great deal of different elements, but these can be a "PreChorus" - simply something that hints that a chorus is coming, and builds musically to it, or even a song with only Verses.
The principle and important element (at least if we're gonna listen to it lol) is a "Hook" (ideally several of these), and a great Payoff of course is to hear the title somewhere in the song... rules are meant to be broken... in fact, there ARE no rules, rather, these are ideas, techniques, theories that we've all documented based on songs folks have written!

Here's also an interesting blog on song chord progressions, for the Bridge.

1 comment:

VĂ©ronique said...

The bridge or middle-8 used to be the bane of my songwriting! I must have got better at it, because many more of my songs have them now than don't. I used to write punk(ish) songs, which rarely have a bridge, but the newer songs are more pop (even if garage-y or jangly).

I find I use them more for musical variation than lyrical contrast. Might just be me. With Lennon-McCartney, I think sometimes their bridges were like that because they really fused two different songs together -- the Paul part and the John part (which I think might be true of "We Can Work It Out").