Author Topic: Question(s) on the Bridge...  (Read 7186 times)

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Offline LBro

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Question(s) on the Bridge...
« on: October 21, 2015, 08:38:36 am »
I did a little Google hunting and found some ok info on how to do a bridge for a song. One question I have though is that they said vocals most often go over a bridge??? Not much mention on if a guitar solo can go over the top of a bridge. I am pretty certain that is kosher as far as song writing goes. But would like to know your thoughts on it. I also found that in many cases a bridge will go from a verse to a chorus. Not always but often according to the article I looked at. Is there any real "norm" for a bridge length? From what I gather there might be, but nothing is in concrete on length - you thoughts?

Thanks
LB
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Offline KasperFauerby

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2015, 09:12:21 am »
Often a bridge will be 8 bars (google the term "Middle 8" for more info).

As you say, in song writing pretty much anything goes.... but I think it's true that the norm for a bridge is that vocals go there. The thing is, a bridge usually functions as a "tension builder", maybe ending on a "pumping" dominant chord, which is then resolved by going back into the chorus - possibly with a guitar solo over it.

Offline LBro

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2015, 09:22:18 am »
Often a bridge will be 8 bars (google the term "Middle 8" for more info).

As you say, in song writing pretty much anything goes.... but I think it's true that the norm for a bridge is that vocals go there. The thing is, a bridge usually functions as a "tension builder", maybe ending on a "pumping" dominant chord, which is then resolved by going back into the chorus - possibly with a guitar solo over it.
Hi Kasper,
Yeah I was running into the "Middle 8" term a bit.... Interesting you say the bridge functions as a tension builder. I might have got it wrong but it seems in some songs to be called a "release". Or do I have that wrong and it is in the follow on section of the song that is the "release" after coming out of the bridge?

On my last song I made it easy and had no bridge. But some suggested one on the current song and I thought I might give it a go....

Thanks for your reply and help!
LB
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2015, 04:59:23 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbXWrmQW-OE

It relieves monotony and can release tension as well.

That is supposed to be a near perfect example. The whole song is rather tense and full of despair and solitude,,, hopeless.   Then the bridge release that despair lyrically ... all the bottles... all the lonely people, etc... so the end of the song, although similar to the beginning is more like an anthem for the lonely rather than a song of despair.

But yeah, I would say the bridge is more of a release or answers the question "what's going to happen?" and becomes comforting.

You know... 'what happens in this relationship' you've been telling us about..

If you can tell that story with a guitar.... good for you.... you would have also had to tell quite a tense and interesting story with the guitar beforehand as well. Not many people can do that.

So yes, it's probably done with lyrics most often. You could say that in song above Andy's guitar is sort of solo'd or featured in the bridge too... but not a "guitar solo" and the lyrics clearly carry the weight and make the song into a whole comfortable and likable composition.
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Offline mike42

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2015, 12:24:09 am »
The above posts already hit on some good points. For me, the bridge is all about adding something in contrast with the repetition of the rest of the song. The simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus type structure works great for some songs, but it can get monotonous on others. That's when I try to bring in a bridge.

There are a lot of terms used to describe these contrasting sections: bridge, breakdown, interlude, etc. It seems like "bridge" usually refers to a section with lyrics, whereas "interlude" or "breakdown" would be used for an instrumental section. That's just my interpretation, and at the end of the day I don't think it matters what you call it.

Bridges tend to be on the shorter side in popular music (4-8 bars or so), probably because it doesn't offer the same striking contrast if it drags on and on. I'm sure there are a ton of exceptions, so follow your ears and intuition. I think the main thing is just to do something different.

Some things you might try:

- Different chord progression/melody. For example, on a happy song, maybe focus on minor chords in the chorus.

- New lyrical structure. This one might work well with the different progression/melody approach.

- Change the intensity. When coming out of a powerful chorus, strip the song down and bring instruments back in as you build it up to a final chorus.. that sort of thing

- Key change!

Offline LBro

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2015, 01:32:31 am »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbXWrmQW-OE

It relieves monotony and can release tension as well.

That is supposed to be a near perfect example. The whole song is rather tense and full of despair and solitude,,, hopeless.   Then the bridge release that despair lyrically ... all the bottles... all the lonely people, etc... so the end of the song, although similar to the beginning is more like an anthem for the lonely rather than a song of despair.
Ok TB,
I gave a listen to the song but was not sure where the bridge came in. So I pulled up the lyrics and chords. Looks like it is the bottle part as I think you said. If by chance that is correct then are there not 2 bridges in the song?

Good stuff on what you said, I am taking it in and trying to figure out how best to integrate it in the song I am working on. Still would like to do an instrumental over the top of the bridge or what Mike might be called an interlude.

Thanks,
LB
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Offline LBro

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2015, 01:42:32 am »
The above posts already hit on some good points. For me, the bridge is all about adding something in contrast with the repetition of the rest of the song. The simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus type structure works great for some songs, but it can get monotonous on others. That's when I try to bring in a bridge.
Thanks I am starting to see this point a lot in posts and in what I read on the net. It just so happens the song I am working on is a bit repetitious. So a bridge might really help it.
Quote
There are a lot of terms used to describe these contrasting sections: bridge, breakdown, interlude, etc. It seems like "bridge" usually refers to a section with lyrics, whereas "interlude" or "breakdown" would be used for an instrumental section. That's just my interpretation, and at the end of the day I don't think it matters what you call it.
Mike this is good news to me. Thanks for posting as I guess I was just calling it the wrong thing. In my case an Interlude might be the ticket!
Quote
Bridges tend to be on the shorter side in popular music (4-8 bars or so), probably because it doesn't offer the same striking contrast if it drags on and on. I'm sure there are a ton of exceptions, so follow your ears and intuition. I think the main thing is just to do something different.
This is about the one thing that is fairly universal. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-8 bars is understood and will again work well, though I may go for the 8 count.
Quote
Some things you might try:

- Different chord progression/melody. For example, on a happy song, maybe focus on minor chords in the chorus.

- New lyrical structure. This one might work well with the different progression/melody approach.

- Change the intensity. When coming out of a powerful chorus, strip the song down and bring instruments back in as you build it up to a final chorus.. that sort of thing

- Key change!
All good stuff.... Problem is I can see a few spots to use a bridge on. Now I have to whittle it down and decide where it makes the best sense to put it.

Thanks,
LB
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LB

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2015, 03:28:39 am »
Ok TB,
I gave a listen to the song but was not sure where the bridge came in. So I pulled up the lyrics and chords. Looks like it is the bottle part as I think you said. If by chance that is correct then are there not 2 bridges in the song?

Good stuff on what you said, I am taking it in and trying to figure out how best to integrate it in the song I am working on. Still would like to do an instrumental over the top of the bridge or what Mike might be called an interlude.

Thanks,
You can do an instrumental breakdown.... but if you have used lyrics to create a story that builds tension and raises and unanswered question... somehow you need to resolve that too.

Sometimes a breakdown is just that ... it's a point where things simply thin out and tone it way back down... probably how it got that name... like in EDM music.

If you go to the SOS magazine site somewhere in their archives is an article about bridges or middle 8 as they call it in the UK.  They discussed that Police song... I may have it my notes somewhere but you can probably find it by searching "bridge middle eight" on their archive site... it's many years old.

I can't recall the whole song 1 bridge or 2... I thought only one... but it's part where the whole mood of the song changes and the listener feels relieved and the music changes.

I'll look through my notes, the article covered several other things too besides that song.
LB
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Offline LBro

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2015, 04:34:28 am »
You can do an instrumental breakdown.... but if you have used lyrics to create a story that builds tension and raises and unanswered question... somehow you need to resolve that too.
I think the song I am working on kind of stays neutral. It may be that it does not need a lyrics based bridge or breakdown... I hope.

Quote
Sometimes a breakdown is just that ... it's a point where things simply thin out and tone it way back down... probably how it got that name... like in EDM music.

If you go to the SOS magazine site somewhere in their archives is an article about bridges or middle 8 as they call it in the UK.  They discussed that Police song... I may have it my notes somewhere but you can probably find it by searching "bridge middle eight" on their archive site... it's many years old.
I hit an SOS mag (one of my favorite rags) article last night and it may be the one your talking about. It was good and all about bridges.
Quote
I can't recall the whole song 1 bridge or 2... I thought only one... but it's part where the whole mood of the song changes and the listener feels relieved and the music changes.

I'll look through my notes, the article covered several other things too besides that song.

Yeah let me know on the 1 or 2 bridge deal as I am curious.

Thanks,
LB
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2015, 05:41:20 am »
This is the bridge and as far as I know it's the only one.

Walked out this morning, don't believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I'm not alone in being alone
Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home

It's the part of the song where the whole mood changes from the story teller being the "King of Pain" with his hopeless despair.... to the.... "Hey, I can't believe it, look at all these people that have been in my shoes"


Then it choruses out with "Sending out and SOS" but now instead of despair... that statement is an Anthem... he is like hell yeah, I toss my message in a bottle and one day some other lonely person will realize they are not alone.

IOW, that bridge changed the entire song. It changed it from two verses and choruses of OMG somebody shoot me.... to .... oh hell yeah, I'm not alone and everything is going to be ok.

The bridge is much shorter than the before stuff but way more powerful.

Now how he does it musically and the style of music they played might be less than eventful simply based on chords. So that's a real lyric based bridge.

The bridge is really to break up monotony and/or to connect ideas... but lyrically, unless your song is going to do something totally different, it's probably going to end soon after the bridge. So the bridge gives the listener a breather and resolves/satisfies them of any issues the lyrics may have presented.

I mean if the lyrics don't present any issues and the song is going to continue on quite a bit, then maybe the bridge would offer up something like in a TV show where the scenes change and the graphic says...

"Six Months earlier in Cairo"  ... that graphic is a bridge between scenes and the viewer doesn't have to sit there going WTF for 5 minutes trying to figure out what's going on. In the two seconds it takes them to read it there is a fade out and a fade in and they are connected / resolved / in tune with the whole story as it is being told.

It's all in how you want to tell your story. You can pretty much do whatever you want. Hopefully the listener feels good about it.





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Offline LBro

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2015, 07:46:50 am »
Hi TB,
Went back to look at the chords and lyrics and I think you nailed it:

Amaj7    -   B7  -   F#m - C#m9 -  Amaj7    -   B7 - F#m - C#m9 -
Walked out this morning, I don't believe what I saw
Amaj7  -  B7    -    F#m- C#m9 -    Amaj7- B7 - F#m - C#m9 - 
A hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Amaj7  -  B7     -    F#m  -  C#m9 - Amaj7    -   B7 - F#m -
Seems I'm not alone in being alone
C#m9  - Amaj7 - B7 - F#m   -  C#m9-Amaj7-B7 - F#m - A
Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home

But in reading around I found some that said a bridge should occur less than a minute into a song. So as to break it up and hold the listeners attention. I know on the last song we did, "Picture" it took a long time for the guitar solo to start (not that it was a bridge). It was like 2:53 in and I am not sure all stuck around to even listen to it. Such a balancing act writing songs are....

Thanks for you tips and posts as they are thought provoking and I am learning!

LB
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Offline KasperFauerby

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2015, 10:36:50 am »
Interesting discussion so far ;)

Good example by TB of a bridge that relieves tension! Here is an example of the opposite, a bridge that (in my opinion) serves to build up tension towards a guitar solo (starting at 3:44)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvR60Wg9R7Q

Here is another classic song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4LWIP7SAjY

I'm curious how you perceive the bridge (at around 1:35). Do you guys feel this is releasing tension, or building up towards something?

Cheers

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2015, 02:48:09 pm »

But in reading around I found some that said a bridge should occur less than a minute into a song.

You have to be careful as to dealing with where people are from in the world and terms they use.

I have seen descriptions were it says a song has a chorus bridge middle-eight... then you see people say a bridge IS a middle-eight..

What you are talking about could simply be called a "lead break" but it could also part of a chorus or verse or simply another form of connection and that's what a 'bridge' is... it builds a bridge to a next piece.

The other type 'bridge' is often a big piece of song that carries a good bit of weight and comes late in the song.

But you could have a lead break early that maybe makes the song a little louder and get's your attention. It could be a pre-chorus... it might create tension and it might be a 'bridge'... I don't think it really matters what you call it, and those pieces can do anything you want/need.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDo4CA13LbY

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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2015, 03:06:13 pm »
@KF

On the Bon Jovi that feels like tension or a lead in to the solo, build up.... and honestly after the solo his vocal sounds like another bridge that brings things back down.

On the other one I consider that a bringing down... IOW the song had gotten pretty 'up there' and exciting... So the first horn figure goes up as to say... listen to and follow me 'daah da daah da daaaaaah' and then the remainder brings things back down to earth and then the vocals can take off again.
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2015, 04:56:52 pm »
did you read this... this seems like a good explanation..  and doesn't require that the bridge "do X"... but simply that it provide some service to the song.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridge_%28music%29

But it explains why you see the bridge late in the song.
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Offline LBro

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2015, 03:08:00 pm »
did you read this... this seems like a good explanation..  and doesn't require that the bridge "do X"... but simply that it provide some service to the song.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridge_%28music%29

But it explains why you see the bridge late in the song.
Hi TB,
Good stuff as I finally got around to reading this. I think your right in that it does not matter what it is called. I think I have a bridge section now and will try inserting it via trial and error and see where and how it best fits. Thanks to you and others that commented as I had heard of bridges before but knew little about them...

Rock on and take care,
LB
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Offline TheAJSound

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Re: Question(s) on the Bridge...
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2016, 10:59:16 pm »
To be honest - you can do whatever you want with it! (break the rules!)
As long as it conveys the message or helps you connect with your target audience :)

 

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