How to Write a Song – Stand Out with The Bridge

How to Write a Song – Stand Out with The Bridge

In the world of songwriting, the bridge holds a special place. It acts as a contrasting section within the song, introducing a new dimension and adding depth to the overall composition. 

In this article, we’ll explore the art of writing bridges and how they contribute to the popular Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Chorus song form that has dominated the charts for decades. By following a few simple guidelines, you can create bridges that captivate listeners and enhance the impact of your music.

This blog post aims to summarise the fifth and final part of our video ‘5 Simple Steps to Write Your First Song’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.

Making the Bridge Different

The purpose of a bridge is to introduce a fresh musical perspective, setting it apart from both the verse and the chorus. 

To achieve this, it’s crucial to start the bridge on a chord that hasn’t been used in either section. This deliberate choice instantly creates a unique sonic experience for the listener. Additionally, consider introducing a chord that hasn’t been heard before from the key, such as the two or three chord. This adds further intrigue and diversity to the bridge.

Here are some song examples where their bridges introduce different chords or chord progressions::

  • “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
  • “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
  • “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

Avoiding the I Chord

The I chord, also known as the tonic or home chord, carries a strong sense of stability and resolution. 

To build tension and make the chorus more impactful when it returns, it’s advisable to steer clear of using the I chord in the bridge. By avoiding this powerful chord, you create a subtle yearning for its eventual reappearance, amplifying the emotional impact of the chorus.

Here are some examples of songs where their bridges avoid the I chord:

  • “Clocks” by Coldplay
  • “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses
  • “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

For more chords to experiment with, click below to download the free ‘Parallel Modulation’ PDF with three 16-bar progressions for you to explore:

Tension and Instability

Bridges thrive on tension and instability, making them a vital element of song dynamics. 

One effective technique to create a sense of instability is by using an uneven number of lines in the bridge. For example, if the previous sections have four lines, opt for a concise three-line structure for the bridge. This deliberate brevity injects a feeling of anticipation and unease, setting the stage for a climactic return to the chorus.

Examples of songs that do this in the bridge are as follows:

  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
  • “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
  • “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey

Moreover, the duration of chords also plays a crucial role in generating tension. While the verse and chorus sections might follow a consistent pattern, the bridge provides an opportunity to break away from the established norm. Vary the length of chord progressions in the bridge, holding certain chords for a different duration. This rhythmic departure further intensifies the emotional impact of the bridge, making it a standout moment within the song.

Examples of songs that do this in the bridge are as follows:

  • “Hotel California” by Eagles
  • “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
  • “Imagine” by John Lennon

Conclusion: How to Write a Song – Stand Out with The Bridge

Crafting a compelling bridge is an essential skill for songwriters. By following these tips, you can create bridges that effectively contrast the verse and chorus, thus elevating the song’s emotional arc, and leave a lasting impression on your listeners.

This article was the last step in a 5 step process. Check out the full article that outlines all 5 steps, or check out the video now

Thanks for following along and happy writing!

Level up your songwriting with five radically practical exercises used by professional songwriters around the world

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