Well, my friends, the time has come. If you know me, you know my favorite song section is the bridge. If you’re wondering why I love bridges so much, you’re about to find out. Also, I’ll be explaining why bridges are so important and breaking down different ways to write them. Let’s get right to it.
Why I Love Bridges
The Bridge is my favorite part of a song because of the extra level of creativity it brings to a song. Writing a bridge means the listener is getting one more piece of the story. All of my songs have bridges. I feel like they make songs stand out. Personally, I get super sad when songs don’t have even a simple bridge. You can call me overdramatic if you want! I just think adding a bridge, no matter what form it takes, does wonders for a song. I could go on and on about why I like bridges so much, so instead of me writing a novel about my personal thoughts, here come the facts.
Why Bridges Are So Important
First, before I get into the musical bridge, let’s talk about real bridges. Close your eyes for a moment and picture a bridge. You’re most likely imagining a bridge over water that connects two pieces of land. Now, take that bridge away. How are you going to get from one side to the other? Well, in case you’re down to swim across, let’s say, a river, you’re pretty much stuck. Jumping isn’t an option, either. You have no way to get to the other side. So, that bridge is pretty important, right? I thought so.
Now that I got you to realize why actual bridges are so important, let’s talk about musical ones. A bridge connects the second and last choruses, if there’s a last chorus. Some songs that don’t have bridges can be structured as verse, pre-chorus, chorus, verse, pre-chorus, chorus. Oftentimes, there’s a third chorus at the end of the song. Think of the last two choruses as two pieces of land. The greatest purpose a bridge serves is to take the listener to a different place before reaching the last chorus. The repetition of the chorus is important because the chorus is the part of the song people usually hold on to after listening to a song. Still, it’s a good idea to write a bridge so there aren’t two choruses back to back.
Also, bridges give a songwriter the chance to expand on the story or re-emphasize part of it. In a bit, I’ll be breaking down different ways to write bridges, but no matter what way a songwriter chooses, the bridge adds something extra to the song. Depending on the technique used while writing the bridge, some bridges will provide more to the story than others. Still, simply writing a bridge gives a song complexity.
Types of Bridges
Now that I, hopefully, convinced you bridges are awesome, I’ll be talking about various ways to write bridges. All of them have been used in hit songs, and I’ve used most of them in my songs as well. Not one type of bridge is better than another. It depends on the song and which type fits it best. I’ll be going through them in order from most fresh to most simple.
Write a Brand New Melody and Lyrics
My favorite type of bridge is one that is completely new. Both the melody and lyrics are different. These types of bridges provide the most freedom to explore and really take listeners to a new place. In some instances, these bridges are the climax of the song, both musically and lyrically. If a songwriter feels that they have another important piece of the story or a strong realization to share, writing a new bridge is the way to go. This type of bridge opens up so many doors for a songwriter. When I write fresh bridges, I find that I have so many different ways I could take them. Making a careful decision about what the bridge should say and how it should be expressed through music is one of the most creative parts of the songwriting process. There are so many examples of songs out there that have this type of bridge. Some of my favorite songs with a fresh bridge to listen to are “Skin” by Sabrina Carpenter, “I Love You’s” by Hailee Steinfeld, “Next Girl” by Carly Pearce, “Glad You Exist” by Dan + Shay, and “Torn” by Ava Max. I mostly write a new melody and lyrics for my bridges. Some of my songs with fresh bridges are “Into Focus,” “Perfectly Imperfect,” “Sensitive,” “Four Leaf Clover,” and “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky.”
Use the Melody from Another Song Section with Different Lyrics
Another way to write a bridge is to use the melody from somewhere else in the song but write different lyrics. This is most commonly done with the pre-chorus melody. I’ve also heard it done with melodic phrases from the chorus as well. Using the melody from the verse causes it to walk the line between being a bridge or a third verse. In this case, it still serves the purpose of connecting the last two choruses, no matter what someone wants to specifically call it. By using this technique, the melody will be familiar to listeners, but through different lyrics, a songwriter expands the story of the song.
First, an example of using the pre-chorus melody with different lyrics can be heard in “the other girl” by Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey. I wrote this particular type of bridge in my song, “Obvious.” Also, an example of using a melodic phrase from the chorus with different lyrics can be heard in “Should’ve Known Better” by Carly Pearce. Finally, a great example of using the melody from the verses with different lyrics can be heard in “Graveyard” by Halsey. In my song, “Fantasy,” I begin the bridge with the verse melody, then vary it at the end to make it stand out and create a stronger connection back into the chorus.
Put a Twist on the Pre-Chorus
Next, another way to write a bridge is to put a twist on the pre-chorus. There are a couple ways of doing this. First, the lyrics of the pre-chorus can be used with melodic variation. A great example of this is the bridge in “I’m Fakin” by Sabrina Carpenter.
Additionally, instead of using the full pre-chorus, a certain phrase from the pre-chorus can be used in the bridge. An example of this is the bridge in “Guess I’m a Liar” by Sofia Carson. Only the first half of the pre-chorus is used as the bridge. I used this technique in my song, “Can’t Get Over You.”
Repeat the Pre-Chorus Exactly
Next, the quickest way to write a bridge is to repeat the pre-chorus exactly. By doing this, a songwriter simply uses the pre-chorus as a way to break up the last two choruses. This type of bridge doesn’t add a new layer of the story, but sometimes, repeating the pre-chorus is all the song needs. An example of this type of bridge can be heard in “No Good” by Ally Brooke.
Repeat the Beginning of the First Verse
Similarly, the beginning of the first verse can come back to serve as a bridge. This isn’t to be confused with writing different lyrics to the verse melody. Here, both the melody and lyrics from, what is usually, the beginning of the first verse is repeated. An example of this is the bridge in “Lose You To Love Me” by Selena Gomez.
So, now that you know more about bridges, make sure to appreciate them when you hear them in your favorite songs. Also, if you’re a songwriter, experiment with the different types of bridges and write them in your songs. I hope you enjoyed being welcomed into the wonderful world of bridges. I’m going to write my next bridge now!