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what is a bridge (in a song)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by altman, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. altman


    Oct 7, 2001
    OK, here's your dumb question for the day.

    We're learning some songs (covers), and people keep talking about "the bridge"

    So, what is a bridge (I kinda have an idea), but what is it exactly, what is the purpose, why do writers put it in?

    (Ignorance is not bliss, it is annoying)

  2. My take on the infamous bridge....

    Let's imagine a generic average rock or country tune....

    -intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus-fade out...

    To me, the bridge would be a segment that isn't always present in songs, but when it is:

    1) It may take the place of the solo, and rather than feature an instrument with an improvisational role (pardon my loose definition of solo), it takes the melody line and foundation into a slightly different direction than the verse or chorus.
    i.e.: -intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-fade out...

    2) It may precede or follow the solo.

    Remember this is just my take on the concept of a bridge. If you'd like an example, listen to The Tubes - "Talk to ya Later" this song has an easily recognizable bridge (the part that does a pronounced excursion from the verse and chorus).

    Good question, altman. I'll be anxious to hear others define a musical bridge.

    My bruthas???
  3. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
  4. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
  5. Hmmmm... I guess a rocker or a headbanger or country-western folk might say 'bridge', whereas a classical or jazz musician may be more inclined to say 'interlude'.


    I'm really reaching here. Please forgive me. :D :)
  6. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I always thought of the bridge as a section to fill in a gap, to get from one part of a song to another, whereas I see the interlude as a more of a break from the song. What I've noticed in songs (then again, I could be wrong LOL) is that the bridge usually has lyrics (providing it's a lyrical song of course) and the interlude is more of an instrumental passage.

    I like this definition of what a bridge is from a book I have on songwriting (It's called "Songwriting and the Creative Process" by Steve Gillette...lots of info on song structure):

    "Seldom heard more than once in a song, it is the strange breeze which blows through the song usually after the verse and chorus have each been heard twice, and rather than go back to another verse or to another chorus, the bridge comes in like a breath of fresh air and takes us to another level of the song."
  7. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    For a real world example: George Jones the Rock: Stone Cold Country 2001.:p Listen to the song Wood and Wire -
    the part between the last two choruses is a bridge.