How to write a bridge

Somebody has probably written a book on bridges. But in brief, let me give you some ideas, some places to start.

The bridge is new territory. You’ve already established what the main parts of the song sound like with your verses and chorus. Now the listener is ready to hear something new, something different. It definitely should contrast a bit from the sound of your verses and chorus.

Lyrically, it doesn’t have to be all new ideas, but it could be either a summation of the song’s message expressed in a new way or a new angle on the main message of the song. It can be cool when the lyrics of the bridge make the listener hear the next chorus in a whole new light, from a new perspective. It can be as short as one line. Two line bridges are common as are three and four lines.

Musically, the bridge should depart from the song, and by the end of the bridge, lead back into the chorus. The very simplest way to get into it is to make sure the bridge starts on a different chord than the starting chord of the verse and the starting chord of the chorus. That may be all you need to get started on a new musical idea.

Sometimes the bridge will start on a chord that hasn’t been heard anywhere else in the song. It doesn’t have to modulate, but that’s a way to go as well. Modulating to a relative major or minor is good, but other modulations will work too.

I hope this has been helpful.

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