How to Write a Bridge for a Song

Three Parts:Planning the songTo bridge or not to bridge?Developing a bridge

Not every song needs a bridge. But if you want your song to be more than just verse-chorus-verse-chorus, a bridge is a nice way to prevent a song from getting stale or even to move a song to a completely new point.

Part 1
Planning the song

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    Determine what you want this bridge to accomplish. What are your plans for this song? Are you going to play the bridge and go back into the chorus one more time or do you have another part of the song that you want to transition into? Are there going to be multiple bridges in this song or just the one? Don't just go with the flow, but have an actual plan for this bridge before you begin to write it out.
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    Write your song and become comfortable with it. Be able to play sing the whole way through (even if you are not a great singer/musician).
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    Arrange your music. This can be done prior to writing or even while writing but you need to know where you are going with the song (especially if you are going to have someone else play/sing) before proceeding.

Part 2
To bridge or not to bridge?

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    Understand the purpose of a bridge. The point of the bridge is to make the song sound "fuller" and it's really supposed to "sum up your song". In reality, the bridge is usually a real stumbling block because sometimes it's like writing a whole other song.
    • This is known by several names, such as the breakdown or sometimes second chorus. Whatever you call it, it is the same.
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    Be aware that there are situations where a bridge doesn't work. Many artists choose to add a third verse instead of a bridge - this can work, depending on the style of music. If you are writing something where most artists use a bridge, make one.
    • Pick one line from your song and sing it over some chords in your key - you will get it. If you can write a verse and then a chorus, the bridge should be no more than taking a break and coming back to it when it "hits" you. It takes a while to become a proficient song writer so be patient - you will finish that song, so don't waste any money producing it until it is done.

Part 3
Developing a bridge

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    Understand what key and the tempo that the song is in. Changing the key and the tempo in the middle of a song without notice can wreck a song. Its often hard to change the key from Ab major to C minor and drop the BPM (beats per minute) from 120 to 65 without feeling like the song is falling apart. Not to say it is impossible, but it is often tough especially for new song writers. For beginners, try to stick to the original key and the original timing as much as possible.
    • Go to your old material. Most writers (unless this is your first song) go to the piles of songs that didn't make it and the look for little hooklets and pieces to create a fantastic bridge (maybe you made one for a different song in a different key).
    • Remember why you are writing and how it makes you feel - is it about falling in love? Does that make your stomach feel like a truck whizzing by on the interstate? If so, you have your subject matter and sound to try to emulate.
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    Find the best few artists in your genre and examine their format and their bridge (if used). As mentioned, key and tempo are important. If you start on a G chord in the verses and you start on a C or a D in the bridge, you will be fine. If you change up the strum pattern, but keep the same bpm, you are fine. You can take a 6th or 7th chord as mentioned (these numbers refer to their position in the major scale 1 would be the root note 2 one step up - etc.).
    • If you don't have a war chest of songs, listen to the top 50 charts, look up the songs (Youtube works well). Play them, sing them, feel free to hate them but they have done the one thing you haven't yet––they are hits.
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    Try using a chord that is not in the verse/chorus progression but is still in key. A lot of bridges make themselves standout by hitting a note that is distinct from the rest of the song. A lot of artists will use something like the major/minor 6th or the major 7th note to transition their song to its bridge. This catches the listener's attention and adds a notable element to the song.
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    Emphasize a different instrument. Is the song really guitar heavy? Introduce the bridge with just the bass guitar playing. Is the vocally driven? Make the bridge an instrumental passage (no vocals). Try mixing and matching different instrument combinations and see what you want to build off of.
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    Change the dynamics of your song. If there hasn't been a lot of musical build in your song, try adding a distinct build. If the bridge breaks to just a single guitar playing, try slowly adding the other instruments back into what the guitar is doing until something new is built. It may leave room to add a new and inventive melody line.
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    Think outside the box. For example, instrumental, a capella, a drum interlude, and so forth. Try either a complementary style rock/country with blues or maybe even add a few lines of "rap".
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    Don't give up. Writing an interesting song can be difficult. Finding the perfect bridge can be near impossible sometimes, but the more that you play with your song and the more fun you have with it, the more parts will stick out in your head and integrate into your music. Remember, there are no wrong answers in music.


  • If you have been playing for hours and are not making any progress, give it a rest. Sometimes the best bridges will come about when you are day dreaming about your song, sitting around doing nothing, or while working on a completely different piece.
  • Join an A&R site - get your music evaluated until you have the confidence/validation you need. There are Grammy award winning producers out there just waiting to rip your song apart for a few bucks.
  • Don't cut your own demo. Unless you have exceptional talent and live near a music center, it's usually better to have a pro sing your song (they will usually smooth out some of your less than stellar notes). It is also recommended to get a "full production" - you want it to be "radio ready". This allows you to sell the song as is or the company licensing it can redo it with a different singer. Most likely your song will be chopped up for "TV" - this is why a really good bridge is important, it could be the only part of the song they want!

  • Some people will tell you to share with friends and family (bad idea). These people are not musicians typically and have no clue how a song is put together. They usually don't understand that your rough song that you sing out of key is actually a hit of epic proportions when put in the hands of a professional singer.
  • Ask other musicians for helpful advice. Many have great tips that are not hit upon in this article.

Article Info

Categories: Songs and Song Writing