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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Reader Questions

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"I have created a good song I believe with 2 verses and a chorus after each  and an ending however I would like to add a bridge . Where would be the best place to put the bridge and could you desribe to me the makeup of a good bridge in a song or define it well for me so I  can create a good bridge for this song."

I was sent this question the other day and I thought perhaps my answer would help some of you.

My reply:

By bridge do you mean middle 8?

Some people call the bridge the bit that links the verse into the chorus (or rise), which I guess could also be called 'end of the verse'

Other people called the middle 8 the bridge

I will assume you mean middle 8/bridge as in you need the 'middle bit' to the song

Lyrically the middle 8 of a song can be very important, as in can 'tie up' the loose ends from the other parts of the song ie Rest of song is about 'I hate you' and middle 8 says 'but I love you really' or song is generally about 'splitting up' and the middle 8 is about 'what I'd really like to happen if...'

So its good to have a middle 8 that EXPANDS on the song's subject matter, or TWISTS the meaning of the whole song into something you thought it wasn't, or EXPLAINS in more detail some other aspect of what the song is about, or shows the OTHER SIDE of the story

You want your middle 8 to have a PURPOSE. You don't want it to have the same style of content as if you were just going to write another verse, that would be, erm, another verse....you want what you are saying in the middle 8 to be somewhat revelationary, add a twist, new idea, a shift, another viewpoint on what has gone before

In the middle 8 the entire meaning of the song can be turned on its head. Don't try and stop this from happening.... see what happens to the idea of the whole song by writing a few different middle 8's - you'd be surprised that sometimes even though you've suddenly changed the whole meaning of your original intention with the song, it has actually become a better song with a stronger reason behind it

Most peoples problems with songwriting are because they've decided what the song is going to BE and they don't let it BECOME.

On the MUSIC side of things, try and make an 'interesting' chord sequence that has a few 'sounds' in it that the rest of the song does not have - by sounds I mean for instance if you haven't used many interesting chords in the verse or chorus, perhaps in the middle 8 use more 7ths etc - don't forget that as well as being important lyrically, the middle 8 is a 'breather' from the repetition of the verse - chorus thing. You can get quite clever with chords in middle 8's, sometimes you may write such a great middle 8 you may throw the rest of the song out and start with your new middle 8 as the first verse! (I know I have)

The other thing with middle 8's is they need to lead somewhere - they're either going to come straight back into a last verse, into a solo, or into an instrumental. Where you are going to end up musically at the end of the middle 8 can also effect the way you write it. If you end on a 'high' at the end of the middle 8 then a solo or musical interlude is cool - you need that so you can 'come down' again back to the last verse. however, if at the end of the middle 8 you're going to be going back into the verse immediately, you need to construct it so it gets 'back down' to where it has to be.

Don't forget there really are no 'rules'. If you want to have a middle 8 that's 10 bars, goes into a kazoo solo for 3 and a quarter bars and then finishes with the middle 8 AGAIN before the last chorus, no one is stopping you. In fact, coming up with crazy ideas like 'I'm going to write a middle 8 which is 10 bars long' can sometimes help you break the monotony and writing rut of rhyming in four bar sections.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

10:42 AM in Reader Question | Permalink

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