5 Tips for Writing a Perfect Bridge
What is a bridge and how do you write one? Music producer and Ableton Certified Trainer LNA walks you through the art of bridge-building with these 5 simple techniques, ready for use in Ableton Live or any other DAW.
Bridge, also known as C-part or middle eight, is a contrasting section of a song with many potential functions. It may deepen the meaning of the lyrics, continue the story of the song or introduce new rhythms and melodies. It may also create variation, interest and change to the arrangement or add some tension, movement and structure.
“The general structure of a great song usually includes a chorus, verse and bridge that are fused harmoniously together. The chorus often provides a platform for the catchiest ideas in the song, while the lyrics stand out for evocative ideas. Lastly, the bridge comes in as an opportunity to incorporate a change in the song pace.” (Joanne Cooper, 2020)
The bridge is usually situated in the second half of the song, right before the last chorus. In this sense, it acts as a staircase to the grand finale of the song.
One of the most typical song structures is ABABCB, where C stands for bridge (or C-part). However, a bridge is not mandatory – everything depends on your vision for the song and its structure.
Tutorial Tip! To learn more about song structures and arrangement, watch this tutorial.
1. Dynamics and Tension
Click the headline to see what dynamics and tension look like in one of LNA’s pop songs.
Her song consists of continuous build-ups, lifts and drops, each chorus being a bit bigger than the previous one. In the bridge, the dynamics drop completely to gather energy for the final chorus.
The easiest way to create a bridge like this is to use the same elements you’ve already used – just strip them down for a moment and add on to them towards the end. Also, try automating the frequency in Auto Filter – a great tip to be used all over the song to add movement and tension.
2. Changing the Rhythm
A simple, yet effective way to add variation and interest in the bridge is to change the rhythm of the song.
Choose a desired drum part and freeze and flatten it to be able to manipulate it as an audio file. Then extend it or make it shorter, change its pitch or even reverse it by using Ableton’s tool tabs.
Once you’re done, add an Auto Filter to bring the new rhythm in smoothly.