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How To

What Are Bridges In Songs?

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Music Gateway Team


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By Tamarin Fountain

Do you find yourself confused by song structure terminology? If so, it can help to see and hear examples of the theories in action.

Listening to songs with obvious bridges will help to solve your question – what are bridges in songs? These examples show how these sections stand out from the rest of a song. This is because either because the pace, key, melody or all three, has altered.

If you want to understand this element of sing better and understand how to create your own, read on. 

What are bridges in songs?

The ‘bridge’ is a handy piece of musical structure that is commonly seen in contemporary music. It provides contrast and enables the writer to segue between segments like a verse and chorus. 

Even if you’re not a songwriter, as an artist, it’s important to understand the various terms used in the studio. If you’re rehearsing or recording a song and you’re asked to ‘take it from the bridge’, you need to know what this means. By hearing examples of songs with obvious bridges, you can listen and learn to recognise what it sounds like. You may also hear a pre-chorus in there too.

What is a bridge song structure?

When you think of song structure, the verse, chorus and possibly hook, will likely be the components that first jump to mind. But the bridge is another element frequently used in creating great tracks. The term began to be used in the UK in the 1930s, having been coined in the United States. It defined a transitional section in a song

The bridge doesn’t have a set place in a song. However, it often goes in between the verse and the chorus, or between a solo and the chorus or verse. And it frequently appears later on in the song, to break it up and create momentum before the final chorus. It may repeat in the song, or draw on elements of its other components. Many writers create their music instinctively. In these cases, you’ll find compositions are more complex and varied, with bridges popping up in unusual places.

What part of a song is the bridge?

It can come more or less anywhere in a song (apart from the beginning and end), but the bridge provides a change. This may be in terms of lyrics and/or the instrumental. The pace and melody will change too. It’s very much like the breakdown, a structural tool often found in dance music. A breakdown is where everything is simplified and paired back, often with the vocals, beat or melody removed. Like the bridge, it may also serve as a segue into another section (hence the confusion). The two may be combined at times, or the bridge may be repeated as a breakdown. 

By nature, a bridge joins one section with another, so it would be very odd to end with a bridge. The song would feel unfinished. Similarly, a song cannot begin with a bridge section. If this seems confusing it’s worth learning a little about song structure before writing your own music.

How many bridges are in a song?

It’s possible for a song to have two or more bridges. But it’s not usual. They’re usually found in extensive epic tunes. Lady Gaga is the queen of multiple bridges and often favours complex, detailed songs with quirky elements. More on that later. 

If you want to write your own bridge (or bridges), follow these top tips. 

  • Experiment with a new chord progression, from minor to major or vice versa
  • Try playing with the melody but taking into flats or sharps
  • Change the key – ideally upwards if you want to build a sense of drama
  • Slow it down or speed it up
  • Write some new lyrics in a different tone to the rest of the song
  • End your bridge with an ‘open’ chord, rather than a tonic chord. This gives the sense of leading the listener into something else, rather than closing off the segment. A bridge is, after all, a way to lead into more of the song, not an ending

Songs with obvious bridges 

It can be helpful to look at songs with obvious bridges.

#1 Take Me to Church by Hozier

This sultry hit contains a rich lyrical bridge prior to the final repeat of the chorus.

No masters or kings when the ritual begins

There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin

In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene

Only then I am human

Only then I am clean

#2 Firework by Katy Perry

Katy is fond of bridges and standardised formats in her pop numbers. This super positive anthem contains a simple and easy to spot bridge. 

Boom, boom, boom

Even brighter than the moon, moon,


It’s always been inside of you, you, you

And now it’s time to let it through

#3 Happy by Pharrell Williams

Pharrell used his bridge a total of three times in one song. But it is the same bridge, just repeated:

Bring me down,

Can’t nothing,

Bring me down,

My level’s too high,

Bring me down,

Can’t nothing,

Bring me down, I said.

Verse-chorus-bridge songs 

The verse, chorus bridge is the most familiar format for mainstream pop music. Here are some tunes that follow this pattern. 

#4 Fix You by Cold Play

Proving that bridges aren’t just for high octane pop numbers, this ballad lament follows a very simple verse-chorus-bridge structure, to great effect. It’s also made more impactful, as the only part of the song where all four band members sing.

Tears stream down your face

I promise you I will learn from my mistakes

Tears stream down your face

And I

#5 Strong by Robbie Williams

In this song, Robbie uses a bridge to change tempo and rhythm, and to incorporate a reflective lyrical theme, diversifying from the more repetitive chorus.

If I did it all again I’d be a nun

The rain was never cold when I was young

I’m still young, we’re still young

Life’s too short to be afraid

Step inside the sun

#6 Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver

This classic follows a typical format with the bridge coming before the final chorus.

I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me

The radio reminds me of my home far away

Driving down the road I get a feeling

That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

#7 Physical by Dua Lipa

This recent pop hit uses elements of the chorus in its bridge.

Hold on just a little tighter

Come on, hold on, tell me if you’re ready

Come on (Come on, come on)

Baby, keep on dancing

Let’s get physical

Hold on just a little tighter

Come on, hold on, tell me if you’re ready

Come on (Come on, come on)

Baby, keep on dancing

Let’s get physical

Songs with weird bridges 

#8 Kiss by Prince

In this bridge, coming after the second verse and chorus, Prince incorporates a dance section. This bridge sounds almost improvised and is less easy to identify as a bridge.

Yes, oh, I think I wanna dance, uh

Gotta, gotta, oh

Little Girl Wendy’s Parade

Gotta, gotta, gotta

#9 River by Eminem featuring Ed Sheeran

Here’s another rap tune with a string melodic influence and a bridge. This one appears after the third chorus and deviates slightly from the norm, in that the song begins with a chorus. So it is a chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus. And the bridge is followed by a verse instead of a chorus.

My name’s (ooh), my name’s (ooh)

River (ooh), river run

Call me (ooh), call me (ooh)

River (ooh), we’ll let the river run

Great rock bridges

#10 Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy by Queen

Whether this song contains one or two bridges is debatable. There is a clear segue section in this perky, playful and very skilful song. It’s in two parts but runs together. As the two parts differ in tempo, it’s more likely that this classifies as two bridges.

When I’m not with you

I think of you always

(I miss those long hot summer nights) I miss you

When I’m not with you

Think of me always

Love you, love you

Hey boy where do you get it from

Hey boy, where did you go?

I learned my passion in the good old fashioned school of loverboys

#11 Bad Romance by Lady Gaga

In this track, Gaga levers not one, but two bridges consecutively. They’re different from one another, so classified as two different bridges, rather than the same bridge repeated. They’re inserted before the final chorus. For another Lady Gaga song with two bridges, have a listen to Judas and see if you can identify where they appear.

Walk, walk, fashion, baby

Work it, move that bitch crazy

Walk, walk, fashion, baby

Work it, move that bitch crazy

Walk, walk, fashion, baby

Work it, move that bitch crazy

Walk, walk, passion, baby

Work it, I’m a free bitch, baby

I want your love, and I want your revenge

I want your love, I don’t wanna be friends

Je veux ton amour et je veux ta revanche

Je veux ton amour, I don’t wanna be friends (Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh)

(I want you back) No, I don’t wanna be friends

(Caught in a bad romance) I don’t wanna be friends

Want your bad romance

(Caught in a bad romance) Want your bad romance

Hopefully, these examples of songs with obvious bridges have provided some inspiration to create your own. Why not have a go at writing your own bridge and see how you get on. Or if you’re a performer but not a writer, set yourself a challenge to pick out the bridges in some of your favourite artists’ songs.

Related Questions

  • How long is a bridge in a song?

A bridge will usually be four to eight bars in length. A middle 8 is a kind of bridge but it has some specifics. As the name would suggest, a middle 8 comes in the middle of a song and is made up of 8 bars.

  • How do you write a bridge in a song?

You don’t have to follow the rules, however, it helps to know them if you want to break them. And understanding the various parts of a song can also aid in structuring. This will enable you to know what might work next if you’re stuck. Many major pop hits have followed a standard, winning structure.

  • What is a chorus in a song?

If you plan to write a song, it’s worth learning more about the various parts, of which the chorus is key. This is the most singalong element and catchiest aspect, often containing the hook. Learn more about the chorus in a pop song, here. 

Which are your favourite songs with obvious bridges? Perhaps you’ve written your own. Let us know and share a link to your track in the comments section below.


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