Join Julian Velard for an in-depth discussion in this video Use your bridge as an intro, part of The Songwriter's Toolkit: Learning from the Masters.
- [Narrator] When you're looking for unique ways to bring excitement to your song, a song's form is a great place to start. Form is how we structure melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, and lyrical content in a song. This is, perhaps, our most powerful tool to create dramatic shifts in the way the listener hears a song. If you're looking for more information about the basic elements of pop song form, you could find it in Chapter 4 of my Music Theory for Songwriters: The Fundamentals course. I've also examined various ways we can use form to shape our songwriting ideas in Chapter 1 of my course. The Songwriter's Toolkit; New Perspectives. One clever - and extremely effective way - we can play with the song's form, is to reuse the content of it's bridge for its intro. Typically, an intro is an instrumental section that sets up the mood of a song. The bridge of a song is used to provide contrast to its main section, which is typically the chorus. By re-purposing musical ideas from a song's bridge in it's intro, we are able to give a song an additional sense of familiarity. This technique makes a song's bridge feel like it was always supposed to be there, when in actuality, it's only coming around for the first time. This is, of course, because we've already heard it. Some famous songs that use the music from their bridge for an intro are Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus" and Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years". Let me show you how we can use this technique with an example I've created called, "I Don't Know You". In order for you to hear how this effect works in context, first I'm going to play the example song, in traditional verse/bridge/chorus form. Namely, a short intro, followed by a verse, then a chorus, then a repeat of the verse and chorus, and finally the bridge. For the sake of time, I'll stop at the bridge, and skip the third and final iteration of the chorus. Have a listen. (Piano Music playing.) - [Vocals] It was on-ly yes-ter-day, Met you while I was on___ the way___ to the cor-ner gro-cery store, did-n't think it would be____ much more than a talk______ on my five______ minute walk_____. Girl, you're getting too close_____ to me___. You don't know all the things___ that I've been through. Girl, I want ev-rything you say__ to be true. But I don't know you. Is this real-ly hap-pen-ing? Will you be-come my ev-ryth-ing? Are you the one I've wait-ed for?__ Did-n't think this could be___ much more__ than a talk______ on my five_________ minute walk________. Girl you're getting too close___ to me,__ you don't know all the things___ that I've been through. Girl, I want ev-rything you say___ to be true. But I don't know you. Who_____ do you think_____ that you are?___ I don't know you. Girl____, I have too______ man-y scars___ to start a re-la-tion-ship. - [Narrator] Now have a listen to that same song, starting with an intro that's been built from the melody and chord changes of the bridge. You'll see that I kept the first three bars of the bridge chords exactly the same, and I've put the melody in the piano. This allows it to serve the purpose of an instrumental intro, while adding a sense of familiarity to the bridge, when we get to it in the form. It acts as a kind of foreshadowing. Have a listen. [Piano Music Playing] [Vocals] It was only yes-ter-day___ met you while I was on___ the way__ to the cor-ner gro-cery store. Did-n't think it would be____ much more__ than a talk______ on my five_____ minute walk._____ Girl, you're getting too close___ to me,__ you don't know all the things__ that I've been through. Girl, I want ev-rything you say__ to be true. But I don't know you. Is this real-ly hap-pen-ing? Will you be-come my ev-ry-thing? Are you the one I wait-ed for?__ Did-n't think this could be___ much more__ than a talk_____ on my five_____ minute walk._____ Girl, you're get-ting too close___ to me.__ You don't know all the things__ that I've been through. Girl, I want ev-rything you say__ to be true. But I don't know__ you. Who_____ do you think_____ that you are?__ I don't know_ you. Girl,_____ I have too______ man-y scars,___ To start a relationship. - [Narrator] Pretty neat how that works, right? If you've got a song laying around that has a bridge, take a stab at adapting that musical information into an intro. It might help you view your song in a completely new and exciting way.
- Using your bridge as an intro
- Adding an outro to your song
- Reharmonizing a chorus as an outro
- Ditching a verse
- Experimenting with multiple bridges
- Using modulation in a duet
- Using the tonic chord