Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/Song Structure

Advertisement


Question
If it sounds fluid to the ear, is there anything wrong with an ABCABCAB song
structure where A is the verse, B is the Chorus, and C is the Bridge?

Answer
<<If it sounds fluid to the ear, is there anything wrong with an ABCABCAB song
structure where A is the verse, B is the Chorus, and C is the Bridge?>>

Nancy,

Thanks for your question.   Song structureis a  topic of interest to  by many writers at my critique sessions.

First, I always hesitaste to use the word "wrong" as there are no absolute rights/wrongs in songwriting.  There are, however, guidelines based on what you want the song to achieve.
The final decisions are yours to make.

A typical song structure where there is a bridge is ABABCB or ABABCAB or AACA

There are some songs which use a double bridge, but they are a minority, and they have to be very well written for a double bridge to work.    The key question you must ask yourself is  why does it NEED two bridges?  Also, what is the overall length of the song. If it's much more than three minutes with the repeated bridge, and if the bridge is not there to move the story along,  then it might be better to omit it.

The purpose of a bridge, which should have a  musical and lyrical structure totally different from any other section, is to address information which is essential to the song, and which needs listener attention.   When the bridge appears twice and if it is the SAME both times  what is the specific reason for this ?  What information does it convey the second time that is different that the first time, and is it confusing the identity of the repeated chorus?   All guidelines have exceptions,  and in this case, listen to "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" by Billy Joel.

If the two bridges are lyrically different (they must be musically identical or they are not both "C"  sections -- it would be a C and a D section if the music changes, which is a non-standard form)  then it is assumed you are writing a story-song and the bridges help move the narrative along.  If you are writing a list-song,   it would be hard to justify two bridges as being necessary.     

Be sure that what you are calling a bridge and chorus really is, and not a pre-chorus or climb.  I'd have to see the lyric to know for sure.

Bottom line, if it's there for a specific reason and not just "because",  then there's nothing 'wrong' with a repeated bridge.     If it's doing what you want it to do,  it's your decision to make.

Good luck with your writing,

Bill Pere      (http://www.billpere.com)
President, CSA
Official CT State Troubadour
Director, CT Songwriting Academy
IMC Indie Artist of the Year  

Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Bill Pere

Expertise

Can answer questions on : Technical aspects of lyric and music compostion; How to give and receive objective critique; Arranging and production; Concrete vs abstract imagery; Use of metaphor; Rhyme techniques; Song Structure; Collaboration; Songwriter Associations; Promotion; Guitar technique; Music Business;

Experience

Grammy-Award-winning songwriter; President of the Connecticut Songwriters Association and Director of the Connecticut Songwriting Academy; Named one of the Top 50 Innovators and Guiding Lights of the Music Industry in 2008 by Music Connection Magazine; Author of "Songcrafters' Coloring Book:The Essential Guide to Effective and Successful Songwriting." Named Independent Artist of the Year,by the 2003 national Independent Music Conference; 30 years as a professional singer-songwriter; 16 original CD's released;
Have had songs placed on other artists' CD's. Twice named Connecticut Songwriter of the Year.
20 years as Executive Director of the LUNCH Ensemble. Have attended more than 200 presentations by top industry professionals and have critiqued thousands of songs. Have written and produced dozens of stage plays and hundreds of concert events; Have coached hundreds of aspiring songwriters, and collaborated with several award winning writers. Have written commissioned songs as an Official Connecticut State Troubadour. Music Director of youth choirs and music camps.

Organizations
Connecticut Songwriters Association (President); LUNCH Ensemble (Local United Network to Combat Hunger -- Exec, Director); CMEA (Connecticut Music Educators Association); Folk Alliance; Association For Psychological Type; Songsalive; WE R Indie; Creative Songwriting Academy;

Publications
Songcrafters' Coloring Book: The Essential Guide to Effective and Succesful Songwriting Songwriters Market (2001, 2002); Connecticut Songsmith; Contemporary Songwriter Magazine; Songwriters Musepaper;
Songcrafter's Coloring Book;   Strategies for Teaching Guitar;

Education/Credentials
Masters Degree Molecular Biology; Certified MBTI Practitioner (Myers Briggs Type Indicator); Connecticut Secondary Public School Teaching Certificate; Author: "Songcrafters' Coloring Book: The Essential Guide to Effective and Successful Songwriting"

Awards and Honors
2012 Grammy; Named one of the Top 50 Innovators and Guiding Lights of the Music Industry in 2008 by Music Connection Magazine; Independent Artist of the Year, (2003 national Indie Conference); Official Connecticut State Troubadour, appointed by CT Commission on the Arts, 1995 ; 1982 and 1992 CT Songwriter of the Year; 2000 Award for 20 years of Outstanding Service to Songwriters;
2002 CSA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education through Music; Numerous awards for outstanding community outreach through music; 1997 Citation from Connecticut Legislature for exemplary dedication to community outreach through music. 1995 Renaissance Award for multiple music achievements in a single year.   Invited Presenter and Mentor at various Music Conventions

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.