In music theory, the bridge is the section that precedes the return to the main theme. It is used most often when a melody or accompaniment returns to the tonic note of a tonality (melodic phrase) or a key signature. In music, as in life, there is always something to balance out and another way to say it is: there is always something new to explore. So, what is a bridge in music? A bridge is a perfect opportunity for this exploration. It allows you to resume your earlier tone or tonality while tying it back to a previous point.
In music, particularly Western classical music, a bridge is a contrast that prepares the arrival of the tonal return. Here is an example of a basic bridge in music: the return to the tonic harmony happens after the tonic phrase is repeated either at the tonic note or after the tonic change. This tonal repetition in turn creates a minor tonal progression or movement. At this point in music, tonal movement is characterized by a sense of suspense or surprise. A bridge can emphasize this suspense by being brief, quiet, reflective, and ponderous, just like the mood of the tonal change or the repeated tonic phrases.
The idea of a bridge in music applies equally well to non-Western music. As a general rule, non-Western music tends to have less of a formal structure, and tonal movement is less regulated. Bridge is more fluid, less rigid, and less easily recognized as a point of change from the tonal flow. This is why the use of the tonic in a transition from one level to the next is so important in non-Western music. It anchors the tonal phrase to a previous tonal level or, if need be, to a previous tonal phrase.
bridge in music is also often employed to introduce a new rhythmic idea or pattern. In jazz, it is common to find the introduction of a rhythmic idea, often one that has been developed through repeated use of a tonal phrase, to be accompanied by a signature bass drum groove or fill. The bass drum or fill is then used to support the main rhythm guitar part and provide a smooth background to the lyrical introduction. Many modern music composers have explored the concept of the bridge in music. Here a single drum loop, or a group of loops, are introduced in the song and, as is usually the case with modern music, these loops are then played on top of a piano progression or structure. The use of a bridge in this situation can contrast with the smoothness of the overall rhythm and suggest a different structure to the music.
What is a bridge in music is not, however, just a single line cord that can be adopted as the point of change for another section of a song. In many cases the bridge introduced in a piece of music is actually a repeating chord or series of chords. It may start on one key signature but end elsewhere. For instance the bridge in a song that starts on G might end on an E minor chord or even an A flat. The use of a bridge is most often found in what is known as a tonal composition – where a central theme (such as a romance) is developed using tonal contrasts or shifts from one note on the piano keyboard to another.
A tonal bridge is a simple chord that repeats within a larger piece of melody. The most widely used tonal bridge in music is the minor tonal bridge. This occurs when the chord or notes on the piano keyboard are replaced by another, higher, tone. An E Minor chord would be replaced by an E minor tonality (an E being the fifth note of an E minor chord).
What is a bridge in music can also be applied to other areas of composition, for example in composition known as a sonogram. A sonogram, (which can be described as a musical composition that uses sounds to portray different characters), is created using voices of differing volumes to convey different meanings. A bridge in music is similar to this, where the tonal component of the original chord or notes is replaced by another. For example the refrain of a song could be an E Minor tonality (ending on an E) and tonally related to what is happening at that point in the piece (E flat or G flat or even an A-flat). Another bridge in music can be found in the opening of a novel where a character comes across a step that seems a little ambiguous to the reader.
In terms of theory and applications, what is a bridge in music can be applied to a wide range of musical styles and genres including Classical, New Age, Baroque, Artful, and Romantic. The original tonal or musical structure is still widely used in modern music. One of the most popular examples of this is the piano progression, which is repeated throughout many songs. This repeated pattern often involves chords of the major scale but sometimes uses only flat notes (B flat, C, D Major etc.) In terms of theory the musical structures can also be applied to other factors such as movement and melody such as in a favourite dance routine or in a specific song.
The information is provided by Konra Dragossing. Thank you for reading!