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Analysis of the bridge

4 replies, 4 voices Last updated by  Mark Anson-Cartwright 1 year, 7 months ago
  • Author
  • #28307

    Mark Anson-Cartwright

    Dear collective wisdom,

    Can anyone recommend literature on the bridge in popular song form? I am thinking of analyses of specific songs, where the bridge (B section) might have some special relation to the A section, or articulate some significant climax, and so on. Thank you.


    Mark Anson-Cartwright

  • #28330

    Keith Salley

    Hi Mark

    The first thing that comes to mind is Steve Larson’s article “What Makes a Good Bridge,” from the Dutch Journal of Music Theory (8: 1–15). If memory serves, it explores ‘bridge’ as a metaphor, and uses Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” as an example. Perhaps this isn’t the repertoire you’re really looking for, but it’s worth reading.

    Best of luck.

    • #28423

      Mark Anson-Cartwright

      Thanks to all of you—Keith, Christine, and David—for pointing out this literature to me. I will look into these leads.



  • #28331

    Christine Boone

    Mark, there is a lot of stuff on form more generally, which may contain info about bridges within each article. (The only one I know entirely about the bridge is the one that Keith mentions above.) Check out the stuff on form in our bibliography:

  • #28332

    David Carson Berry

    Hello Mark,

    You might also check: John Graziano, Compositional Strategies in Popular Song Form of the Early Twentieth Century,” in A Music-Theoretical Matrix: Essays in Honor of Allen Forte (Part V), ed. David Carson Berry, Gamut 6/2 (2013): 95–131. It’s online.

    As Graziano writes: “In this essay, I am interested in exploring the expansion of harmonic possibilities that took place in the release or bridge section of the chorus, with the adoption of the AABA form during the late 1910s and ’20s.”


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