In the song Amie by Pure Prairie League there is a repeated section of muisc that is about 4 bars long(or 2 depending on how you count it). It occurs between every section of music except near the end with it is left out(I assume to keep the momentum going and because it is not as crucial).

It occurs right before the verse(or the first 4 bars of the verse before the lyrics come in).

About the best thing I can think to call it seems to be a pre-verse but this does not feel quite right. I know most will probably want to lump it in with the verse but this doesn't feel quite right either(to general).

Any ideas?

  • A bridge maybe?
    – user1306
    Mar 30, 2013 at 15:52
  • @percusse No, a bridge is usually defined as a complete contrasting section of music... I'm not sure why as it doesn't seem to be a useful definition. It does seem to "bridge" the verse with what comes before it and I'd love to use that term if it didn't have a standard meaning already. Another term is possibly "linker" but I'd prefer something else and something more standardized.
    – user2691
    Apr 1, 2013 at 8:34
  • Bridge can mean a lot of things. Originally it actually WAS used to indicate exactly the kind of section we're discussing. The way we use it today, usually means a much larger section of music, either a B or C theme that may happen once every verse or just once in a tune.
    – ecline6
    Apr 6, 2013 at 0:48
  • @ecline6 That maybe or may not be true but unfortunately the common terminology is that it is a complete section of music. I wouldn't mind using the term cause it makes sense to me but it could cause more confusion than not...
    – user2691
    Apr 6, 2013 at 5:36

3 Answers 3


I would call it an interlude: a short instrumental section to be played between two other sections.

  • 1
    That doesn't seem quite right. I tend to think of interludes as being much longer and more involved. This 2 bar part seems to be integral to the verse. It is a sort of pre-verse but was hoping for a better name. I have used pre-verse in the meantime.
    – user2691
    Apr 5, 2013 at 23:21
  • An interlude can be short or long. Apr 9, 2016 at 5:18

It's called a transition. Typically they are just a few bars long and don't introduce any new themes or material that would be developed. You can think of them as a way to constructively waste some time in a song because starting the next section right away feels rushed or abrupt.

  • Yes, transition seems like a good term but also seems a bit too general. In this case the transition is always before the verse, as if it is attached to it. Maybe the term transitional interlude or transitional bridge would be appropriate?
    – user2691
    Apr 6, 2013 at 5:35
  • @AbstractDissonance From the dictionary... Transition a. A modulation, especially a brief one. b. A passage connecting two themes or sections.
    – ecline6
    Apr 6, 2013 at 12:30
  • Yes, but again, it's too general for what I'm asking. From some site "An interlude is a short sequence that often re-uses themes and feel from another section of the song. Literally an interlude provides, when needed, breathing space between sections of the song. Interlude sections are almost always instrumental as they literally provide space for a singer to breathe." Which, if it was standard, would be a good term for what I am talking about.
    – user2691
    Apr 6, 2013 at 14:17
  • But I generally think of an interlude as something longer as from VT's dict: "Any piece of music played or sung between the movements of a larger composition."
    – user2691
    Apr 6, 2013 at 14:18
  • From VT's dict, Transition - "Passing out of one key into another; also, a passage that takes the composition from one key into another."
    – user2691
    Apr 6, 2013 at 14:18

That sounds like a turnaround, which is a short transitional passage that leads back to (i.e. ‘turns around’ into) the start of a section — often to the verse, or the start of the piece.

The term originated in jazz and blues, but I've seen it used for many other genres such as gospel, rock, and hymn singing; I think it can apply to any form with repeated sections.

It often takes the form of a 2- or 4-bar chord progression, sometimes with a short melody, to add interest in between verses. It's particularly important when the previous section ends with a different chord (or even key), and so the turnaround can lead naturally into the new chord without a jarring change. But even when that's not the case, it provides a short breather. And in choral/group/congregational singing, it can indicate exactly when the singers should come in again.

(There are many refs online…)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.