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A bridge is basically a section of the song that joins verses and choruses together, am I right? But can a bridge be repeated if the verse/chorus also repeats? I've tried Googling it, but I got some confusing results - some websites said it can, others said it can't.

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    Yes, you have my permission. And that of tens of thousands of other musos who do it all the time!! The so-called 'middle eight' of a lot of songs isn't eight bars long, nor in the middle, neither. Where did you get the idea we have to follow rules? Have you listened to enough songs that actually do have more than one bridge? Granted, it's not that many, but... And if you found a song which did, and it broke the 'rules', what would you do?
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 23, 2022 at 10:01
  • A section connecting verse and chorus is typically called "pre-chorus". Is that what you mean? Commented Jul 23, 2022 at 14:57
  • @user1079505 - I'd never heard of a pre-chorus until I joined this stack. It was a 'bridge' for 40 years before that, to me. [Might be a transpondian difference]
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 23, 2022 at 16:24
  • You can DO ANYTHING in music. Really who is going to stop you the music police? The more pertinent question is, is it going to sound good if you do it? In music, there are no rules it is only about what sounds good
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Jul 23, 2022 at 19:11
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    It seems we have yet to find adequate distinction between what one would call a bridge & another a pre-chorus. On the right side of the pond, the bridge is what comes before the chorus. We just don't use 'pre-chorus' as a term. I haven't yet figured out what other people's definition may be in UK English - I'd always think a 'bit that happens only once' is a middle 8 [which has already been mentioned doesn't have to be in the middle & doesn't have to be 8 bars]. Back when I did a lot of writing, if a bit didn't fit any existing definition, we'd just call it "other bit" or "bit in D"...
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 6:27

3 Answers 3

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This is entirely opinion-based, however…

People will tell you, you can't eat sprouts & custard, or put pineapple on pizza.

Sure you can, if that's what you like.
There's literally no rule, law, or edict to stop you - only people with different opinions.

Of course, there ought to be such a law about pineapple on pizza ;))

Still opinion-based, but after comments…
I'd say the primary purpose would be to add tension. Whenever I've used them it's been precisely for that… hold the audience expecting a chorus for longer, so the switch to chorus is 'bigger' for the final run to the finish. Alternatively, for an end repeating chorus, put a bridge before the first two, then let them run round after that. I've even ended on a bridge, to leave everything hanging…

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    The only people who tell you, you cannot eat pineapple on pizza are the Italians
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Jul 23, 2022 at 19:12
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    BTW, the sprouts & custard thing did actually happen, though by accident. Waaaay back in school, one guy held out the wrong plate for custard & got it on his sprouts instead. They offered to re-plate the entire meal, but he said he'd eat it, just to see. He declared it "OK, but not something I ever need to try again" ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 10:43
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    I seem to be getting downvotes from people who like pineapple on pizza. I can't imagine it could be a late surge from the sprouts & custard lobby ;))
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 17:52
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    -1 from me (even though I don't particularly disagree with the conclusion in this specific question). But please stop posting generic “anything in music is allowed” statements as answers. Yes, these are always technically correct, but a) they are generally misleading without the qualifier that everything “possible” will have an effect on the listener, which may or may not align with the composer's intentions. ... Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 20:28
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    b) in some cases it's not a matter of allowed or not, but definition. If the question is whether it's allowed to play a waltz in 4/4 then the answer is... kinda no it's not allowed – not because anything stops you from taking a waltz and changing it to be in 4/4, but because that removes exactly the element that causes it to be a waltz in the first place. It's still music, but not a waltz. Similarly, there could be an argument that it is the defining character of a bridge to only occur once in a piece, though I don't think that is the case. Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 20:30
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The websites aren't laying down rules. (Or they shouldn't be.) They're describing what they feel usually happens in some particular style of music.

Listen to some songs. Listen to LOTS of songs! Is there a bridge? Is it repeated?

I think you'll find some songs where it is repeated, some where it isn't. Can you see why each decision was made? Perhaps the song builds up to the first chorus and putting another bridge in would kill the momentum. Perhaps where a second bridge could come there's a guitar solo instead (but is it acting as a sort of bridge into the last chorus?). Or perhaps it's Verse-Bridge-Chorus all repeated.

Not fair, is it! You come asking for rules and we insist on research instead!

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    @user87626 another way of looking at it: sometimes the rules describe the defining characteristics of a certain form. If you don't comply with the rules, the song doesn't have the given form. But generally it doesn't matter whether a song has a particular form unless you're writing it for a pedagogical assignment that requires the particular form.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 11:26
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If you are looking for a simple answer is to this question, it is generally no, in my opinion.

There might be a bridge between two choruses at the end of a song, before an instrumental solo, before a key change, or before a build-up of tension and its release in electronic music.

Based on these uses, you could say that the bridge functions as a transition between two contrasting sections of a song or as a contrasting section on its own, the latter case being more common with pop music. Repetition of this part might make it a more structural part of the song, in which case you might call it something else, such as a "pre-chorus".

Of course, the real answer is, you can do whatever you want.

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