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jamie.pope's picture
London, UK
Dec 2002
7 years ago

Hey guys,

I understand that very few visit this forum, but i thought i'd take my chances.

Anyway, i have a bit of a dilemma regarding my songs.

For each track i'll write the intro, verse and then chorus. I'll do another verse, followed by another chorus. Standard song structure. Anyway, it all becomes pretty stagnant after that. I'll do the occasional solo over chorus towards the end, but that can get a little tedious.

I've written a few Middle 8's before, but was just curious to know how you go about structuring yours.

All tips, advice and suggestions welcome!

Cheers guys


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bloodyvalentine's picture
Oct 2002
6 years ago

what's a middle 8?

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coldbuggin's picture
Jun 2003
5 years ago

this is NO WAY in stone, but some pretty basic pop formula

verse chorus verse chorus middle 8 (basically 8 bar bridge) chorus chorus

just one of many possibilities.

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skip_tracer's picture
Wilmington, NC
Oct 2002
4 years ago

I don't know...I'm trying to think of any songs I've written with that structure, and I can think of one: a key change from D to A. Usually how that kind of thing goes, just a simple key change to regain the listener's waining attention. My songs are usually in an ABCD structure, rather than an ABABCAB kinda thing.

scarr's picture
Space City, TX
Jul 2004
8 years ago

Originally posted by bloodyvalentine
what's a middle 8?

The bridge -- Brits seem to prefer the term "middle eight" for whatever reason. ;)

A key change can work, but the main ingredient is just doing something different. It's a great place to do something odd in too because you do it once and you're done with it. I've actually written some bridges that I thought were best part of the song, but knew that vibe couldn't be sustained through multiple verses/choruses. To me, that's exactly what a bridge should be. :)

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no_happy's picture
London and York, UK
Jan 2004
2 years ago


i like to see a big change in my middle 8's..... either of a key, or a big change in dynamics, ie if you got a distorted strum along, go to some simple arepeggios and such

i know not much help but i try

spongemonkey's picture
The bottom of the deep deep blue
Oct 2003
6 years ago

A bridge is something that takes you over a gap from one place to another (obviously!). I think of the bridge in a song as a way to link chorus and verse, or verse and chorus, or verse and verse, or chorus and chorus, using a different structure. To do this I usually use switching or substitution


If I have song that goes,

verse: I III IV V
chorus: I VI V IV

and I decide I want the bridge between verse and chorus then I'll try to find an interesting way to get from V to I that adds something new,

Routes I might take would be

1. Use the structure of the verse or chorus but switch some of the chords around so you have:

verse: I III IV V
bridge: I IV III V or V III IV I etc....

2 substitute some chords with ones you've not used e.g II and VII so maybe:

verse: I III IV V
bridge: I II IV VII or I VII II V

3. substitute the minor chords for majors or vice versa, . So maybe:

verse: I III IV V
bridge: I IIIM IV V or I III IVm V or even I IIIM IVm V

4. Stretch out the verse or chorus

Verse: I III IV V

5 only use one chord for the bridge but arpegiate (sp?) it

6 a combination of 1,2,3,4 and 5!

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noisegrade's picture
Apr 2003
8 years ago

There are some good ideas in these responses, but if you want better ones, try a Beatles or Beach Boys song book. The chord changes can be one of the best ways to signal a contrast in the music, and their tunes are full of nice changes.

Hell, they really just modified (or sometimes stole!) changes from other songwriters they liked or were influenced by, (Irving Berlin, Rogers & Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Chuck Berry, etc.) so why can't you? Get a jazz or pop fake book. The more you understand harmony and structure, the more you will see that most pop or rock songs are simply repeats of older music. Blues based music like much rock and today's pop tend to be more primitive, however, so if you want to write more sophisitcated songs, learn from older writers.


ThinPaperWings's picture
May 2003
5 years ago

I think it's usually a good practice to put a bridge/middle eight in a pop song. You have to break up the whole verse chorus, verse chorus thing, because you wear out the sequences. Leave it alone, let it freshen, and return to it. That's what I think.

Another cool thing instead of a bridge is to have a solo over a verse, then a key change at the end of the solo that puts the last verse in a different key. Like 'My Girl' starts in C and ends in D, or 'I Hear a Symphony' goes from C to C# to D to Eb. That adds some nice variety.

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moleman462's picture
Chicago, IL
Jun 2004
8 years ago

I'm totally right where you are man. Trying to break up the whole verse chorus verse chorus structure.

I like to do a few different things.

One is to start out the song with an intro of some sort, like some higher fill kind of notes on guitar, with lots of effects.

Then have the verse chorus thing going on, then back to the intro for your bridge, or some variation of it.

Another option is the dynamic change, of you've got a lighter verse and chorus, put in a heavier riff for the bridge, or vise versa.

It's a good way to rock out, but not bludgeon everyone's ears the whole time.

Now, who's gonna help me with writing vocal melodies????

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orpheus_2's picture
Jun 2004
1 year ago

it all depends what kind of music you make .but the teacher for songwriting at my school told us that you have to write in the good old formula verse chorus etc. to succed, i personally try to write simple mostly fx loaden ideas(but that's just my choice) and evolve them for example more and more dramatic (or whatever)without returning to the beginning and if i want i can still structure it verse chorus....while slowly but constantly raising the dynamics,or melodics ,or etc until climax and end it there . it somethimes lets me get by without a bridge(if i stick to the pattern) and doesn't sound that formula oriented .thats the concept i got out classical pieces and electronic music.
my musical preferences are more atmospheric to modern rock and relys a lot upon textures and great or well planned vocals and if done right works well with the above...i'm not shure if that's a universal idea though.
and of course if overdone (every other song) ,it will sound formulaic again.