Best Bridges In Songwriting - Billy Joel - She's Always A Woman

3년 전

Have you ever heard anyone say they liked a song at first, but then they lament that it didn't go anywhere?

A bridge is a section of a song which takes the music somewhere else. Memorable songs have strong bridges. Often times the bridge is what catapults a song to the next level. Let's take a look at an exquisitely crafted bridge: Billy Joel's She's Always A Woman

She's Always A Woman

She's Always A Woman.png
(I have added a green Star shape to assist your vision reading my handwriting)
The words during this section are below

Oh, she takes care of herself
She can wait if she want's
She's ahead of her time

Oh, And she never gives out
and she never gives in
She just changes her mind

What makes these chords so beautiful? Billy Joel has combined a descending, step-wise series of bass notes with cycle-of-fifth root movement. The resulting chords take us through several key centers, giving us a pleasant sense of floating about frivolously, sans responsibility, before tumbling safely back down to the home key of Eb

Cycle-of-Fifth root movement is the strongest perceived root movement to our ears.

Which "key centers" are we moving through?

The first bar draws us into the key of Bb via 2-5-1 (C- to F to Bb)

You may have already noticed the next bar begins with Bb! This feeling doesn't last, however, because we are already on our way to Ab via 2-5-1 (Bb to Eb to Ab)

Even this key is short-lived as Billy makes the finest move of this section, sliding down his bass note from Ab to G, then F, thereby arriving at a 2-5-1 back to Eb! (F to Bb to Eb)

The genius of this move is that it does not sound jarring even though we are changing key centers. This is because Billy has already established a pattern of sliding bass notes down by steps throughout this section, so a modulation only feels like more of the same!

This theme continues through the next stanza as we move through the key centers of Db and Cb before he once again slides down the bass, this time by half-steps (Cb to Bb to A) to give us a strong and final 2-5-1 in the key of Eb, returning us to the home key for the next verse of the song.

That's a tremendous amount of music for just six lines of poetry.

This is an original post for Steemit by @CosmicVibration on 20 October 2018

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@transcript-junky I am looking forward to continuing this series!