|The Bridge gets
your singers conveniently to the start of the next verse where they
should begin it with no hesitation whatsoever. It sometimes features in
the last part of the play-over too.
Getting your singers
to start the next verse is often less difficult than the first but again the old "pause,
off for two beats and re-start" is usually clumsy. Most organists
just leave just two beats rest which works a
proportion of the time, but a purpose
designed bridge will often help enormously.
A really serious problem with using the
"fixed" 2 beats is that this often creates a bar between
verses which in effect has a different time signature throwing the
congregation. I heard FULDA on BBC Songs of Praise where the organist
did just that and it really sounded odd; this 3:4 hymn suddenly had a
2:4 bar of silence between verses.
The tune CAMBERWELL (At the Name of
Jesus) was one of the first in recent times to include a bridge
absolutely guaranteed to get congregations singing from the beginning of
the second verse onwards. If you are cunning you can use the bridge in
your play-over as well to get the first verse started cleanly. Similarly Patrick Appleford's LIVING LORD
has a short
bridge which can also be built in to the play-over.
hymns and songs lend themselves to an easy bridge; those
that don't probably just need a little more thought and experimentation.
Sometimes just adding moving chords to a long held final note keeps the
rhythm going - see Joins below. Once you get used to adding a bridge you
will find that it comes easily and naturally and you can be quite
You will need to look
carefully at the hymn structure. From that you can construct
bridges between verses - mostly I use the same bridge before each
verse in a hymn but you may like to vary them; but be sure that you get
back to the starting point in a way that clarifies beyond any doubt
where you are! The bridge must not itself resemble the start of the next verse or some of the congregation may
start singing at the wrong moment - a recipe for disaster; the bridge
should move off before the last note of the preceding verse is over so
that there is no doubt what is happening; your congregation may be a
little surprised when you start using bridges if you have never done so
before; when changing your style of playing it may help them if you
write an article on this in your church magazine or pew notes.
Also take a careful look at the
ends of the middle line; lots of hymns fail to give enough time for the
singers to breathe. I have extended some of these in my settings, e.g.
CRIMOND & ST BOTOLPH. Sir Frederick Ouseley's tune CONTEMPLATION (When
all thy mercies, O my God) shows, possibly, how this should have been done
in the first place.
The bridge shown below may be regarded
as more of a logical "join" as there is virtually no
additional time added. I have done quite a number of these and the
moving inner parts help to maintain the timing to the next verse. It is
particularly relevant in the tune THORNBURY where there is a long held
note at the end of the last line of each verse making the restart very