Burning Bridges: Defining the Interverse in the Music of U2

Christopher Endrinal

KEYWORDS: interverse, bridge, popular music, form, U2, Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr., introduction, verse, chorus, refrain, interlude, transition, conclusion

ABSTRACT: Popular music analysis, particularly pop-rock analysis, presents several challenges. Despite the repetition and seeming simplicity of the harmonic progressions in many pop-rock songs, analyzing their form can be difficult. One of these difficulties lies in the terminology used to describe the sections within a song. Specifically, the term “bridge” is troublesome because frequently it does not adequately describe the function of the section it represents. Using the music of Irish group U2, this paper defines and illustrates the “interverse,” a new term for the section traditionally called a “bridge” in pop-rock music, one that more accurately describes how the section relates to immediately preceding and succeeding material, as well as how it functions within the song as a whole. In addition to introducing new terminology, this paper also defines, illustrates, and distinguishes among the traditional sections of a pop-rock song, namely the introduction, verse, chorus, refrain, interlude, transition, and conclusion.

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Received February 2011
Volume 17, Number 3, October 2011
Copyright © 2011 Society for Music Theory