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Author Topic: Musical bridges in GS themes  (Read 2525 times)

ActualRetailMike

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Musical bridges in GS themes
« on: November 06, 2018, 11:09:30 PM »
What are your favorite musical "bridges" in game show themes?

In music theory, a bridge is a musical phrase that acts as sort of a "break" within a song -- the melody is different. A bridge typically appears after at least two refrains or choruses, and at least one refrain follows it.
Think of it as "A-A-B-A".

My favorites include:
The Dating Game, original ABC '60s-early '70s.  This was unusual in that the bridge could usually be heard in its entirety right at the beginning, during Jim Lange's intro.  As a kid I really liked the way the bridge, which was akin to a slow march, ended with a single crash-cymbal sound.  I think a later version of the theme music replaced that with a longer French horn blast, though.
Lots of the Chuck Barris music made use of bridges, including those 2 themes originally intended for their own shows but used as prize copy for other shows instead.

Match Game 70s.  The bridge here was unusual in that it appeared after 4 repetitions of the main phrase, after getting more and more upbeat each time.  I always thought of the bridge as being a "woooo, hoo" sound, sort of, repeated 3 times, with the fourth bar a lead-in back to the beginning of the main part.  Now there was an alternate version of the MG theme that played a lighter and less-contrasting version of the bridge after only 2 repetitions; it then went into the usual bridge after 2 more.  I think this was only used for promos and the like, rather than the show's main theme music.

Split Second, 70s version.  This could primarily only be heard during the closing credits, and appeared then after 2 full repetitions of the main theme (the CD only does so once), each of which ended in a cold finish.  The bridge had sort of a, IDK, looping roller-coaster-like progression.  I thought it was cool how it ended with a rapid series of guitar notes!

One popular theme song without a bridge: Jeopardy!  As most of us know, the longer version of the J! theme, after the introduction, merely repeats over and over again, usually with an up or down tonal change between them.  And that refrain is none other than a jazzed up version of the think music. (The same arrangement of which was used in the original Art Fleming series, along with the first dozen or so seasons of the current one.)  Is there a musician out there who can add a meaningful bridge to this theme music?  If so, perhaps this bridge could work in elements of "Take Ten", the original theme music from the Fleming years.  A tribute or shout-out, if you will. That theme ended in a cold finish with a single-note trumpet blast -- could that be used as the bridge's last note before returning to the refrain?  I'll confess I tried to work those sounds together since I was about 5, as I had trouble reconciling that the think music and theme music weren't somehow connected.

Sodboy13

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2018, 11:46:00 PM »
I really enjoy the bridge in the 90-second bonus round music for Finders Keepers. That entire music package is one of my favorites, in fact, in the way it accompanies the bedlam and franticness of the show while still being measured, well-paced, and gradually escalating the tension like any good countdown should. Just part of what made it and Double Dare more game show than kids' show.

For a contrast to better illustrate the point I'm trying to make, listen to an episode of Fun House.
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Otm Shank

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2018, 12:20:01 AM »
$25K/$100K Pyramid, and anything else is no better than a distant second.

BrandonFG

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2018, 12:33:36 AM »
Off the top of my head, I've always been a fan of the bridges on TPiR, Scrabble, TTD, $ale (Perry), Password + and Wheel (Alan Thicke's theme).

To me, it seems the composers from back in the day knew how to perfectly time the bridge to match either the host's entrance or the end of the announcer's prize copy. Listen to a Wheel closing from the Woolery era, and the piano break serves as the perfect segue from Jack or Charlie's marathon reading. Kinda allows you to catch your breath before going back into another funky verse.

Question: would this also be called the breakdown? When I hear bridge as a musical term, I think of the portion following a verse that leads into the chorus.
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Unrealtor

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2018, 08:47:38 AM »
$25K/$100K Pyramid, and anything else is no better than a distant second.

What are you defining as the bridge there? I've always heard three separate parts: the original theme from "Tuning Up", the lighter but similar part that was added by Bob Cobert, and the part where the brass drops out for most of it.
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Clay Zambo

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2018, 09:23:28 AM »
The middle 8 bars of the '74 TATTLE TALES theme make my heart soar. I'm serious. I have yet to write a piece of music that makes me as happy. The middle 8 of the PRICE IS RIGHT cue called "Spring Waltz" is a close second, and I am stepping away from this thread now before I spend the entire rest of the day analyzing those two pieces in an attempt to figure out what's going on in those spots, because I have stuff to do.

But I will come back to them.
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Clay Zambo

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2018, 09:32:28 AM »
To me, it seems the composers from back in the day knew how to perfectly time the bridge to match either the host's entrance or the end of the announcer's prize copy.

Is it the music or the copywriting or the editing or the timing that got worked out in rehearsal? (Not so much the prize copy timing; I think there you may be right - if a prize plug can be no longer than x seconds, it probably made sense to work out tempos such that sections of music could fit in that amount of time.)
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chrisholland03

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2018, 09:50:37 AM »
I'm a big fan of the Chain Reaction 'Instant Reaction' travel loop.  I'm bummed they rarely (if ever) showed the set transition in the series like they did in the pilot. 

Along those lines, is there a musical term for the violin flourishes in the CR theme that were common in late 70s music?

Blanquepage

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2018, 12:42:49 PM »
Not sure how well I can describe it, but mine would be the upbeat (polka-ish?) part in the Bullseye theme, between the two string-based renditions of the main melody. Would the trumpet part of the full version of the current WoF theme be considered a bridge? If so, definitely a fan of that one too.


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bclark71

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2018, 12:43:00 PM »
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ChrisLambert!

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2018, 07:38:23 PM »
Along those lines, is there a musical term for the violin flourishes in the CR theme that were common in late 70s music?

If there isn't, I propose we call it a "Meco".
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Kevin Prather

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2018, 08:55:13 PM »
Question: would this also be called the breakdown? When I hear bridge as a musical term, I think of the portion following a verse that leads into the chorus.

Kinda. The "bridge," or "middle eight," is a departure from the verses and chorus, but usually still played by the whole band. The "breakdown" is when soloists take over for an extended time, often improvising. The current Jeopardy theme is a good example. When the guitar and saxophone takes over, that's the breakdown.

I'm going to disagree with the OP that the Jeopardy theme never had a bridge. The early 2000s theme had a fantastic bridge, especially when they removed the guitar and sax from it. It had hints of the chorus, but it was different enough to be considered a bridge.

TimK2003

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2018, 09:08:57 PM »
Battlestars had that great bridge between the main theme parts, with that piccolo segment.

The keyboard & flute "bridges" in the Marshall Hollywood Squares theme is one of my faves as well.  Too bad they butchered those up in some of the syndicated years.

chrisholland03

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2018, 08:19:24 AM »
Along those lines, is there a musical term for the violin flourishes in the CR theme that were common in late 70s music?

If there isn't, I propose we call it a "Meco".

It certainly fits


chris319

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Re: Musical bridges in GS themes
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2018, 02:34:02 AM »
The bridge in the TPIR theme was used to great effect behind the ticket plug for many years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33Mov4DtXGI&t=15s

Quote
To me, it seems the composers from back in the day knew how to perfectly time the bridge to match either the host's entrance or the end of the announcer's prize copy.

The only shows I can think of like this are the original LMAD with live music by Ivan Ditmars, and The old, old Treasure Hunt with Jan Murray and Milton Delugg and his accordion. Maybe old Concentration with a live organ and percussion? The point being that all of these shows had a) live accompaniment and b) live prize copy. Maybe Camouflage?

Seven Keys had a boatload of prize copy but the music was all recorded.