Creative Ways to End Songs on Piano

The manner in which you end songs matters a great deal, as it registers a final memory of how remarkable your performance was.  Ending your songs in a common manner may leave a less memorable impression.  Hence today we will be examining some creative, more complex chord progressions with which you can end your songs.

We will begin with the 2-5-1 chord progression along with the 6-7-1 chord progression.

Before we proceed, please remember this rule:

1 chord = Major

2 chord = minor

3 chord = minor

4 chord = Major

5 chord = Major (Dominant 7th when extended)

6 chord = minor

7 chord = Diminished (Half-Diminished 7th when extended)

For the purpose of simplicity, let’s interpret that in the key of C major.

Hence,

1 chord = C Major

2 chord = D minor

3 chord = E minor

4 chord = F Major

5 chord = G Major

6 chord = A minor

7 chord = B Diminished

The preceeding information was just a quick refresher.  Now we are ready to examine the first chord progression.

The 2-5-1 chord progression

Using the number system, the 2-5-1 chord progression denotes a movement from the “2 chord” to the “5 chord”, and finally to the “1 chord”.  Therefore, the 2-5-1 chord progression is represented in the key of C as:

Dmin – Gmaj – Cmaj

The 2-5-1 chord progression is quite common in modern music, and is therefore used frequently across different style of music.  For example it is usually played as Dmin7 – Gdom7 – Cmaj7 in jazz music. It is a very popular progression used in ending passages of jazz pieces.

See demonstration below…

 

You can use this right away when ending songs, however it looks quite simple and predictable. Let’s take a look at a few variations of the 2-5-1 chord progression.

Example 1

Dmin9 – G13 – Cmaj7

2 chord = D min9 :  D (left) / F A C E (right)

5 chord = G13 : G (left) / F A C E (right)

1 chord = Cmaj7 : C (left) / E G B (right)

Below you will find the demonstration on the keyboard.

Example 2

Dmin7 –  G13(b9) – Cmaj9

2 chord = D min7 :  D (left) / A C F (right)

5 chord = G13(b9): G B D F (left) / Ab B E  (right) or simply play G(left) / Ab B E

1 chord = Cmaj9 : C (left) / E G B D (right)

Below you will find the demonstration on the keyboard.

 

6-7-1 chord progression

The 6-7-1 chord progression is yet another exceptional chord progression to end songs with, although it is rarely mentioned.

Let’s take a look at this chord progression in the key of C major:

Amin – Bdim – Cmaj

Yet again, this chord progression tends to come across a bit boring.  Below you will find a few ways to spice it up, and potentially make it your favorite ending chord progression.

Example 1

In this first example, we will be playing just their roots on the left-hand (bass) alongside some Suspended chords on the right-hand, then land on the definite “1 chord” (C major chord)

6 chord = A (left) / Fsus2[FGC] (right)

7 chord = B (left) / Gsus2[GAD] (right)

1 chord = C (left) / Cmaj “2nd inversion” [G C E] (right)

Below you will find the demonstration on the keyboard.

Example 2

The second example makes use of basic triads over the bass notes on the left hand (the notes A – B – C respectively)

6 chord = A (left) / Fmaj “2nd inversion” [CFA] (right)

7 chord = B (left) / Gmaj “2nd inversion” [DGB] (right)

1 chord = C (left) /Cmaj “1st inversion” (E G C) (right)

Below you will find the demonstration on the keyboard.

A real-time application

Let’s look at the end of the song “Because of Who You Are” by Vicki Yohe.  The lyrics are as follows…

Lord I Worship You

Because of who

You are

Here you could fit in any Chord Substitute based on the ending progressions we played earlier.

*Note that you will play a chord underneath the exact word being sung, and then hold until the next chord, finally resolving to the last chord at the end of the song.

Using the 2-5-1 chord progression:

Lord I Wor-ship You

 2

Be-cause of who

 5

You are

 1

 

Using the 6-7-1 chord progression:

Lord I Wor-ship You

 6

Be-cause of who

  7

You are

 1

Remember, you can experiment and practice these creative endings on other songs as well. Let your ears be the judge.

 

-Joshua Okposo

MTC Contributor

 

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.