#1
As you know, there are plenty of columns and lessons instructing you to how to write a song. In this article, I want to show you how you can END a song perfectly. Its very easy to fade a song out, and that works sometimes, but you do not want to do that in all of your songs.

To end a song, I am going to instruct you to play two chords, it is that simple. But I am also going to help you define what you want the listener to feel at the end, as that is very important. This is especially useful if you are on stage and you are playing your last song, as the audience will hopefully go home pleased.

Right, back to the two chords I mentioned, this short series of chords is called a CADENCE; caps is optional. In the Latin "cadentia" means "a falling". There are four types of cadence, and these are:

Perfect
Plagal
Imperfect
Interrupted

Each of these have a distinct feeling, and you can choose what ever one you want.

Firstly, the Perfect cadence. This is made up of a movement from chord numbers V to I.So, for example, in the key of C major, this would be Gmaj to Cmaj. This sounds emphatically complete, and is the most common ending of a piece. This is mainly because of the root chord ending it. You may want to imply a sense of completeness, and that there is no more of the song left.

Secondly, the Plagal cadence. This is made up of a movement from chord numbers IV to I. So, for example, in the key of A major this would be Dmaj to Amaj. This also ends on the root, and is similar to the Perfect. But this time, we start on the fourth. This will sound restfully complete, almost like saying "Amen". This will calm the audience down for maybe a ballad to proceed it. In my opinion, this sounds better than the Perfect, but its your choice.

Thirdly, the Imperfect. This is different from the Perfect and Plagal cadence, as it does not end on the root. It is a movement that starts off on any number of chord, but it must finish on number V. So, for example, in the key of B major , this might be chords II to V, so C# to F#. This one sounds quite incomplete, as if the last chord is missing. This may be resolved with the root, but in one particular case by the well known Mozart, he ended deliberately without the root, I think the piece was called "A Musical Joke" translated from the German. This will leave the audience wanting more, and probably isnt a good idea for the very last song, you may want to have the next song as quite energetic.

Finally, we have the Interrupted, or the "surprise" cadence as Americans like to call it. Again, this does not end on the root, in fact it must not end on the root or V as that is what defines the cadence. So, by a process of elimination, we find that this one can finish on anything, as long as V begins it and I or V does not follow it. This sounds very incomplete, as the final chord sounds surprising(hence the name). This is a good spot to change key in a song, for a short while, and then resolve it by coming back to the original key and finish it in the other ways. For an example, in the key of E-flat major using chords V to III this might be Bb to G.

Remember that simply playing the cadence in the form of its two chords is no use, and its unique sound will not be unleashed! You must play a song right the way through using your chosen key. So all this may not be intended for improvisers, but knowing this they might try to have a song in a key. Its not that hard to do, but slightly harder to do it good. Ill let you do that one and leave you with this knowledge.

Good luck with your songs!

Quote by Robbie n strat
In the changing rooms we'd all jump around so our dicks and balls bounced all over the place, which we found hilarious.



Little children should be felt, not heard.
Last edited by notoriousnumber at May 11, 2006,
#2
sounds pretty cool :p cba trying it out right now though :p but yeah, seems cool:p
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#3
Aww, for christs sake people, this is useful stuff, it could really help you

Quote by Robbie n strat
In the changing rooms we'd all jump around so our dicks and balls bounced all over the place, which we found hilarious.



Little children should be felt, not heard.
#4
Looks pretty good to me, perhaps something about a deceptive cadence? That is V - vi
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#5
how about the cadence in "Cliffs of Dover" by Eric Johnson?
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#6
Umm... some of the info is inaccurate.

A perfect Authentic Cadence is a V7 to I with the 3rd of the chord resolves to the root of the 1 chord in the highest voice. Any variation of a V7 > I besides that is an Imperfect Authentic Cadence such as the soprano voice resolving down to something that is not the tonic. Most of the time, in non 4 part harmony, a normal V-I can fit too.

Plagal Cadence looks all right. Also known as an "A-MEN" cadence, because thats what those two chords that they use in church hymnns.

Already covered imperfect cadences.

Never heard of "Interrupted" cadence in my studies.

A half cadence ends on the V. Used when you end a phrase, but you are going to repeat it and end with a Full cadence (V-I)

A deceptive cadence is a V > vi. Meant to end the song but give you a sense that it's not really finished, an unresolved, dark feeling.

Cadences aren't really always meant to end an entire song. Yes, a great cadence is a great way to end a song. But cadences can be used at the end of phrases, progressions, or verses in a song.

Example of a Perfect authentic cadence.

-2---3-
-1---0-
-2---0-
-0---0-
---------
------3-

Edit: ^second chord, mistake.

See how the top note, the third of the chord, resolves up to the root of the resolving chord? And both chords are in root position.
Last edited by coffeeguy9 at Jun 21, 2006,
#7
^Thanks, this is sort of a draft, Ill include more info when I have the time.

The majority of the info that is in this piece was obtained from my music class, and we have only just got onto chord theory, so its quite basic stuff really.

Quote by Robbie n strat
In the changing rooms we'd all jump around so our dicks and balls bounced all over the place, which we found hilarious.



Little children should be felt, not heard.
#8
God dammit, I swear to God, I was just doing research for an article on the exact same subject!
Oh well, you did it better than I probably would have, anyway.
Awesome stuff. I think the art of the cadence is somewhat ignored among musicians today. I hope this opens people's eyes, because cadences are awesome.
Nice article.