Happy Endings: Adding The Right Finish

Happy Endings: Adding the Right Finish To Your Arrangements

Awhile back I wrote a post on Endings To Songs. You know, like the 'classic ending' or perhaps a very 'mellow' ending. Today I wanted to share with you an article called, Happy Endings by Michael Esterowitz. He is the author of How to Play from a Fake Book

How To Play From A Fake Book

Happy Endings

Adding The Right Finish To Your Arrangements

There are many other good deceptive cadence chords besides those we looked at last time which lie a semi-tone away from the tonic. These also may be used in combinations or by themselves. A major chord built a full tone below the I (the bVII chord in a major key) is often used, sometimes "walking up" chromatically to the I, or skipping up to the II before the final chord resolves.

bVII (Bb6) = GbF/DG
VII   (B6)   = BF#/D#G#
I        (C6)  = CG/EA


bVII (Bb maj7) = BbF/DFA
bII    (Db7)      = DbAb/BFAb
I        (C maj7) = CG/BEG 


bVII (Bb maj7) = BbF/DFA
bII   (Db maj7)  = DbAb/CFAb
I      (C maj7)   = CG/BEG

Also possible is the bVI, a major chord built a major third below the I. This deceptive cadence is especially effective with a sustained note at the end when that note is a common tone for both the bVI and the I chord. (For instance, the note C held for the final note of a song in C is part of both the deceptive Ab major chord and the final C major chord.) The bVI can have a subtle effect when combined with other passing chords, but when used along with the bVII, also creates a big climatic ending (as shown below).

Ab = ABEBAb/CEbAbC (bVI)
Bb (add9) = BbFBb/DFBbC (bVII)
C = CC/EGC (I)

There are several longer and more sophisticated chord progressions that work equally well as deceptive endings or as introductions. We can't go into all of them, but one frequently used progression starts on a half-diminished chord built an augmented fourth (diminished 5th) above the I chord and then descends chromatically. Here is an example of this progression in Bb; work it out in other keys as well. In the pattern, the chromatic bass line is the key element, while the specific chord type (major, minor, diminished, sixth, seventh, or ninth) can often be altered without much difference in effect.

Cm7 = CGBb/EbGBbD
F7b9 = FA/EbGbAD
E dim = EGBbD/GBb
Ebm6 = EbGbBbC/GbBb
Bbmaj7/D = DFABb/FBb
C#aug = C#EGBb/EBb
Cm7 = CEbGBb/EbBb
Cbmaj7 = CbEbGbBb/EbBb
Bbmaj7 = BbDFA/DBb

So, the ability to use a Fake Book successfully is the idea of improvising the harmony based on the chords and playing the melody line along with the left hand chords. Do you know your chords? Here's a great audio resource to listen to, Chords 101 & 102

Happy Mother's Day to all the ladies!


"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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