Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

Song Endings
By Chris Standring

Intros and endings are very important when playing jazz standards because it will show the listener that you have thought about some kind of arrangement, rather than counting off a tune and blowing through it, only to stagger at the end and almost cause a train wreck.

Endings are especially important when accompanying singers as you can design the "big finish". One popular and very successful way to approach the end of a song is by landing on the tonic note and harmonizing a group of chords with the tonic note at the top of each, but without stating the tonic chord until the very end. This way, you present an interrupted phrase ending, some good tension and you can build up the final resolution.

For the three examples on the left, I have begun example with a two five cadence and then the interrupted reharmonized chords.

Ex 1: Starts the interrupted phrase with a Bbmaj7 chord and walks down in half steps, all with the tonic note F on top of each chord. Start this at the 6th fret

Ex2: Starts the interrupted phrase with a Gbmaj7 chord, a half step up from the tonic (home key) chord (use root on the 5 string this time) and walks down eventually landing on the dominant chord (C7sus4) and then finally F, the tonic chord.

Ex 3: Starts on C#13, a half step up from the dominant of Fmajor and walks down.

You may have noticed that all three of these examples walk down and eventually get home to F. Try your own ideas and maybe walk up. Lots of room for potential here. Have fun!

About the author

Chris Standring is a contemporary jazz recording artist who performs throughout the USA and Europe regularly. He has enjoyed much radio airplay with several albums, opening up a busy touring schedule. His music appears on many compilation CDs also. Visit him on the web at


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