FOUR CHORD PROGRESSIONS TO END YOUR SONGS IN STYLE – COOL CADENCES

 In today’s tutorial, we’ll look at four chord progressions that can be used to end a song, known in music theory as cadences. Some cadences I’ll demonstrate will be a bit advanced for beginners, but stick around as the techniques and terminology will soon become relevant to you.

So once you’ve ascended into intermediate and advanced levels of piano playing, it’s time to really start using cadences to make the ending of a song sound majestic, whether it’s an original or a cover which you’re performing. This chord technique works particularly well if you’re accompanying a great singer attentive to all those intricate changes in harmony and can follow your chords with their voice.

 This intermediate to the advanced stage of piano playing is also when you should start learning what I call ‘temporary modulation,’ which is when you temporarily move away from the song’s original key by adding some cool and complex endings to your chord progressions, extending the range of your harmony and spicing up your sound.

 We will use the hymn as an example throughout this tutorial. You might want to listen quickly to the track online before getting started, but we’ve transcribed everything you need to grasp the concept without the audio.

 I’ve picked out this hymn for a specific reason: the cadences that I’m going to demonstrate work best when the melody and harmony of the song ends on the tonic/root note, an aspect showcased particularly well in this hymn.

 Cadence 1:   IV  –  iii  –  ii  –  IV/V  –  I

Here’s the piano chord progression to the ending of this hymn, with the vocalist’s accompaniment. In 4/4, try playing these chords for two beats each to get a feel for the song’s original harmony:

 Ab Bb7 Abmaj9       Dbmaj9     Bb Eb6 Ebmaj9 Ab

Oh… for grace to trust in all

 Now we’re going to introduce our first example of a cadence. Instead of playing the expected final chord, Ab, switch it for this cadence ending:  IV  –  iii  –  ii  –  IV/V  –  I. In the song we’re using, this translates to the chords: Dbadd9 – Cm7 – Bbm7 – Dbadd9/Eb – Ab, forming the following progression:

 Ab  Bb7  Abmaj9 Dbmaj9  Bb  Eb6   Ebmaj9  Dbadd9 Cm7 Bbm7 Dbadd9/Eb Ab

Oh…   for    grace   to  trust him     all

 To explain what we’ve done, after playing the V chords (Eb6 and Ebmaj9), we go to the IV chord (Dbadd9) and then walk down the scale through Cm7 and Bbm7. The IV/V chord is often used rather than just playing a straight V chord at the end of a piece, which also leads perfectly back to the final tonic chord, Ab, so this can be added just before the V to ensure a proper ending.

 Try taking this first cadence ending and experimenting with it in the context of different songs to discover its effect on a piece, where it works, and where it doesn’t.

 Cadence 2:   vi  –  bVI+  –  I/V  –  bV  –  IV  –  iii  –  ii  –  IV/V  –  I

 Let’s go back to the original chord progression:

 Ab Bb7 Abmaj9 Dbmaj9 Bb Eb6 Ebmaj9 Ab

Oh… for grace to trust in all

 For this second ending, we’re going to move to the vi chord instead, creating the following cadence: 

 vi – bVI+ –  I/V  –   bV    – IV – iii –  ii  – IV/V  – I

Fm –  E+  – Ab/Eb – Dm7(b5) – Db – Cm7 – Bbm7 – Db/Eb – Ab

 This makes the second cadence ending in full:

 Ab  Bb7  Abmaj9 Dbmaj9  Bb  Eb6    

Oh…   for    grace   to  trust…

 Ebmaj9  Fm   E+   Ab/Eb   Dm7(b5)   Db   Cm7   Bbm7   Db/Eb   Ab

…in      all

 This cadence features a chromatic walk down from Fm (vi) to an E augmented (bVI+), down through Ab/Eb (I/V), and to Dm7 half diminished (bV). From there, we can add on the first cadence progression from above, using the IV – iii – ii – IV/V – I chords we’ve already learned. This also extends the chromatic walk down a little further to accentuate its effect.

 This cadence ending can easily be embellished with melodic fills and riffs, played with the right hand on top of the main progression. This is something you can try out after becoming confident with the general structure of the cadence as well as its sound and application.

 Cadence 3:   bVI  –  bVII  –  I

This next cadence has a moodier jazz feel, which is quite distinctive compared to the first two cadences. If we retake the original progression, this time we can include the bVI  –  bVII –  I cadence to the end, forming the progression:

 Ab  Bb7  Abmaj9  Dbmaj9  Bb   Eb6    Ebmaj9  Emaj7  Gb(6/9)  Abadd9

Oh…   for     grace   to   trust  in      all

 In case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of extension chords in the original chord progression of this song, such as 7ths, 9ths, and so on, which all add up to give the hymn its unique, expansive sound. By using similar extensions in our cadence progression, such as Emaj7 and Abadd9, we’re continuing the track’s original feel while adding something more memorable.

 Once you’ve mastered this third cadence, you can try playing a scale over the top of it using the right hand, playing octave chords as follows:

 Ebmaj7         Gb(6/9)

E – Gb – Ab – Bb – B – Db – Eb  – E – Gb – Ab – Bb – B – Db – Eb

 Abadd9

E – Gb – Ab

 This scale is the E Lydian mode, which is just an E major scale with a sharpened 4th and flattened 7th (E – Gb – Ab – Bb – B – Db – Eb). You don’t necessarily have to play this as a linear scale as demonstrated; experiment with adding some simple riffs and melodies in E Lydian on top of this bVI – bVII – I chord progression and see where it takes you.

 Cadence 4:   IV  –  bVII  –  bIII  –  bVI  –  II  –  IV/V  –  I

 Here’s the last cadence progression I’ll be demonstrating, formed of the chords; IV  –  bVII  –  bIII  –  bVI  –  II  –  IV/V  –  I:

 IV     – bVII – bIII  –  bVI  –    II      – IV/V  – I

Dbmaj7 – Gb13 – Bmaj7 – Emaj7 – Bb7sus(b9) – Db/Eb – Ab

 As always, let’s slide this into the end of our song’s chord progression;

 Ab   Bb7   Abmaj9   Dbmaj9   Bb    Eb6    

Oh…     for      grace    to    trust

 Ebmaj9 Dbmaj7  Gb13  Bmaj7  Emaj7  Bb7sus(b9)  Db/Eb  Ab

in     all

 This cadence uses a slightly more complex jazz harmony, giving a much fuller and more profound sound than some others. As with every cadence we’ve covered, practice this progression through and through, and you’ll soon get a feel for how it can be used within a song and its effect on a piece.

 To finish off, here’s a quick recap of our four cadences:

 Cadence 1:   IV  –  iii  –  ii  –  IV/V  –  I

Cadence 2:   vi  –  bVI+  –  I/V  –  bV  –  IV  –  iii  –  ii  –  IV/V  –  I

Cadence 3:   bVI  –  bVII  –  I

Cadence 4:   IV  –  bVII  –  bIII  –  bVI  –  II  –  IV/V  –  

Download The 7 Steps To Naming ANY Chord PDF For FREE

With this PDF, you NEVER HAVE TO GUESS what chord you’re playing.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Share on WhatsApp
Share on Pinterest
Share on Reddit
Scroll to Top
Black Friday 2023

Where Should The Discount?

How To Transcribe Any Song

Where Should We Send The PDF?

Funky Blues

Where Should We Send The File?

Calling My Name

Where Should We Send The File?

Part Of Your World - Score

Where Should We Send The File?

How To End Your Songs In Style

Where Should We Send The File?

Altar Call Chords

Where Should We Send The File?

Alabaster Box

Where Should We Send The File?

Advanced Chords and Scale Movements

Where Should We Send The File?

Because He Lives

Where Should We Send The File?

Interval Recognition Cheat Sheet

Where Should We Send The File?

Go Tell It On The Mountain - Solo Piano

Where Should We Send The File?

Gospel Movements In Ab

Where Should We Send The File?

Passing Chords, Licks, and Runs In D Minor

Where Should We Send The File?

Tips On How To Spice Up Your Songs

Where Should We Send The File?

Just For Me - Donnie McClurkin

Where Should We Send The File?

12-Week Progressions - Promo

Where Should We Send The File?

5 Must Learn Left-Hand Chord Patterns

Where Should We Send The PDF?

Love Theory

Where Should We Send The File?

Major Scale Challenge

Where Should We Send The Download?

Taking A Worship Song From Beginner To Advanced

Where Should We Send The File?

Seventh Chords Formulas

Where Should We Send The PDF?

Silent Night - Reharm Challenge

Where Should We Send The PDF?

Turn Around Chords

Where Should We Send The File?

Worthy Is The Lamb

Where Should We Send The File?

6 Ways To Make Your Altered Extended Chords

Where Should We Send The File?

The First Noel - Advanced Reharm

Where Should We Send The File?

Traditional Gospel Bass

Where Should We Send The File?

Part Of Your World - Score

Where Should We Send The File?

Formula For Building 9th Chords

Where Should We Send The PDF?

Dominant Chromatic Passing Chords

Where Should We Send The File?

Download The 7 Steps To Naming ANY Chord

Where Should We Send The PDF?

Gospel Chords With Traditional Hymns

Where Should We Send The PDF?