Tip #102 – Ending on a “Wrong” Note

I dislike using the word “wrong” – mostly because a note is wrong only if you don’t like it and you purposely played it. So in that case, anything musically done with purpose is right.

That being said, on with today’s topic:

Sometimes, I find myself ending a phrase, melody, or musical idea on a note that appears in the chord. While that is not necessarily a problem, I do find it predictable. Especially if the harmony is stagnant.

Today is a gentle reminder that you should experiment with ending on melodic tones that are not the tonic or a chord member of the present playing harmony. This can allow a feeling on continuation or mystery. Irresolution that can develop into a new idea.

See how different tension tones work or sound better/worse than each other.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

One thought on “Tip #102 – Ending on a “Wrong” Note”

  1. Great tip! I think it also just depends on the type of song you’re writing. While one may sound better ending with a melodic note, another would work better ending on one of the chord notes.


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