Intros, Fillers and Endings
Piano Lessons – Intros, Fillers and Endings, Ch. 1
In this piano lesson, we’ll dig into some brand new techniques for developing intros, fillers and endings for your songs!
In this chapter, we’ll go through the first two musical techniques covered in this piano lesson series:
- Creating Intros, Fillers and Endings from material that already exists in the song
- Creating Intros, Fillers and Endings from brand new creative material
In Chapter 1 of this piano lesson, we’ll specifically look at “Descending lines”, and use them to create fantastic new material for your songs.
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One of the most popular questions that I get asked by students is how to create song introductions. Or how do you create fillers between verses and choruses? Where do you come up with the musical material? And then when you get to the end of the song, how do you wrap it up? How do you create an ending?
This is really a great resource. Let’s dig into “Intro, Fillers and Endings”, Chapter 1. Every great song has an interesting introduction, some filler material between verses and choruses that keeps you interested and then a good solid ending. But how do you come up with this material?
The first musical technique is the most obvious and simple one: You use material that already exists in the song. Typically for the introduction, musicians using this technique will just simply play the first line through instrumentally before the vocal starts. Then between the verse and the chorus, they’ll do the same thing again.
Might seem little repetitive on the piano at first, but it’s a simple way to start: Just using material that already exists. For the end of the song, musicians using this technique on the piano will do something called “Tagging the end”.
Remember we’re using material that already exists in the song. To tag a song simply means to take the end of the song and play it again. Many when musicians will tag an ending they’ll play it, and then they’ll play it two more times for a total of 3. Don’t know why, psychologically it just feels good it feels like you’re done. Three times and you’re out the door.
In this piano lesson, I’ll show you this simple technique but then we’re going to move on to some more creative ideas for intros, filler and endings. First here’s the musical example of the first technique: Using material that already exists.
For the sake of being really clear, I picked a very simple song on the piano. It’s a pretty song, but it’s really very simple with only four chords. F – Bb – C – and Eb. If you watch really carefully, you’ll see that I’m throwing some higher extensions into the chords, like Major 7′s and Major 9′s. But that’s not what this piano lesson is about. I simply want to show you musical technique #1: How to create Intros, Fillers and Endings from materials that already exist in the song.
You don’t have to exert brain power to come up with new material! It’s already there. You use the beginning and then you tag the end. That’s a really simple way, it’s been used throughout the years and it’s really quite effective. There are a lot more musically creative techniques we can do. And we’re going to start exploring those in this piano lesson series. Let’s dig in!
Before we head into technique #2 on the keyboard, I want to head something off at the pass. You may have noticed in that song that even though I was just playing 4 simple chords on the piano, I was still playing all over the keyboard, playing lots of different and interesting notes. Those are what are called Rhythmic Patterns.
Rhythmic patterns are such a powerful technique to learn on the piano. You can take any song and learn to play all over the keyboard with interesting arrangements completely by ear without having to refer to written notes on the page.
Rhythmic Patterns are the premise of the original piano lessons course of our website. The name of that course is “Pattern Piano and Keyboard”. If you haven’t gone through that course, make sure you do. It will allow you to really cut loose on the keyboard.
Let’s go on to technique #2 for Intros, Fillers and endings. Like I mentioned, there’s an infinite number of Intros, Fillers and Endings possibilities you can do for any given song on the piano. The first was very simple: we just used material that already existed.
But from here out, we’re going to come up with some new creative ways to come up with “Intros, Fillers and Endings”. Maybe pull a little bit of material that exist or maybe do things that are brand new. Now, let’s move on to a brand new technique. This musical technique is called “Descending Lines”.
Descending lines have always been popular in music. If you’re a child of the 70′s you know what this tune is…
[ piano music playing here ]
It’s amazing how much emotion descending lines can evoke. So we’re using that technique to create intros, fillers and endings. Now because I want to give you lots of stuff to chew on, we’re going to study a couple different levels.
We’re going to study a 2-chord progression, so it’s going to descend just by two notes. Back and forth just two notes. Then we’ll go a little further.
Then we’re going to descend further down the music scale. In addition, once we’re going further, we’re going to talk about Major 7 versus Dominant 7 sounds. All of these piano techniques are based all on using descending lines to create Intros, Fillers and Endings.
I hope you brought a big appetite to this piano lesson! There’s lots of stuff for you in here. One of the things that I really like to do is explain musical concepts in depth. All the way down to the foundation. Sometimes when you’re going through a piano lesson you’ll going to say, “Hey, check this out! It’s built on this which is built on this….” All built on the bedrock of whatever you were talking about.
So today, we’re talking about descending lines and using them to build Intros, Fillers and Endings. Now we’re going to run down for a minute, down to the basement, and we’re going to examine the bedrock of the chords and the scales that these lines are built on. Why? So that you have a complete musical understanding of the concept.
And so you can then stand on my shoulders, take what I’ve given you and then go far beyond what I’m doing on the piano. That’s what really excites me. In the middle of this piano lesson, let’s examine some chords and scales to really get some knowledge that we can put into use.
I’m playing different kind of chords – I know that’s a gross over-simplification. The first batch of chords I played has primarily minor sounds, including Minor 7′s and Dominant 7′s. The second batch had major sounds, including Major Triads and Major 7′s. There’s a lot of music theory in there, but what I’m try to say is on a simple level is that minor sounds tend to be darker and funkier. A major sound tends to be a little happier, a little brighter. Depending on your mood you’re going to use Minor sounds or Major sounds. And maybe you’re saying, “I can hear the difference between Major and Minor. But what’s the real difference?” [Piano lesson fades here]
This is just a quick overview of the piano lesson titled, “Intros, Fillers and Endings, Chapter 1″.