For now, I'm not super serious about actually writing/recording music, so my question is more focused on general techniques for ending parts of a piece while doing improvisation/noodling around on the piano (not during any sort of performance, though, just for myself).

I'm familiar with some chord progressions I can use to end a piece like IV-I, iv-I, II-I, etc. But I get tired very quickly of just playing these chords/arpeggios to resolve a part of the piece since it's too... harmonious. I find a bit of dissonance interesting, especially since I'm only using a piano so I don't have access to other tools like a large variety of instruments.

What are some general tips/tricks for ending parts of a song, or for creating a sense of resolution, while still maintaining some dissonance (preferably something beyond just adding 7th notes)? In particular, how might I utilize melody to do this?

I know one way without using melody might be to use dissonant chord progressions. For example, I recently discovered I kind of like the change from F# major to C minor, while playing in C dorian. But I have a hard time constructing a melody which smoothly transitions between these two, so often traveling to and from F# major feels forced, like the ending i chord only resolves what I'm playing because that's what the rest of the piece has been indicating is "home".

And, while it's not uncommon to see a modulation up a semitone or something happen with little to no transition just by repeating a chorus, I'm interested in how I might actually tie together two chords which are "far away", especially when I don't have a chorus or pattern of notes to refer back to, or without just repeatedly going between the two chords to "normalize" (for lack of a better term) the transition.

In summary: What are some ways to construct a melody to (1) enhance what, by themselves, might be boring chord progressions like iv-I or V-I with some dissonance and (2) smoothly transition between distant keys?

1 Answer 1


Endings are almost always clausulas and formulas, they will always be redundant, trivial and common practice.


But if you are looking of more dissonance try out the tritonus substitution of the V7-I (G7-C): Db7 - C maj7 or instead of the blues ending C7 once you play G7,+5,b9 - C7,9,13

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