Buddada buddada boom? Song ending.
March 28, 2013 8:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the correct musical/technical term (if such a thing exists) for that last part of a live song, where the band lingers on the last note(s) before ending it. We're all familiar with it: bass and guitar shredding, cymbals swelling, culminating in that final, sweet, satisfying crash. I'm asking because my band never seems to get it right.

Here's a previous AskMe with examples, but no answer as to what it's called. I'm pretty sure "coda" and "outro" are different things, and there's gotta be something more specific than just "ending".
posted by monospace to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Melismata at 8:54 AM on March 28, 2013

In music, a cadenza (from Italian: cadenza, meaning cadence; plural, cadenze) is, generically, an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a "free" rhythmic style, and often allowing for virtuosic display. Indicated by a fermata in all parts if improvised, a cadenza is usually over a final or penultimate note in a piece or important cadence and the accompaniment rests or sustains a note or chord.[2] Thus it is often before a final coda or ritornello.[2]
posted by ludwig_van at 9:01 AM on March 28, 2013

We sometimes referred to ending with the word "tag".

As in: "I forget, do we tag on this song?" "Yes," you say to the drummer, "hold the note, then tag the end." So you're holding the last note/chord, and the lead guy puts one last attack that cuts right off and is not held. (jumping is optional). chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-bomp!

(note, we called it that, but we were neither correct nor cool.)
posted by aimedwander at 9:04 AM on March 28, 2013

I"ve heard that final chord referred to as "the button".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:08 AM on March 28, 2013

I don't there's really a name for what you're talking about, that's something that got started with hard rock in the late sixties (I believe) and us rock musicians don't tend to name things like the classical folks do.

The trick to getting it right is to lock into the drums - you have to have the feel for when they are going to end through that connection with the drummer. If you can't get that, set up a signal to let everyone know when it's coming. You can really do anything you want during that as long as you all end together.
posted by InfidelZombie at 9:10 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

It's similar to a "stinger," when there's a staccato accent note (or two, quickly) added after the resolution of the melody line/song. Ba-Dap!
posted by eyesontheroad at 9:18 AM on March 28, 2013

InfidelZombie is right. Let the drummer decide how long to let the ending of a song ring out. The more you play together, the more comfortable you will all be with each other's playing, and the more easily you will work together as a band to nail the ending of a song--extended tag or no extended tag.
posted by emelenjr at 9:29 AM on March 28, 2013

"Big ending"?

AC/DC seems to do this with most of their songs live.
posted by Boxenmacher at 9:32 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

The drummer usually ends the song by playing the final note on his bass drum - I've heard this referred to as "shutting the door."
posted by elmer benson at 9:56 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

There really isn't anything more specific than "ending", sorry. It also depends on who you are talking to because a lot of terms mean different things to classically trained musicians as they do pop/rock musicians.

"Tag" doesn't mean holding the last notes during a live concert. Tag is when you "tag" the song with either part of the phrase you just played, or repeating the second half of the last chorus because you are having fun, or using a few bars of the opening as an outro, etc... sort of like a "coda" to the classically trained peeps, but still not quite the same thing.

"Fermata" is close in that if you were to write out the ruckus on paper, there would be fermatas in the score, but it doesn't completely work here unless you are just holding the last notes, technically.

I guess you could use "codetta" which means "tiny ending" in that "coda" means "tail"...but it is an entire section of music--not just holding the end of a song with a bunch of ruckus.

Not really an "outro", either, as that, too, is an entire section of music.

Personally, I like "the big ending" as Boxenmacher suggests. It really is the most accurate term used here.

Maybe there are slang terms which I am not aware of, also.

And, yes, Infidel is totally correct in that the drummer gets the job of deciding when it's over, even though people in the audience think the lead guitarist jumping and landing to end it is in charge...they really aren't.
posted by TinWhistle at 9:58 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

The member of our band who has the most "formal" musical background calls it vamping plus a stinger. For example, "So at the end of this song let's vamp on the F chord for about 4 bars and then do a two note stinger to end it." And then the rest of say "right, right, 4 bars on the F, sure" and then immediately forgot what we said and just follow the drummer. Goes sort of like this.
posted by otolith at 10:00 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've always used the onomatopoeia "dig-a-blap" or "diddle-a-blap." It gets the message across.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:35 AM on March 28, 2013

In almost any band I've been in we also call this "big ending".
posted by humboldt32 at 3:43 PM on March 28, 2013

I don’t if there’s a name, but getting it right is has a lot to do with feel, and a LOT of it is visual. Someone needs to be in charge, usually the drummer. Watch bands do it, everyone starts to let it die down a bit then the drummer will often hold his hands up and drumatically (ha! actual typo!) start to bring them down. You will often see them nodding at each other.
posted by bongo_x at 5:49 PM on March 28, 2013

« Older Leave nothing behind   |   How do I choose strings for my kid's violin? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.