Musical Denoument
December 2, 2016 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Just a thought today as one of my favorite songs sprang into my head

Love White Rabbit, wondering about other songs that end on high note or end on a huge upswing, is there a name or musical concept behind it?

Really love this version

Reminded me a bit of some of Badfingers work mostly If You Want It.

Oh, bonus points for explaining how you get your SLYT to have that snazzy icon I see at Mefi??
posted by silsurf to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Well, not surprisingly, a piece that White Rabbit draws from.
posted by falsedmitri at 3:53 PM on December 2, 2016

A Day in the Life
posted by falsedmitri at 4:14 PM on December 2, 2016

Previously elsewhere

posted by falsedmitri at 4:34 PM on December 2, 2016

Shimmer, I named my cat after this song
Cantara, if I was the best figure skater in the universe my routine would be to this
posted by fleacircus at 6:59 PM on December 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Running Scared by Roy Orbison comes to mind as another example. However, I'll link to the Nick Cave cover which is a bit more emphatic.

Don't know of any musical terms for the concept, other than "crescendo".
posted by cathycartoon at 7:33 PM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Killing Moon
posted by rhizome at 2:16 AM on December 3, 2016

Pat Metheny's classic, San Lorenzo.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:07 AM on December 3, 2016

So there's a couple of things going on here with how most Western Music works that contributes to this.

The first is there's a very strong tradition of music GOING somewhere. We like our music to have some sort of direction, but we also like the repetition of the familiar. So we get this idea of development. That is composers and song writers take parts of the song, and change them enough to sound fresh without loosing the essence of the theme. If you're going to keep the melody fairly constant (as happens in pop songs), one of the best ways to do this is with dynamics. Now there's really only three things the dynamics can do, get louder, get softer, or stay the same, which means that there's only three things that the dynamics can do at the end of the song. This is where the second thing happens. In music circles it's pretty well known that the beginning and ending are more important than the middle of the piece in terms of how people remember it, and of the two, the ending is the more important. So everyone wants the ending of the song to be memorable, which means it's when you pull out all your tricks, so you're less likely to get a "stays the same" dynamic movement at the end, and more likely to get something more dramatic.

If you want a fancy Western Art Music term to describe what happens in White Rabbit the whole piece is essentially a very long Mannheim Steamroller (growth in dynamics over a repeating bass); I Burn by the Toadies does the same thing. I'm sure there's other names for starting softly, and continuously growing in dynamics over the whole form, but with the repeated bass I'd call it the Mannheim Steamroller. Contrast that to something like this version of I Put a Spell on You which has the same general growth, but doesn't have the same bass figure throughout.

Both of those are different say something like The Gum-Suckers March, which has also has a general growth over the whole in dynamics over the whole thing, but it's a bit more of a series of waves, with a sudden drop and final swell over a Coda (that last little bit tagged on at the end) with a Stinger (that last BAT after the TADA). Add It Up also has a big dynamic drop, but it's in the middle so the whole thing has more of a saw blade shape dynamically.

Also, you can find that kind of big finish of big\show band arrangements. Like this great version of Whole Lotta Love or just about any random tune by Maynard Ferguson.
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:55 AM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Waterboys' song A Life of Sundays does this really well.
posted by merocet at 10:02 AM on December 3, 2016

The Crocodiles, Tears (1980).
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:15 PM on December 3, 2016

Another McCartney overlooked gem (like "Come and Get It"): Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five.

That final chord makes my vision explode every time.
posted by greenland at 8:24 PM on December 3, 2016

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