How to End a Song: 11 Pro Ideas for the Perfect Outro

How to End a Song: 11 Pro Ideas for the Perfect Outro How to End a Song: 11 Pro Ideas for the Perfect Outro

You've done it! You charged through writing a verse , chorus , and perhaps even an ear-catching bridge for your latest tune. It's time to muscle through writing the ending of a song, which can be a bit intimidating if you're new to the world of songwriting.

Fortunately, we've put together a complete guide to perfecting your song outros, complete with examples across several genres of music. Below, we'll share some tried and true song-ending ideas so that you can finish your compositions in a perfect way.

Why is the Outro of a Song so Important?

Every great songwriter understands that knowing how you start your song is just as important as how you finish your song. A strong outro leaves a good impression on the listener and eases you out (or emphasizes) the impact of the final chorus or bridge. Great compositions utilize each song section effectively to create a cohesive yet engaging listening experience throughout.

We model many of our favorite songwriting outros off of techniques heard in foundational classical pieces. In many ways, you can think of your song as a story, with the chorus as the climax. A great song ending serves as the falling action, balancing out your composition in full.

11 Song Endings to Test Out and Outro Examples

Not sure how to end your song successfully? Here are just a few examples and techniques to draw inspiration from on your music-making journey:

The Hard Stop

An abrupt ending of a song can certainly leave you wanting more. One great example lies in the earworm pop song I Really Like You by Carly Rae Jepsen:

Fade It Out

Some songs should never end with all of the energy, atmosphere, and total groove they embody. The fade-out is a great way to end one song and transition to another, making this technique particularly popular with dance music. You can hear the dance groove slowly fade out in the outro of Chic's Good Times :

Hook Variations and Ad Libs

Many vocalists keep the party of the final chorus going by singing variations of the melody interspersed with ad-libs to serve as the ending of a song. Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody really showcases her vocal technique and prowess utilizing this technique to end the entire composition:

The Start of the Next Album Track

One way to keep your listeners engaged throughout the entire course of an album or large project is to create seamless transitions between the album tracks. The movement from the first track of Olivia Rodrigo's GUTS to track two exemplifies this song ending perfectly:

Call Back to the First Verse

Coming full circle, sometimes the last thing you hear on a song are the first lyrics you experienced at the beginning of the song. This is showcased perfectly in Demi Lovato's hit Give Your Heart a Break where the song starts and ends with "The day I first met you..." lyrics:

Instrumental Melody

Soaring instrumentals are an amazing way to transition to the next song in a project, or leave an impact following the last chorus of a song. The disassociative instrumental sounds during the outro of How to Disappear Completely by Radiohead showcase this technique perfectly:


In classical music terms, rubato is a technique in which the tempo is progressively slowed down. As it turns out, this is a great way to wrap things up after running through a final chorus. We can see this technique at play in top songs like Coldplay's The Scientist , where the slowed tempo emphasizes the reflective, melancholic feeling of the track:

Sonic Deconstruction

If a song gradually becomes more chaotic or calls for an emotional climax, using the song ending to create a cacophony of swirling and dizzying sounds can be quite effective. The ending of FKA Twig's Home With You packs quite an emotional impact, for example, and gives you a sense that the speaker still has unfinished business regarding their unrequited love:

Key Change

An artfully placed key change can easily serve as the perfect transition in between sections of a song, or carry the listener through the outro of a dynamic piece. This is no exception with the classic Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell:

End It On a High Note

You'll be breathless after listening to the ending of Vision of Love by Mariah Carey. This song takes the technique of ending on a high note to new heights with Mariah's incredible vocal riff that carries you out to the end of this track:

Instrument Subtraction

One way to cool off the energy of a song is to end it by progressively subtracting instruments until little sound remains. This is done nicely on club classic Calabria 2008 where the track reduces from the full beat to just the bass and drums, to ending finally on a single vocal sample:

What Chord Should I Play When the Song Ends?

In addition to basic ending structure tips, you'll also want to consider where the tail end of your chord progression lies throughout the ending of a song, as it can greatly impact the lasting impression on the listener:

The I Chord

The most harmonious way to end a song would be on the root note or root chord of the track. For instance, if you were in the key C major, you could end your track in that same C chord. This creates a pleasant atmosphere without any dissonance.

The V Chord and IV Chord

Other suitable chords to consider ending your progression on include the V chord or dominant chord and the IV chord. In the key of C major, this would be the G Major chord or the F major chord. These chords are naturally harmonious with the root note of your selected key, which lends itself well to the satisfying ending of a song.

Other Chord Endings

Say you don't necessarily desire a typical ending, or want a song ending that is more of a question mark than a period or exclamation mark. Feel free to experiment with other chords, especially the relative major or minor based on your key.

Building the Ending of a Song FAQs

Are you ready to make an impactful ending for your music? Here are some commonly asked questions and answers to carry you through to the crescendo of your tracks:

What is the ending of a song called?

After the bridge and final chorus of a song, you have the final section of the track, called the outro. Song endings can vary greatly depending on your genre, style, and creative perspective behind any particular piece.

How do you make a song end?

There is no one right answer when it comes to songwriting preferences. In this guide, we share over 10 different outro ideas to inspire you while writing your next song.

What note do you end a song on?

The note you end a song on depends on the feelings you are trying to evoke. If you're looking for a harmonious ending, opt for playing notes like the root, 5th, or 4th scale degrees. Experiment with other notes for a more non-traditional effect.

And there you have it! Hopefully, this guide gives you the inspiration needed to transform a cold ending into a satisfying close on your next composition. Enjoy experimenting with these various techniques to keep your listeners on the edge of their seats till the last note of your song.

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