How to Apply Great Intros and Finales on the Piano or Keyboard

By Holly Day, Jerry Kovarksy, Blake Neely, David Pearl, Michael Pilhofer

A good pianist should always be able to begin and end a piece in an interesting way. You can join the ranks of good pianists by filing away some stock intros and finales (sometimes called outros) you can apply to any piece of music at any given time. An intro or finale is your time to shine, so milk it for all it’s worth.

Few things are more fun than playing a great intro or finale. Heck, some of them sound great alone, without a song attached.

When it comes to classical music, the composer usually gives you an appropriate beginning and ending. Of course, if you really want to fire up Chopin’s Minute Waltz, you can always add one of these intros.

You can add intros and finales to virtually any piece of music. Just follow these steps:

  1. Check the song’s style.

    Each intro and finale has a different style or sound. Consider the style of the song you’re playing and choose an intro that works best with it. For example, a rock and roll intro may not sound very good attached to a soft country ballad. But, then again, anything’s possible in music.

  2. Check the song’s key.

    Adjust the notes and chords of the intro and finale you choose to correspond with the song’s key by using the helpful hints shown with each intro and finale.

  3. Check the song’s first chord.

    If the song you’re playing is in the key of C and begins with a C major chord, any of the intros here work perfectly because they’re written in the key of C. If your song starts with a different chord, use the hints provided with each intro to adjust the chord accordingly.

  4. Check the song’s last chord.

    Like intros, you can tack the finales onto the end of a song if the song ends with a chord built on the first tone of the scale (and most songs do).

    For example, if the song you’re playing is in the key of C and ends with a C major chord, you’ll have no problem with one of these finales because they’re written in the key of C. If your song ends with a different chord, you need to adjust the finale to the appropriate key.

Adjusting the intros and finales into different keys involves a lot of transposing work. If you’re just starting out, only apply intros and finales to songs in the key of C. When you’re ready to apply an intro or finale to a song of a different key, check out which note of the scale it starts on and try to match the interval patterns in the new key.