Thursday, April 23, 2015

Soloing, part 9-2: Endings

If you think of a solo as a monologue, a really inspiring speech can be hammered in with a great ending line, and a mundane speech can be saved by ending with something impactful.  Same with soloing!

How you end a solo often shapes how the audience perceives and remembers it.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen a soloist stumble during their solo/get off-tempo/struggle with patterns and then suck it up to deliver a really strong ending.  It's not total redemption, but it certainly helps!

I've also seen a lot of strong solos end weakly, either with a passage that comes off less interesting than previous ones, or end almost abruptly without a feeling of closure.  A weak ending is such a bummer because it affects a solo just as much as having a strong ending, but in the opposite way.

A good ending doesn't have to be fancy; a fancy ending can easily go over the audience's head.  The most impressive endings I've seen have been repetitive and "digestible".  Hell, a really good taiko player can play a straight beat and sell it well enough to be a strong ending.  A straight beat!

I do recommend having an ending you can "whip out" for any song you solo in, just for those times when you've tried something that didn't work, or just find yourself not in the zone.  If you craft an ending, make sure you can play it at the actual tempo of the song - and then a little faster than normal, juuuuust in case the song is faster than you plan.

With a launchpad like I described here plus a strong ending, all you have to do is fill up the middle bits.  And sometimes, that's the most fun part!

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