“Home” final chord
Found in: Foundation Songs
Anna J., Canada
My student has a question for Neil! The last chord of Home is driving her crazy. She wants to know if you intentionally left it as a “cliff hanger” (her words!). We had an extended conversation about the possible significance (or irony) of ending with that chord, especially given that the lyric is “home” and the ending feels anything but the settled, home-like feeling we might expect at the end of a song. It was a great conversation, and we explored some different possible endings which she felt she liked better, which was an excellent opportunity too. But the question remained, and I promised I’d ask…did you mean to leave us hanging at the end of this one?
Although it’s not as common to do this, the last chord is merely finishing on the relative minor of the key that the song is in. I think it’s only standing out for her because she isn’t used to hearing this. For me, I love the ending chord. It doesn’t at all feel like a “cliff hanger”, but more so a “mood shift”. I like to include different colors and tensions in my pieces. I completely understand that it’s not as common in typical, entry-level pieces to do so, but I think it’s extremely important, from the very beginning, to begin developing a comfort with diversity in tonality, harmony, melody, etc.
From a communication perspective (which is why I included it in the first place), this is a very personal piece for me, and I very much wanted the last chord, and the last word ‘Home’ (notice the capitalization) to speak to a higher purpose and authority. So my intent is not for the minor chord to be ‘sad’ as such, but instead, more rich, deep, and powerful. As always, your student can change it however she wants to 🙂
Cate R., Australia
I love the ending ‘Home’–it rings true and truly feels like home, a soft and gentle place to fall. I can only hear it this way!
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
I’ve always loved the minor 6th ending too, but I do often have students ask when they play it for the first time, “Is that right?”.
Other common ones where some students don’t initially ‘like’ the sound are the 1st Honey Dew arrangement with the +9 chords, Bishop Street Blues, and Dark Blue. I think it’s brilliant to expose their ears and their playing to more than just major/minor sounds. It helps them develop an appreciation for the richness of sounds and moods they can create at the piano.
Ian M., Indiana
I have had similar conversations with my students – one suggested that the final chord and “Home” lyric suggested a “final resting place”.