Every musician and songwriter needs a bunch of intros and outros for songs. Whether you tag them onto your own compositions or use them when covering other musician’s songs, well crafted intros and outros make a performance much more sophisticated.
This article focuses on a four chord intro especially for ballades. Nevertheless it can also be used for outros and for faster songs as well.
What it sounds like
Listen to the chord progression in action first:
I think it has a beautiful and sophisticated sound. It creates interest and pull your listeners into your song. Let’s check out the chords I’m using.
Our song example is in the key of G major. The chords of the intro also start with G major, then move to Bbj7, Ebj7 and Abj7#11.
After the intro, we move back to G major, the starting chord of our original song.
The chords are basically all major 7th chords. This type of chord sounds very lush, rich and sophisticated. Also, in comparison to dominant 7th chords, these major 7th don’t create as much tension and momentum, which is great for a ballade. Nevertheless they have a decent drive forward and almost suck the listener into the song.
A good intro must pick the listener up from where she is in the real world and then lead them through a magic portal into the musical world of your song. I think this short 4-chord progression does a marvelous job at that.
To get the most out of this intro, we need to understand the music theory making it work. This theory knowledge will allow you to transpose or completely modify this progression to adapt it to any songwriting or playing situation you might encounter.