Bring back the song fade out.

Mixer fader

I miss the song fade out. It was implemented in the age of recording to tape as a solution to song without an end. I feel fade outs worked really well on many songs. Modern DAWs let us choose our song length right down to the split second. Why not finish your next song with a fade out? With today’s computer automation it’s as easy and drawing a line on your master channel.

A recorded song may be gradually reduced to silence at its end (fade-out), or may gradually increase from silence at the beginning (fade-in) For example, the songs “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf and “Hey Jude” by The Beatles both fade out. However, “Born to be Wild” fades out in a matter of seconds, whereas “Hey Jude” takes over 2 minutes to completely fade out. Fading-out can serve as a recording solution for pieces of music that contain no obvious ending. –

Come to think of it why not try a fade in? This makes your listener feel like he’s entering a situation already in progress. Great for songs that have a live or street feel to them. The album Stella by Yello is a good example. Do you have any favorite songs with a fade in or out?

photo credit: Martin Deutsch

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

5 thoughts on “Bring back the song fade out.”

  1. One reason is that for DJ purposes fade outs are very tough, hence the long intros and exits for mixing purposes. Now, with the advent of Ableton Live and similar tools, and less DJs using vinyl, it’s easy to make your own loops and fade those out, so to some degree making fade-outs is now again feasible.

  2. Yeah for a dance mix I guess we still need a long solid looping end just to be safe. I’ve made a few DJ mixes myself with Traktor and I use the set loop button a lot to make mixing two songs easier. I was watching the M-Audio Torq demos videos and I think that software even gets the downbeat for you. Amazing. A few of my DJ mixes are available for download at the Things to Come Records forum: click here

  3. I think fades are a good element to use in recorded music, but it can make trouble for live music. Maybe the fade-out songs should just be used as bonus tracks……

  4. I hadn’t really thought about this until I read this, but yeah, I miss fade-outs. I remember for years wondering how “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix ended … and why it seemed to go away right when the best bit was starting.

    Fade-in songs? Oh yeah, especially for the first track on an album … er … CD. Something like the piano fade in on “Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” or “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” that just says, “Oh good, we’ve been waiting for you, now we can finally begin…”

    More than that, I’d just love to see more dynamic range in general. Seems every song these days is volume-leveled to start loud and stay at the same volume level until the end no matter what the music is doing. Nobody seems to do quiet sections or true swelling crescendos any more.

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