End on a high note and go out on a high note

End on a high note and go out on a high note are two idioms that mean the same thing. We will examine the meaning of the idioms end on a high note and go out on a high note, where they came from, and some examples of their idiomatic usage in sentences.

To end on a high note or to go out on a high note means to finish things well, to end something successfully or in a positive manner, to end something with a pleasing climax. For instance, if a student receives a 100 percent grade on his final exam, he may be said to end on a high note or go out on a high note. This may be especially important if the student’s prior performance has been mediocre. The expression end on a high note or go out on a high note came into use in the 1920s-1930s and is related to music. A rousing musical performance often ends with the singer hitting a difficult high note that impresses the audience. Currently, the idiom end on a high note is nearly twice as popular as the idiom go out on a high note. Related phrases are ends on a high note, ended on a high note, ending on a high note, goes out on a high note, went out on a high note, going out on a high note.

Examples

With retirement just around the corner, Taylor hoped to see the program she built end on a high note. (The Bakersfield Californian)

“My mother was a singer, and she always brought in entertainment, so I made a playlist for her,” explained Malo, adding that she thought music was one of the best ways to memorialize a warm-hearted and lively woman who always wanted things to end on a high note. (The Providence Journal)

“A Prairie Home Companion,” original flavor, had seemed to go out on a high note. (The Minneapolis Star Tribune)

With a year left, however, she hopes to go out on a high note at Lourdes. (The Poughkeepsie Journal)