Music theory > Pitch of sounds > Cadences

Cadences

A cadence is a chord progression of at least two chords that indicate the end of a phrase or a end of a melodic section.

There are two principals type of cadences: Finished Cadences and unfinished Cadences.

Finished Cadences: A phrase that ends with a finished cadence sounds like ending.
Unfinished Cadences: A phrase that ends with an unfinished cadence sounds like not ending.


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Differences between British and American terminologies

About cadences, there are differences between British and American terminologies:

united states of americaunited kingdom
Authentic cadencePerfect cadence
Perfect Authentic cadenceNo British label for that concept
Imperfect authentic cadenceNo British label for that concept
Half-cadence (semi-cadence)Imperfect cadence
Plagal cadencePlagal cadence
Deceptive cadenceInterrupted cadence

Finished Cadences

A phrase that ends with a finished cadence sounds like ending. There are different kinds of finished cadences:

united kingdom Perfect cadence


A perfect cadence is a cadence from V to I (dominant to tonic).

united states of america Authentic cadences

There are 2 kinds of authentic cadences: Perfect authentic cadence, imperfect authentic cadence:

united states of america Perfect authentic cadence


A perfect authentic cadence is a cadence from V to I (dominant to tonic) with two other necessary conditions: Chords are in root position and the upper voice ends on degree I.

united states of america Imperfect authentic cadence

An imperfect authentic cadence is a cadence from V to I (dominant to tonic) that fails to meet requirements of perfect authentic cadence (root position and I on upper voice)

Here are some reason of the failed requirements:

One of the chord is not in root position:


The upper note is not the first degree (I):


united states of america united kingdom Plagal cadence

A plagal cadence is a cadence from IV to I (Subdominant to tonic).


Unfinished Cadences

A phrase that ends with an unfinished cadence sounds like not ending. There are different kinds of unfinished cadences:

united states of america Half cadence / united kingdom Imperfect cadence

A half cadence (united states of america) or an imperfect cadence (united kingdom) is a cadence ending on degree V, whether preceded by any other chord. This cadence sounds like incomplete or suspended, it is like a pause in the music.


united states of america Deceptive cadence / united kingdom Interrupted cadence

A deceptive cadence (united states of america) or interrupted cadence (united kingdom) is a cadence from V to VI. Normally after the degree V, we are expecting for the degree I but the degree VI make a feeling of interruption and suspension.



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