Now that we introduced the concept of cadence, we will go on in our learning dividing cadences in 5 different kinds: Perfect, Imperfect, Plagal, Deceptive and Half Cadences. Each one of them has some peculiar characteristic and deserves to be analyzed apart.
The most important here about this study is not memorize all the names involved in this theme, but observing the possible feelings that you can feel!
We will do our study in D major harmonic field. The symbol:
will be used to represent the idea of harmonic conclusion (finalization). So, let’s go:
The perfect cadence is created by the sequence “V – I” (Dominant – Tonic), therefore it is the strongest one. When it is preceded by a subdominant (II or IV degree), it is also called by authentic cadence. Examples:
The imperfect cadence is created by the sequence “V – I” (Dominant – Tonic), but here one or both chords appear inverted, what weakens the feeling of progression. Examples:
1st tonic inversion
1st dominant inversion
1st tonic and dominant inversions
Cadence is also called imperfect when the dominant is the VII degree instead of V degree. Example:
Plagal cadence is when a subdominant chord solves directly in the tonic, without passing through the dominant. It can be a sequence II – I or IV – I. Examples:
This kind of cadence can also appear with one or all the chords inverted. Example:
Deceptive cadence is when a deceptive resolution happens, in other words, the dominant is followed by any chord which not the tonic. This cadence has the “surprise effect” and not the conclusive. Examples:
A deceptive cadence can also be solved in a chord that doesn’t belong to the original harmonic field, what characterizes a changing of tonality (modulation). Some authors call this progression of Interrupted Cadence. Example:
It is when the song (or part of it) rests in some dominant chord, in other words, the dominant doesn’t solve in any chord, leaving the cadence “empty”. Examples:
Very well, we finished our study about cadences. From now on you will hear a lot about them, but don’t worry about it, we will not be tied to associated nomenclatures to each cadence but to their effects, explaining each case in details; because music must be taught as music and not as a boring report about norms.
Go to: Circle of fifths
Back to: Module 6