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Harmonic cadences

Definition

Cadence is a chord progression built on harmonic functions of included chords. The most interesting functions are dominant and tonic. Dominant chords create tension that resolves to the tonic chord. The main purpose of cadences is to close musical phrases, episodes and entire compositions. Some cadences mean a complete stop and others mean a momentary pause. In addition to harmonic cadences, there are also rhythmic ones. The most obvious rhythmic cadence is a final note with greater value. However, there are a lot of types of harmonic cadence. The main of them are full, half, and deceptive cadence. Full cadence has two subtypes: authentic and plagal. Sometimes both of these subtypes are defined as independent types of cadences. They can also be perfect and imperfect. Half cadence has subtypes too. It can be authentic or plagal.

Authentic

Perfect authentic cadence.

In perfect authentic cadence, both chords used in the cadential progression must be in root position (noninverted). The tonic chord must be on the first (the strongest) beat of a meter. The tonic tone must be (in the soprano voice) the highest in the tonic chord.

Imperfect authentic cadence.

An authentic cadence is imperfect if one of the chords used in the cadential progression is inverted.

V6-I, V6-i, V-I6, V-i6.

In imperfect authentic cadence, the dominant chord (V) replaced by the second inversion of the seventh-degree chord (vii6).

vii6-I, vii6-i.

An authentic cadence is imperfect when the tonic chord is not on the first (the strongest) beat of a meter. The tonic tone is not (in the soprano voice) the highest in the tonic chord.



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Plagal

Perfect plagal cadence.

In perfect plagal cadence, both chords used in the cadential progression must be in root position (noninverted). The tonic chord must be on the first (the strongest) beat of a meter. The tonic tone must be (in the soprano voice) the highest in the tonic chord.

Imperfect plagal cadence.

A plagal cadence is imperfect if one of the chords used in the cadential progression is inverted.

IV6-I, iv6-i, IV-I6, iv-i6.

A plagal cadence is imperfect when the tonic chord is not on the first (the strongest) beat of a meter. The tonic tone is not (in the soprano voice) the highest in the tonic chord.



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Half

Authentic half cadence.

A half cadence is authentic if the cadential progression ends with the dominant chord (V). Also, the dominant chord (V) or its first inversion (V6) can start further progression after the authentic half cadence.

I-V, i-V, I6-V, i6-V, IV-V, iv-V, IV6-V, iv6-V.

Plagal half cadence.

A half cadence is plagal when the cadential progression ends with the subdominant chord (IV). After the plagal half cadence, the further progression begins with the subdominant chord or its first inversion.

I-IV, i-iv, I6-IV, i6-iv.



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Deceptive

A cadence is deceptive if the tension of the dominant chord resolves in the chord built on the sixth degree of the scale. Also, the abovementioned cadence sometimes called interrupted. It is the weakest cadence of all.

V-vi, V-VI.


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