A chord progression of at least 2 chords that ends a phrase or section of a piece of music

Cadence refers to a musical term that signifies a harmonic or melodic progression that creates a sense of resolution, closure, or finality in a musical phrase, section, or composition. It is often used to mark the end of a musical phrase or phrase group.

Cadences play a crucial role in shaping the overall structure and flow of a piece of music. They provide a sense of punctuation, indicating to the listener that a musical idea or phrase has reached its conclusion or resting point. Cadences can create different moods and emotions depending on the specific harmonic progression and melodic contour used.

There are several types of Cadences commonly found in music, including perfect cadence, plagal cadence, imperfect cadence, and deceptive cadence:

  • Perfect Cadence: An perfect cadence is considered the strongest and most conclusive type of cadence. It involves a progression from the dominant chord (V) to the tonic chord (I). This progression creates a sense of resolution and stability, providing a satisfying and conclusive ending to a musical phrase. The perfect cadence is often characterized by a strong harmonic pull and a feeling of finality.
  • Plagal Cadence: In contrast to the perfect cadence, a plagal cadence creates a more peaceful and calming effect. It typically involves a progression from the subdominant chord (IV) to the tonic chord (I), often referred to as the "Amen" cadence due to its use in hymns. The plagal cadence is commonly associated with a sense of religious or devotional music and is often used to conclude phrases or sections with a gentle and serene resolution.
  • Imperfect Cadence: A imperfect cadence, also known as an imperfect cadence, provides a sense of pause or temporary ending within a musical phrase or section. It typically concludes on the dominant chord (V), creating a momentary sense of expectation or suspension. Unlike the perfect cadence, the imperfect cadence does not provide a strong resolution to the tonic chord and may leave the listener with a feeling of anticipation for the musical phrase to continue or reach a more conclusive cadence.
  • Deceptive Cadence: A deceptive cadence introduces an unexpected twist in the expected harmonic progression. Instead of resolving to the tonic chord (I), the deceptive cadence resolves to a chord other than the expected one, often a chord of relative or parallel key. This creates a moment of surprise and deviation from the listener's expectations. Deceptive cadences are frequently used to add variety, tension, and a sense of musical surprise in compositions.

Cadences can be found in various genres and styles of music, including classical, jazz, pop, and folk. They contribute to the overall structure, balance, and emotional impact of a composition, guiding the listener through the musical journey and providing moments of resolution and release.

Example of Cadence

Cadences - The 4 types explained - Perfect, Plagal, Imperfect, Interrupted