Deceptive Cadence

Interrupted Cadence

"Deceptive cadence", also called "false cadence" or "interrupted cadence", is a musical harmonic progression that occurs unexpectedly, leading the listener in a surprising direction away from the anticipated harmony. It involves altering the expected chord progression (usually V-I or V-i) to a different chord, creating an unexpected musical twist and providing a sense of deception or sudden change.

The deceptive cadence is a clever harmonic technique used to defy listener expectations and create surprising musical effects. It often takes place at the end of a musical phrase, where the audience expects to hear a traditional chord resolution but is redirected to a different chord instead. This alteration can lead to a chord that is related to a different key or involve a chord progression that is less commonly heard within the given context.

For instance, in an anticipated V-I perfect cadence, if the V chord is changed to a vi chord, a deceptive cadence occurs. This shift creates an unexpected effect, abruptly altering the emotional direction of the music. Deceptive cadences can be employed to add drama, humor, or a sense of instability, making the music more engaging.

While a deceptive cadence may disrupt expectations, it simultaneously enriches the emotional expression of the music. By implementing such changes at unexpected moments, musicians can craft a fresh and intriguing listening experience, keeping the audience attuned to the music's unfolding developments.

Example of Deceptive Cadence

What is a Deceptive Cadence? - Music Theory Crash Course