"Perfect Cadence", also called "authentic cadence", is a musical term used to describe a specific harmonic progression that often signifies the end of a musical phrase. It typically consists of the V and I chords, representing the fifth and first degrees of a scale, respectively. Because of this, it is also known as a "V-I" cadence. This type of cadence creates a sense of closure and finality, providing a natural point of conclusion for a musical segment.
The perfect cadence is a common and stable harmonic progression that holds a sense of resolution and balance. It often occurs at significant points of modulation or at the conclusion of musical phrases, indicating to the listener that a musical section has come to a complete end. In a perfect cadence, the V chord (dominant chord) carries a strong tension, while the I chord (tonic chord) imparts a sense of resolution. This contrast creates an engaging harmonic transition.
For instance, in the key of C major, a perfect cadence would involve a transition from the G chord (V) to the C chord (I). This chord progression is frequently employed to conclude sections of a piece, signaling emotional closure or the completion of a musical idea.
The perfect cadence is an essential concept in music composition and analysis. It serves not only as a technical element but also impacts the emotional and expressive aspects of music. Alongside other harmonic progressions, it contributes to diverse musical structures and provides captivating harmonic changes for the listener.