Music Theory II Main Page
Music Theory II Main Page


 Cadences are structural points in music that represent a point of rest.

There are 6 cadences that are most common: The Perfect Authentic Cadence (PAC), Imperfect Authentic Cadence (IAC), and the Half Cadence (HC) are the three most common.

The Perfect Authentic Cadence is a V-I progression that has both chords in root position and the soprano leads stepwise into the tonic (2-1 or 7-1).

The Imperfect Authentic Cadence is also V-I, but it doesn't meet 1 or more of the previous requirements. For instance, one of the chords may be in inversion (usually the V) or the soprano may not end on 1 approached by step. Another possibility is that the V is replaced by vii-dim, which we will talk about in a later chapter.

The Half Cadence ends on V and can be preceeded by any predominant or the tonic.

The following 3 cadences are less common, although are found frequently in given contexts. These are the Plagal Cadence (PC), The Deceptive Cadence (DC), and the Phrygian Half Cadence (PHC)

The Plagal Cadence is a IV-I progression. It rarely stands on it's own, and usually follows a PAC at the end of a piece or a section of a piece. The most common example is the "amen" at the end of a traditional hymn.

The Deceptive Cadence is a V-VI progression that "tricks" the listener who expects V to go to I. It usually preceeds an authentic cadence and, like the plagal cadence, does not often stand on it's own. It is common for a phrase to repeat with a different cadence immediately after a deceptive cadence.

The Phrygian Half Cadence was very popular in the baroque period, but it far less common today. It is a iv6-V progression that usually ends a movement of a multimovement work and builds up suspense for the next movement (usually the final movement).