A cadence is like the full stop at the end of a sentence – it marks the end of a musical phrase, giving it a sense of completion and resolution.
Now, let’s delve a bit deeper into this intriguing concept. In music, a cadence is a sequence of chords or notes that bring a particular section to a close. It’s like a musical punctuation that tells the listener, “This part is over, but there’s more to come.” Cadences come in different flavours, but the two main types are authentic and plagal cadences.
An authentic cadence is like a firm and decisive full stop. It consists of two chords: the dominant chord (often a V chord) and the tonic chord (usually a I chord). The dominant chord creates tension, and when it resolves to the tonic, it releases that tension, providing a satisfying sense of conclusion. It’s like coming home after a long journey – comforting and familiar.
On the other hand, a plagal cadence is more like an amen at the end of a prayer. It’s gentler and less conclusive than an authentic cadence. It involves moving from the subdominant chord (often a IV chord) to the tonic chord (a I chord). This cadence is often used in hymns or gospel music, giving a sense of peaceful resolution.
Modern music is rife with examples of cadences. Just listen to a pop song on the radio, and you’ll likely hear cadences sprinkled throughout. For instance, in a catchy chorus, you might find an authentic cadence on the last line, drawing you into the next verse. Even in instrumental music, such as movie soundtracks or electronic compositions, cadences help shape the flow of the music, providing moments of anticipation and closure.
In conclusion, a cadence is a vital element in music, serving as a musical punctuation that marks the end of phrases and brings a sense of resolution. Whether it’s an authentic cadence with its firm finality or a gentle plagal cadence, these harmonic progressions provide a sense of satisfaction to the listener.
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