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Lesson 101: Cadences Summary

What Is a Cadence, Anyway?

A cadence is a harmonic entity that establishes or confirms a tonal center. The chords of a cadence form a harmonic goal or are heading for a harmonic goal, a resolution.

In many melodies/ musical forms, there is a single cadence towards the end of a phrase or a section, that constitutes a high point of the form. In other melodies/ forms, there is an abundance of cadences, often with different tonal centers, with or without resolution.

Different Types of Cadences

The different cadence types are:

  • authentic ( or perfect) cadence - V to I
  • plagal cadence - IV to I
  • half cadence - a cadence ending on V
  • deceptive cadence - V to VIm or V to IIIm

Common Cadences in Jazz

  • the II-V-I progression
  • the I-VI-II-V type turn-around
Check out lesson 35 ( Reharmonization), where different ways to reharmonize these common types of cadences are explored.

Diatonic Versus Non- Diatonic Cadences

Examples of cadences that are diatonic by nature:

  • Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7 ( C major)
  • Dm7b5 - G7 - Cm(maj7) ( C harmonic minor)
  • Abmaj7 - G7 - Cm(maj7) ( C harmonic minor)
Examples of cadences that are non- diatonic by nature:
  • Dm7 - G7alt - Cmaj7
  • Dm7 - Ab7 - G7 - Cmaj7
  • Ab7 - G7 - Cm(maj7)

2006 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.