Reference Entry


in The Oxford Companion to Music

Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199579037

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A melodic or harmonic motion conventionally associated with the ending of a phrase, section, movement, or composition. The implied connection between ‘cadence’ and falling is most explicitly realized in music where a melodic line descends conclusively to the modal final or tonal tonic. But cadential closure in modal and tonal music has more to do with a sense of emphasized arrival on the interval or chord most fundamental to the work in question than with literal and uniform descent. In post-tonal music, the sense of cadence can be achieved by forms of emphasis and resolution which have varying degrees of explicitness or ambiguity, but it is not possible to classify post-tonal cadences in the way that types of modal and tonal cadence are defined below. Often, of course, post-tonal composers demonstrate their independence of traditions by avoiding cadential effects and ending with what can sound like arbitrary abruptness....

Reference Entry.  1320 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music

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