Sep 17, 2014

A cadence is a sequence of notes or chords that brings a musical piece of passage to a conclusion or to a temporary stop.  Most cadences conform to one of several easily recognized patterns or formulas, and the familiarity of these formulas is what reinforces their closing function.

The two chords to which the word "Amen" is usually sing at the end of a hymn, for example, constitute a cadence as do the chords that accompany the words "the home of the brave" at the end of the Star Spangled Banner.  The word cadence is derived from the Latin word cadere , which means to fall and that's because in most early church music, melodies descended or fell in pitch to their final note.  The famous verse from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night begins with the words, "If music be the food of love, play on" also includes the line, "that strain again, it had a dying fall."  Mr. Shakespeare was describing a cadence.

A Minute with Miles - a production of SCETV Radio made possible by the JM Smith Corporation.