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What Is a Cadence?

What Is a Cadence?: Theoretical and Analytical Perspectives on Cadences in the Classical Repertoire

Markus Neuwirth
Pieter Bergé
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    What Is a Cadence?
    Book Description:

    The variety and complexity of cadence. The concept of closure is crucial to understanding music from the “classical” style. This volume focuses on the primary means of achieving closure in tonal music: the cadence. Written by leading North American and European scholars, the nine essays assembled in this volume seek to account for the great variety and complexity inherent in the cadence by approaching it from different (sub)disciplinary angles, including music-analytical, theoretical, historical, psychological (experimental), as well as linguistic. Each of these essays challenges, in one way or another, our common notion of cadence. Controversial viewpoints between the essays are highlighted by numerous cross-references. Given the ubiquity of cadences in tonal music in general, this volume is aimed not only at a broad portion of the academic community, scholars and students alike, but also at music performers.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-173-9
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

    (pp. 7-16)
    Markus Neuwirth and Pieter Bergé

    The concept of closure is no doubt crucial to understanding what many consider the essence of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century music: its emphatic goal-directedness.¹ The musical “phrase” resulting from the tonal motion towards a goal may consequently be deemed emblematic of tonal music as a whole.² It is therefore unsurprising that the cadence, the primary means of articulating the tonal goal and thus of achieving closure, has received considerable attention in virtually all scholarly and pedagogical work on tonal music. Especially in more recent writings on the analysis of musical form, the cadence occupies a pivotal position, no matter whether scholars...

    (pp. 17-58)
    William E. Caplin

    Robert Gjerdingen’s theory of musical schemata has by now thoroughly proven itself as a major tool for the analysis of eighteenth-century music.¹ Among the many schemata defined by Gjerdingen, the melodic-contrapuntal pattern that he has termed the Prinner is perhaps his most important theoretical discovery.² Once our attention has been drawn to it, we quickly find the Prinner employed in a multitude of compositional contexts throughout the eighteenth century, most especially in its middle third—the galant era.³ In his treatise, Gjerdingen describes many of the ways in which the Prinner is used, with a special emphasis on how it...

  3. BEYOND ‘HARMONY’ The Cadence in the Partitura Tradition
    (pp. 59-84)
    Felix Diergarten

    According to a Latin proverb, a thousand roads lead men forever to Rome. Of even greater importance for music history might be the fact that for centuries a thousand roads have led musicians back home, and that these musicians imported to their homelands the musical ideas and concepts they had been exposed to in Rome. In the 1680s, for example, Georg Muffat, a young organist in his 30s, travelled back northwards across the Alps towards Salzburg, where he was employed at the time. His Italian journey had given Muffat the opportunity to hear Arcangelo Corelli’s music and to have his...

    (pp. 85-116)
    Poundie Burstein

    In summarizing the modern definition of the term “cadence,” William Caplin aptly notes that it “essentially represents the structural end of broader harmonic, melodic, and phrase-structural processes.”¹ Such a structural ending is most suitably expressed by an authentic cadence, where the closure is confirmed by a V-I resolution. In contrast, a sense of ending tends to be far less comfortably established by a half cadence, that is, one that concludes on a dominant harmony. After all, owing to its strong tendency to resolve to tonic, the appearance of a dominant chord at the end of a phrase tends to work...

  5. FUGGIR LA CADENZA, OR THE ART OF AVOIDING CADENTIAL CLOSURE Physiognomy and Functions of Deceptive Cadences in the Classical Repertoire
    (pp. 117-156)
    Markus Neuwirth

    Following a topos that is widespread in the analytical literature, music from the second half of the eighteenth century may be described as goal-directed.¹ To reflect the teleological qualities inherent in “classical” music, analysts of different persuasions frequently make use of metaphors derived from the source domain of a “journey,” including its cognates “trajectory” and “path” as well as “departure” and “arrival.”² A musical “phrase” may be considered the smallest building block expressing goal-directedness, as it articulates a tonal motion towards a final sonority (either the tonic or the dominant) that is usually established by means of a cadential progression.³...

    (pp. 157-184)
    Danuta Mirka

    One of the favorite tricks played by Haydn on eighteenth-century formal conventions was to begin with a cadence. A celebrated instance occurs in the first movement of his String Quartet in D major, op. 50 No. 6, “The Frog” (Example 1a). This trick has been noticed by several authors¹ but none of them has taken note of the complementary trick at the end of the finale. There (Example 1b), the cadence returns in the coda (mm. 229–231), interrupting the course of this section and being interrupted, in turn, by a general pause.² The following section forms a codetta and...

    (pp. 185-214)
    Nathan John Martin and Julie Pedneault-Deslauriers

    As is much clearer today than in 1998, when Classical Form first appeared in print, William Caplin’s theory of formal functions rests in considerable part on a careful delimitation of the concept of cadence.¹ In 2001, Caplin published a short article in the Tijdschrift voor Muziektheorie that characterized sonata expositions primarily in terms of their cadential goals.² And in 2004, he presented an extended meditation on cadences in the Journal of the American Musicological Society.³ Yet in all these texts, Caplin attends primarily to the perfect authentic cadence; the half cadence, which plays no less pivotal a role in his...

  8. “HAUPTRUHEPUNCTE DES GEISTES” Punctuation Schemas and the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata
    (pp. 215-252)
    Vasili Byros

    Had publication practices in the Age of Enlightenment resembled the massmedia distribution and consumption of films in the New Millennium, eighteenth-century music may have come similarly packaged with “alternate versions,” “composer’s cuts,” and “outtakes.” The late-eighteenth-century equivalent of a “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray disc for Beethoven’s Second Symphony in D major, op. 36 (1801–02), may well have included among its “outtakes” the passage given in Example 1: an alternate version for bars 56–71 of the first movement.¹

    My ambition with this chapter is to explain the source of this “alternate version” and, in so doing, to provide some theoretical,...

    (pp. 253-286)
    David Sears

    How does music end? This question has occupied a central position in music scholarship for centuries. The eighteenth-century cadence perhaps best exemplifies this point, as it is a foundational concept in the Formenlehre tradition that continues to receive attention and undergo refinement by the scholarly community. Indeed, the revival of interest in theories of musical form over the last few decades has prompted a number of studies that reconsider previously accepted explanations of how composers articulate cadences in the classical period,¹ that classify instances in which cadential arrival fails to materialize,² and that situate the concept of cadence within a...

    (pp. 287-338)
    Martin Rohrmeier and Markus Neuwirth

    A crucial aspect of our listening experience is the formation of expectations and predictions.² No matter what kind of music we are listening to, we have a predisposition towards expecting certain continuations of what we have heard before. In Leonard B. Meyer’s words, a given musical event “implies” another and at the same time may “realize” the implications set up by earlier events.³ The cadence is often cited as one of the most prototypical patterns in Western tonal music, creating and ultimately fulfilling highly specific expectations.⁴ It has frequently been suggested that cadential contexts differ systematically from non-cadential ones with...