What is the significance in understanding this concept if I wanted to write music?

If I understood cadences, then would that mean I would be able to structure my compositions?


You'd be able to structure your compositionss more intelligently, more logically. Cadences are the endings to sections of music, so you probably use them naturally. Knowing how they work, when they're likely to come, and how they make your music work is possibly just academic, but knowing about them can help you structure your own music - and understand others' music better. Sure, one can write music without them being in one's armoury, labelled. Just as one can write music without being capable of physically writing it down. More to the point, what will you lose/gain by understanding them? And - be able to communicate more lucidly with other musos.

  • You have answered my question. Now I understand more. If you don't mind, just a follow up question: If this is the case, then would my understanding of this concept be correct in that if lets say I was writing a section of a song ;And If I knew the difference of a perfect cadence and an open cadence, I can intentionally end my section on a V because I know an imperfect cadence implies an unfinished--moving forward---cliffhanger---there's still something more 'thought?' – Richard Pius L. Chua Nov 26 '20 at 22:15
  • @RichardPiusL.Chua you might want to study how cadences are used in Gregorian chant or medieval song. In other words, the concept of cadence is much broader than V-I or what have you. – phoog Nov 27 '20 at 3:31

It doesn't particularly matter if you know the names 'Perfect Cadence', 'Interrupted Cadence' etc. (British names, I believe the Americans have invented their own names.) It matters that you understand that music has resting points, and that there's a different effect whether it rests on the tonic, the dominant, or makes like it's heading home to the tonic but surprises us.

The best way to learn music, much like learning anything else, is to look at lots of it and see how it works. Having the words to describe the various things it can do is a great help in organising your thoughts and methods.

  • Ok so the follow up question being: does understanding that music has resting points, and that there's a different effect whether it rests on the tonic, the dominant, etc. help in song writing? and if so how? what else can I learn to move my progression? (no pun intended). – Richard Pius L. Chua Nov 26 '20 at 4:03
  • Read, listen to and play lots of music. Steal ideas from everywhere! – Laurence Payne Nov 26 '20 at 14:01
  • @LaurencePayne for the most part, differences in US and British music terminology are not due to American inventiveness but rather are translations from German, owing no doubt to the prevalence of German music professors in the US during the 19th century. "Deceptive cadence" seems to be an example of this. – phoog Nov 27 '20 at 3:37

It's the same as learning about commas and periods and semicolons; these are used to signal the ends of phrases (or other structural units).

  • So is an imperfect cadence is a comma, and a perfect cadence is a period? – Richard Pius L. Chua Nov 26 '20 at 22:21
  • A fair but not exact analogy. A perfect authentic cadence is more final than an imperfect cadence is about all. Not all V-I (or V-i or equivalent) patterns are cadences, to be a cadence one usually needs (according to Ratman and some others) a 4-7-1 melodic pattern (not necessarily in the melody). – ttw Nov 26 '20 at 23:39

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