In the following song, the verse section is in B major and there is a prechorus section where the B becomes B7 and resolves to G#m.

I am trying to understand what exactly happened here? Did we move to G#m or are we now in E major? Is this a deceptive cadence? Also, can someone please explain the different types of deceptive cadences available to me because I was under the impression that if this was a deceptive cadence it would resolve to C#m not G#m.

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We are in B-major (5 #), in this section extending to the relative minor key: G#-minor. But A#dim7 is actually the 1st inversion of ("dominant") vii° of G#m, which would be Fx,A#,C# => Fxm° F##m-5 (Fdouble sharp dim5) - notated for easier reading as A#,C#,G ("G" = Fx leading tone of G#m.)

For better understanding transpose it semitone up to C (resp. Am):

the passage will be Am,G#m-5,Am,G#m-5,Am.


Concerning B7 - G#m:

I'd rather say this B7 is a secondary dominante to E => V7/IV, which resolves to the tonic substitution G#m (iii of E = vi in B). The progression V7-iii we often find in Pop songs e.g.: I-vi-ii-V7=>iii-vi-ii-V7. I haven't found this turn mentioned as a deceptive cadence (s. Tim) but I'd agree this turn around could be called as well as something like this. I was also thinking maybe that the IV (E) chord that never came simply got substituted by the G#m That's it!

  • I know that is what the sheetmusic says but what about the B7 chord? changing B to B7 doesnt it mean we are no longer in B/G#m if the B has become a dominant chord? Is the move from B7 to G#m a deceptive cadence? After the B7 my ear tells me we have left the key of B.
    – armani
    Feb 13 '21 at 10:37
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    The B7 just looks like a B chord with the b7th added for bluesy effect. It goes right back to B6 after that, doesn’t look like a modulation. In the future provide more of the music, it helps to have an overall picture. Feb 13 '21 at 10:46
  • @John. Ok I will post the whole page next time :) FYI: dominant chords are used very sparingly and this may be the only one in the whole song. I am almost certain the composer wants you to feel like you are changing key. It definitely sounds like that in the song and you can even hear the A note in the vocal line and the harmony. That note is being emphasized here in this part of the song. Is it possible to see this as a cadence where the E maj has been substituted for the iii chord in from E major? From what I understand the iii and the I chord are almost the same notes
    – armani
    Feb 13 '21 at 10:50
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    @John Please listen at 1.25seconds, that is when the change happens. Let me know what you think: youtube.com/watch?v=otNqnVgEs9M
    – armani
    Feb 13 '21 at 11:58
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    @John That progression that you say is vi vii I vii vi, Is that a certainty? In E couldn't it be iii vii˚/V V? I was also thinking maybe that the IV (E) chord that never came simply got substituted by the G#m. E and G#m are perfectly well substituted chords and the band that wrote the song uses a lot of chord substitutions. It is also interesting to note that the melody is purely G#m pentatonic within that whole section. Is that just chance? Or is the whole point to leave it open to interpretation....
    – armani
    Feb 14 '21 at 7:18

It's actually quite possible to interpret the B-B7-G♯m chord progression as remaining in B major and therefore involving no cadences at all, especially if you use the blues-style interpretation that the 7 is just to add flavour and does not change the key, then the G♯m-A♯dim-G♯m-A♯dim chord progression following it tonicizing G sharp minor (with the G naturals being enharmonic re-spellings of the leading tone Fx).


Actually, in your excerpt I see no real cadence. A cadence is a musical full-stop. A specific way in which phrases end. Typically it would be 8 bars, but you will find phrases in 12 and 16 bars as well. A 5-chord going to a 6-chord can happen multiple times in a piece, but it only becomes a cadence when it ends a phrase and there is a moment of rest.

  • There are no cadences in the entire song! Thats because its Coldplay! Ha! Lets face it, authentic cadences are cheesy sounding. They are like the gimmick hollywood endings found in the most predictable movies. I can totally understand why so many artists stray away. Therefore ,more subtle cues are used. If you had an authentic cadence in this song it would totally kill the vibe. That is not to say there is no place where the song does feel at rest however, if you listen you can hear there are moments of rest, it is just not as obvious.
    – armani
    Feb 16 '21 at 6:12
  • You need to actually read what I said, nowhere did I say the whole song has no cadences.
    – Neil Meyer
    Feb 16 '21 at 6:50
  • I know you didn't. I wasn't accusing you of doing so. I was exclaiming :)
    – armani
    Feb 16 '21 at 16:38

A cadence should be some formal ending, a phrase ending, key defining moment in a section, etc.

Cadential harmony and deceptive progression are two terms you can use to describe progression using the chords of cadences without the actual endings of proper cadences.

The basic definition of a deceptive cadence is flexible. An authentic cadence is V I the dominant to tonic. If the cadence goes from a dominant to any other chord but the tonic, it's called deceptive. The "deception" being playing any chord but the "expected" tonic.

So it this example it seems like B: V I would be the authentic cadence for the key signature, but there is a bit of a shift to the subdominant where the B becomes B7 or B: V7/IV if it resolved in the "expected" way it would be B: V7/IV IV or B7 E. Instead it does B: V7/IV iii/IV or B7 G#m. You could call this a deceptive progression rather than a cadence.

The A natural is what makes the B become B7, a secondary dominant. Right after the deceptive progression the A# is restored. This isn't a key change. Just call it a tonicization, temporarily considering a progression as in a different key. In this case E major was tonicized. That may seem odd, an E tonic when no E chord was used. But to the extent the progression was heard as a deception, the deception is based on an expected E tonic.

As far as types of deceptive cadences are concerned, the textbook definition doesn't specify the chord after the dominant other than it not being a tonic. Categorically that gives you only one type.

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