enter image description hereHi guys,

I have recently been composing and have run into an issue. I have finished a section with a perfect cadence (bar 52), and I would like to change to the subdominant key for the next phrase (bar 53). However, as it stands, bar 53 (Bb7) sounds like a continuation of the previous phrase, and it only feels like a new section when we land on the Eflat M chord in the second bar of the phrase. what is best practice here??

Is it best to modulate to E flat before the cadence at 52? Or best to start the new phrase in B flat and modulate mid-phrase?

thanks Ed

  • I'm going to suggest that the answer will have more to do with phrase lengths—how many bars are in the phrase. There isn't enough context here to tell, but if you want m.53 to "feel like a new phrase," it will work best if 52 was the final bar of a phrase (probably 4th bar). Oct 8, 2021 at 14:33
  • Either has been made to work by great composers; since it's your baby, you can decide which works better for you. Try out, as composers often do, different ideas, and choose the one which you think is best.
    – Tim
    Oct 8, 2021 at 15:07
  • 1
    I've voted to close as "opinion based," but I have a larger concern: why is the question posed with only two options for how to fix the problem? Composition is hardly an either-or proposition. Is there some reason no other solution(s) is (are) viable?
    – Aaron
    Oct 8, 2021 at 16:53
  • This question has a very easy answer. You start a new phrase after modulations with pivot chords. This is not an opinion this is a well-established music theory. IDK why this has been closed it has a very easy and widely accepted answer.
    – Neil Meyer
    Oct 11, 2021 at 8:47
  • EdB123, there are votes to re-open this question. Can you give us a bit more context, to establish where these measures fall in the phrase length? I believe there are objective answers to this question, but my answer is still tied to where the phrase ends. Oct 11, 2021 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


Yes, you could have brought in a Bb7 a bit earlier and had a perfect cadence into Eb at bar 52. But what you have done is fine - a perfect cadence in B♭ then a B♭7 chord leading to E♭ at bar 54. Composer's choice!

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