I took this piece by Schumann (Melodie) and am trying to identify the cadences. I have already started to try and identify the phrases first. I am unsure if the first system is one phrase. Any help from what I have already done is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Analysis of "Melodie" by Schumann

  • Did you mean to label the first cadence as a half cadence (cadence ending on the V chord)? Sep 16, 2022 at 5:38

1 Answer 1


Your analysis of phrases is correct, except for the fourth system, which should be the same as the second.

Your cadences need work. The final PAC is correct, and the third system, being essentially the same, is also a PAC. However, none of the cadences that end the first, second, or fourth systems are authentic cadences. They are, however, all the same type of cadence.

The piece is in C major, and all three of those cadences are on G major (or G dominant seventh). That is, the three phrases cadence on the dominant chord, which is known as a half cadence.

Note that there is some confusion in terminology that stems from different naming conventions.

  • V - I (w/ tonic in top voice): Authentic Cadence (USA) = Perfect Cadence (UK)
  • V - I (w/ non-tonic in top voice): Imperfect Authentic Cadence (USA) = no equivalent (UK)
  • (X) - V: Half Cadence (USA) = Imperfect Cadence (UK)
  • V - vi: Deceptive Cadence (USA) = Interrupted Cadence (UK)
  • IV - I: Plagal Cadence (both)
  • Just one more thought on Aaron's answer. Even though I agree that the third and fifth system are TECHNICALLY perfect authentic cadences by definition, they are subtly different. The third system continues the 8th note motion on all 4 beats while the final system stops that motion on beat 4. As I said they are both PACs, but the final one is more "final" in its effect because the motion stops.
    – nuggethead
    Feb 13 at 18:29
  • Also, @Aaron I think for it to qualify as a perfect authentic cadence the chords must be in root position
    – nuggethead
    Feb 13 at 20:11
  • @nuggethead so what is a V-I cadence called when both chords aren't in root position?
    – phoog
    Feb 13 at 20:44
  • @nuggethead I appreciate the close read of my post. You're mostly correct, but there's a nuance that I think you may be missing. In measure 12, it's very true that Schumann keeps the flow of the music moving by placing an E on the final half beat. However, it's the preceding C that is the cadence point. Even though it's brief, analytically it's (the C) still considered the end of the phrase and the root of the chord. Thus, it is a PAC, just brief, and immediately undermined by the following note.
    – Aaron
    Feb 13 at 21:12
  • @phoog In US-based theory courses, a V - I cadence with the I chord inverted called an Imperfect Authentic Cadence. However, in British-based (European-based?) theory courses, it's called an Evaded Cadence.
    – Aaron
    Feb 13 at 21:17

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