Is there a rule for deceptive cadence that can explain all 3 examples below? One of them I am almost positive is a deceptive cadence, but I don't know about the other two.

In the first two examples I am using at the jazz band Ball. In measure 8 there has clearly been a I IV II V progression that would lead to Bb, but it seems that the song goes to the relative minor. I have seen this deceptive cadence in classical music such as Sors Opus 35 No 22 where an A7 chord goes to Bm instead of D major. Later in the song he actually does the expected cadence.

But later in the same song there is VI7 II7 V7 I followed by a VI7 II7 -> IV progression. Is this a deceptive cadence? If so are there special rules for it? Why does it work?

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There is another example of one I haven't seen in "On the Sunny Side of the Street". In measure 2 there is a III7 to VI cadence, but if you look at the small chords the piano is playing, it seems a walk up from E7 to Am is implied, and the deceptive cadence is playing an F instead of an A minor because of the common tone between F and Am (A). This isn't clear in the score I have but in the piano part the chords are voiced like this |E7 ->F#m7b5(Am6/F#) ->C7/G ->E/G#|F(/A) / / Fm|.

Is there one sort of rule or analysis that can explain all of these things?

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  • I'm having trouble following your "Sunny" question. The "large" chords are a walk-up from E to A, but I don't see that in the "small" chords.
    – Aaron
    May 3, 2023 at 19:20
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    In which measures there is the second example? May 3, 2023 at 19:21
  • Oh sorry, the actually piano voicing of the chords in the second measure are E7 ->F#m7b5(Am6/F#) ->C7/G ->E7/G#, sort of implying the next note is A. I forgot that I didn't include the base notes for space reasons on the score. May 3, 2023 at 19:42
  • I’m voting to close this question because the 'cadences' quoted are not cadences, making the whole question inaccurate, and unanswerable.
    – Tim
    May 4, 2023 at 7:25
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    In your title, did you mean "un-expected chord?" May 4, 2023 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


At the Jazz Band Ball

  1. Measure 8 is a standard half cadence on V7 (F7). M. 9's G minor chord is the start of a new section, not part of a cadence. Movement from V to vi is not enough for a half cadence; the vi has to be the actual cadence point.

  2. The VI7 II7 IV progression is actually V7/V/V V7/V IV, and again is not a cadence. It's just a phrase that includes an abrupt shift in tonal center.

Sunny Side of the Street

This is also not a cadence. Its a stepwise progression from III to VI followed by II V I, which is the cadence point.

  • Yes, this answer points out the error identifying actual cadences. A cadence should only be labeled if there is a phrase or section end. If only the chords are considered, like V vi you could call it a deceptive progression, or more generally you can call something cadential harmony. May 9, 2023 at 15:57

There are some preliminaries to answering your question.

First, the concept of a cadence is most well-defined with respect to music of the Common Practice Era, which is shorthand for "mostly European art music composed from about 1650 to 1900". We can (and do) extend the concept of "cadence" outside of that narrow category of music, and when we extend, we have to relax the "rules" in different ways, or else we can't effectively apply the concepts of cadences in other contexts. So I suggest being a bit relaxed in any analysis of cadences in music such as jazz.

Second, the core aspect of a cadence that can most effectively be extended outside of common practice music is the idea that a cadence is a point of repose. In other words, if the music feels like it's making a kind of pause, like a comma or period in grammar, then we can think of that as a cadence. Without this aspect of the notion of cadence, any time we had a V chord followed by a I chord would be a cadence and that would destroy the meaning and usefulness of the concept itself.

Before commenting on deceptive cadences, I'm going to first assess where there seem to be cadences in the music in question.

Based on the above recording, I don't agree that there's a cadence at all on the vi chord in measure 9 of "At The Jazz Band Ball". I hear a (brief) point of repose in measure 8, which would make that a half cadence (F is the V chord). Measure 9 is the start of the next phrase group.

Regarding the second cadence you're asking about, I think it's measures 25-29 where we see VI7 - VI7 - II7 - II7 - IV - iv(5b) that you're asking about. Since there's no repose in any of those measures, there's no cadence of any kind. Measures 26 and 28 have half notes that could feel like pauses, but to my ear they are repeats of a rhythmic motive that is still moving the music forward. In any case when we hear the IV chord in measure 29, the melody is still quite active. The next cadence I hear is at measure 32 which we could call an "authentic cadence" or just see it as a quintessential jazz turnaround of VI/vi - II/ii - V - I.

For "Sunny Side of the Street", the first point of repose I hear is again in measure 8 (this is common in big band jazz). And of course measure 8 is another ii - V - I cadence. Measure 16 in this is an interesting example of where I hear a cadence despite there being continued motion in the melody and less repose. In a way I think we're prepared to hear that as a cadence because it is a repeat of the first cadence in measure 8, and also because it closes out the second 8 and we are expecting an aaba form.

This type of jazz can have deceptive cadences, but I feel like they are less often written out in the chart and more likely appear at the end of the final statement of the head where the band will add 4 - 16 bars to draw out the finish. In answer to your question, when we hear a point of repose that is not clearly on tonic or dominant harmony, and especially where the piece continues to a later cadence to the tonic, we can reasonably describe that as a deceptive cadence.

I hope one takeaway you get from this answer is that many times, we cannot effectively read cadences. We have to listen to hear (and feel) cadences.

  • This is very helpful. Thank you! So there is not a name (cadence or note) for when there is a V7 chord that does not resolve to the expected chord? May 3, 2023 at 19:46
  • I understand that you're arguing that e.g. E7-Fmaj7 in Sunny Side... is not a cadence, but could it be called a deceptive resolution? This is how I hear it May 4, 2023 at 1:00
  • @bartcubrich If you mean when a dominant 7th chord is not followed by a major chord a fifth below, like V7-I.... then maybe there isn't a name for it? But in blues and jazz dominant seventh chords can have any function. One classic form of 12 bar blues is composed of I7, IV7, and V7 chords, and the final cadence is plagal to the I7 chord. The V7 moves to IV7. So in rock, pop, jazz, blues, etc., having a dominant 7th quality does not always mean dominant function. Tonic function is very common for "dominant" 7th chords in those genres. May 4, 2023 at 3:26
  • @user1079505 E7-Fmaj7 doesn't seem like any kind of deception to me. It could be heard as bVII7 to Imaj7, which could be a cadence that is not deceptive. IMHO "deceptive" and "resolution" are contradictory. A deceptive cadence by definition is not a resolution - the resolution that is expected is delayed. I'm not sure what the expected resolution you're hearing is after the E7 chord. E7 to A? Or B? IMHO none of the E7 chords sound like they have dominant function in "Sunny Side..." More like tonic prolongation. I don't expect them to resolve. May 4, 2023 at 3:30
  • @bartcubrich Perhaps one name for when dominant 7th chords do not resolve down by fifth is "jazz". :-) This is also true of dom7 chords that do move down by fifth but without a point of repose. There's a lot of circle of fifths motion ("authentic motion") that is not a cadence. Again, without the pause/repose, any pair of chords could be considered some type of cadence, which wouldn't be helpful in analysis. The concept of cadences was developed to help us understand how we hear pauses and completion in music. If it doesn't pause or complete, thinking of it as a cadence is just confusing. May 4, 2023 at 3:37

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