The cadence on the fermata in this (simplified) example sounds familiar to me (in blue):

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Since it does, I suppose it possibly has a name.

My best guesses trying to analyze it so far are:

  • half cadence to the subdominant,
  • a deceptive cadence to the dominant 7 on the root A. With C# being outside the key of A minor, I'm not sure it can qualify as a deceptive cadence.

I'm not sure if any of these is valid, and it doesn't give me a potential name.

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    For what it is worth that notation is incorrect. The extract ends on the A 6/5 chord not the root position. – Neil Meyer Dec 22 '15 at 16:26
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    The Picardie third may come into play, although it usually finishes a piece - this looks like it continues. Going from a V to a I makes it basically a perfect cadence, but the dominant part throws that into touch. – Tim Dec 22 '15 at 16:27
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    @Tim: the seventh does nullify the perfect cadence hypothesis, and so does the inversion (which erroneously doesn't show in the chord notation, as NeilMeyer pointed out). The piece continues with a repeat of measures 3 and 4, and ends in a perfect cadence. But I wrote that. – Gauthier Dec 22 '15 at 16:33
  • @NeilMeyer - "A6/5" - ????? (I've been ALWAYS writing it as A7/C#) – user53472 Jul 14 '19 at 7:20
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    @MaikaSakuranomiya If you're unfamiliar with that notation and want to learn, Neil is using what we call "figured bass." – Richard Jul 14 '19 at 13:48

To me it seems like a half cadence. A7 appears before as well as the V of Dm. So my guess is that A7 here doesn't work as a tonic, but as a dominant (of some kind).

Half cadence (imperfect cadence or semicadence): any cadence ending on V, whether preceded by V of V, ii, vi, IV, or I—or any other chord. Because it sounds incomplete or suspended, the half cadence is considered a weak cadence that calls for continuation.

This also could be some combination of a modulation with a picardy third.

It refers to the use of a major chord of the tonic at the end of a musical section that is either modal or in a minor key.


Looks to me like that G that the notation considers a seventh could easily just be an chromatic passing note and that the cadence is actually just a regular V - I perfect cadence.

  • I doubt that; it's clearly a dominant chord. A V of some kind, not a I – Shevliaskovic Dec 22 '15 at 16:30
  • I think you are mistaken as to what I mean I'm referring to the G natural that moves a semitone down from the G# in the last chord of the piece (The A chord.) – Neil Meyer Dec 22 '15 at 16:32
  • Yes, I got that. The A->G#->G, right? If that went to A after G, Iwould agree that it's just a passing note – Shevliaskovic Dec 22 '15 at 16:34
  • @Shevliaskovic - of course it's a dominant chord, however, since the key is C/Am, from the key sig., it won't be called a V, as it's a I, as in an 'A'. – Tim Dec 22 '15 at 16:34
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    @Tim - In the second bar, the A7 is the V of Dm, right? My guess is that something similar is going on with the last A7 of the section as well. – Shevliaskovic Dec 22 '15 at 16:39

I'd call it a Picardie cadence as the only thing you are changing is you are raising the third of the tonic chord and you are coming directly from the dominant. The Wiki example for this cadence is almost the same:

For example, instead of a cadence ending on an A minor chord containing the notes A, C, and E, a tierce de Picardie ending would consist of an A major chord containing the notes A, C♯, and E. Note that the minor third between the A and C of the A minor chord has become a major third in the tierce de Picardie chord.

A more in-depth look would be it functions as part of a codetta where the first cadence is not quite perfect due to ending on a dominant chord and kind of a "false ending" and the last cadence is the perfect cadence you were expecting the first time.

  • I'm not sure if it is a pure picardy third, because it is a dominant chord. Do picardy thirds appear in dominant chords? – Shevliaskovic Dec 22 '15 at 16:15
  • If you're building a seventh chord in A minor on the tonic, you would have A, C, E, and G. Change the C to a C# makes an A7. – Dom Dec 22 '15 at 16:34
  • But is picardy third used this way? – Shevliaskovic Dec 22 '15 at 16:36
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    @Shevliaskovic it wouldn't be too big of a jump especially when taking modern music into account. How many jazz or blues songs end on a dominant tonic? It could set up a phrase modulation, but there is no definite modulation in this section especially with the previous chord being the V7 of the key. – Dom Dec 22 '15 at 16:45
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    It might not sound jazzy/bluesy, but the harmony does make sense in those fields. – Shevliaskovic Dec 22 '15 at 17:00

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