Perfect/imperfect authentic cadences, half cadences, deceptive cadences, and plagal cadences have been around since at least Mozart. What are some either specific cadences or approaches to cadences that started with...

  1. Wagner and the late Romantics
  2. Bartok and the folk music enthusiasts
  3. Debussy and the Impressionists

I do know that they're much more likely to use chromaticism in general than Classical composers, but I'm looking particularly for interesting non-Classical ways they handled ends of phrases when they wanted to convey at least some degree of closure.

  • One plagal cadence variation is known as ii-I.
    – user53472
    Jul 14, 2019 at 2:47

1 Answer 1


It turns out that David James Heetderks's 300-page thesis "Transformed Triadic Networks: Hearing Harmonic Closure in Prokofiev, Copland, and Poulenc" has a lot to say on the subject. He speaks in terms of operations on the standard V-I, tritone-collapsing-inward progression, including reversing privileged root motion (ascending as opposed to descending fifth), changing the privileged root motion entirely (establishing that the major third is the interval of root motion in cadences), and adding essential dissonances.

  • 1
    By "ascending as opposed to descending fifth" does he mean "ascending fifth as opposed to descending fifth" (thus plagal rather than perfect cadence) or "ascending fourth as opposed to descending fifth" (thus a different chord layout)?
    – Rosie F
    Oct 8, 2018 at 8:57

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