I am currently interested in writing a piece in natural minor, and it seems like "v - i" cadence does not quite work as well as compared to harmonic and melodic minors, which use "V - i". How can I write a good cadence in natural minor? Would "VII - i" work well?

  • 2
    I use that sometimes, especially for C minor, I find that Bb -> Cm gives enough of a cadential feel. I personally feel the opposite about the v -> i vs V -> i in the first 5 flat minors. In those minor keys, the dominant seventh gives me too much of an expectation for a major key resolution for it to really sound good to me in minor. On the other hand I find the v -> i works just as well in minor as the dominant 7th does in major despite lacking the leading tone. It keeps the minor feel while giving enough of a sense that it wants to resolve for the Bb -> C motion to work. – Caters Feb 25 '19 at 3:26
  • 3
    Treating this modally would be different than treating it tonally. Modal pieces don't tend to have the same pull back to a tonic as tonal pieces, so cadences that establish a minor key tonality are likely to be different from cadences that establish a minor modality. I am tempted to suggest this question as a dupe, but I am not quite sure that it answers your question. – ex nihilo Feb 25 '19 at 3:58
  • 1
    Plagal works well (IV-I). – Jomiddnz Feb 25 '19 at 4:32
  • 1
    @Jomiddnz But that's not part of natural minor. – user45266 Feb 25 '19 at 4:39
  • 1
    ♭VI-♭VII-i is cool. i-♭VII-♭VII-v is also cool, like the Andalusian cadence but v instead of V. If you use that ♭VII chord and the v chord, it'll sound very strongly natural minor. i-iv-♭III-v shows how the iv degree is also very natural-minor-like. – user45266 Feb 25 '19 at 4:43

Your best bets will be v(7)-i, VII-i, and iv-i. For a piece that uses all of these, including both perfect and imperfect cadences, listen to (I'm remembering back to old choir days): "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth" by Joseph M. Martin.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy