I hear this chord progression (bVI bVII I) occur a lot in popular music. Is there a name for this progression or cadence? If I heard this at the end of a song or piece, how would I describe it?

My theory textbook says that a Plagal Cadence can be considered any cadence where the first chord does not contain the leading tone and the second chord is the tonic. I'm wondering if this would count as sort of a plagal cadence then.

Any thoughts about this? I'd love to hear some ideas!

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    Almost a backwards Andalusian (Spanish) sequence?
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 8:42
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    @Tim, I was thinking the same. and also: bVI could be substitution for iv and bVII substitution for V ... Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 9:13
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    – user48353
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 9:42
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    But I remember when I started studies of Swiss Jazz School I had to play "blue moon" and improvise something in the bars of first ending for the repetition of the beginning section and then I didn't know this progression like I- (viidim7)- ii - V7) so I filled this passage by I-bVII-bVI-bVII-I. (The only music I knew apart of 3 LP-records of Bach, Dvorak and Beethoven was Porgy and Bess. I think I was inspired by "A woman is a sometimes thing"). and yes, I remember, in the second phrase of the song Exodus I had heard it before. Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 9:50
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    related to cadence identities in music.stackexchange.com/questions/78539/… Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 15:16

2 Answers 2


I think you may be referring to a cadence type chart in Harmony by Kostka.

By that reconning it could be a plagal cadence.

Personally, I'm loathe to use the term cadence in rock music. But that's an issue about what a cadence really is.

bVI bVII (I or i) is definitely something in rock music. I don't know a definitive name for it.

FWIW, I think the bVII to I move is the important feature and that involves the mixolydian mode which is very, very common in rock music.


I would call it the Beatles Cadence (or "the lady madonna"-cadence) as I encountered it the first time there. Others would call it "Billy Chears"-cadence (from Sgt. Pepper Album) or "Super Mario cadence"

Some think about "aeolian cadence”, as the VI and VII degree are major chords. But the final chord is a major chord, so this means the VI and VII would be borrowed from the Aeolian scale.

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