I was just listening to a rock song that is in a minor key, and the phrase ends with a v moving to a VI♭ chord.

Since the dominant chord is taken from the natural minor and doesn't contain the leading tone, is this still a deceptive cadence?

My theory textbook says that a deceptive cadence needs a chord with the leading tone followed by any chord but the tonic. It also says a chord without the leading tone followed by any chord but the tonic is a half cadence. Because the roots follow that of a deceptive cadence, does it make more sense to analyze it as that rather than a half cadence?

From 28-32 seconds. Song is in A minor, chord progression is Am-G-Em-F.


1 Answer 1


Since in rock, you can put together any 4 diatonic triads (the diminished triad usually excluded), loop them, and call it a chord progression, I'm hesitant to use functional labels here. To call the cadence "deceptive" is to imply that the alternative progression Am-G-Em-Am was expected, or at least would work. What do you think? The classical trick of first writing a deceptive and then resolving to the corresponding authentic cadence: it is quite foreign to this style, which instead chooses a chord progression and sticks to it.

That said, there are popular songs that use deceptive cadences where the dominant chord lacks a leading tone, see e.g. In Every Age (youtu.be/nR3I-McnF5c), 0:15: VII-VI is deceptive, VII-i is authentic.

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