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Thread: Monophonic Phrases and Cadences

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    DirtyGrits's Avatar
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    Monophonic Phrases and Cadences

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    I am ending a monophonic phrase with a perfect authentic cadence (or another cadence, just an example), can I use any notes of the underlying V and I chords (chords not played of course) to end my phrase, or should I stick to the root of each underlying chord? It just seems as though any other notes would make the cadence sound different. I hope I am stating the question clearly enough. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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    A Kind Machine is offline Registered User
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    If it is a melody then I would avoid using the tonic notes, as that is just kind of blah and the bass would probably be playing it anyway. The favorite for me would probably be the 3rd or 5th depending on how you want it to feel, with the 7th and up (9, 11, 13) being used in less prominent voices for flavor if you want. That's just my taste though. I just try to make sure all my main parts work as individual phrases as well as parts of the whole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A Kind Machine View Post
    If it is a melody then I would avoid using the tonic notes, as that is just kind of blah and the bass would probably be playing it anyway. The favorite for me would probably be the 3rd or 5th depending on how you want it to feel, with the 7th and up (9, 11, 13) being used in less prominent voices for flavor if you want. That's just my taste though. I just try to make sure all my main parts work as individual phrases as well as parts of the whole.
    I appreciate the feedback; however, I am talking about a monophonic phrase (one instrument playing). I having a problem grasping the concept of a phrase ending cadence without the use of chords. Thanks for the feedback though. I get what you are saying.
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    A Kind Machine is offline Registered User
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    Oh gotcha. Well remember there are no rules past what sounds right to your ears, so there is no black-and-white right or wrong here. However, if you play certain chord tones, specifically the VII of the V chord to the III/iii of the I chord, you will still be implying the cadence. So mess with it, record it and play it back and listen to it for a day, but unless you are specifically going for the sound of a stone-cold perfect cadence then you do not need the tonic tones.

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    Thanks for the feedback Machine. Much appreciated.
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    Thing with cadences is as points of rest - you need to consider that your are either
    • stopping permanently in which case you want a scale tone 7-1, or
    • pausing on your way to somewhere else, in which case a scale tone 2-3 or scale tone 5-5 movement may be appropriate



    The last of these is a very interesting pause mechanism - because in and of itself, it seems to have paused on chord V when in terms of your vision of the underlying harmony it has moved to chord V-I; i.e. the ending is ambiguous and therefore demands continuation regardless of any perceived or actual cadential resolution
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandcoach View Post
    Thing with cadences is as points of rest - you need to consider that your are either
    • stopping permanently in which case you want a scale tone 7-1, or
    • pausing on your way to somewhere else, in which case a scale tone 2-3 or scale tone 5-5 movement may be appropriate


    The last of these is a very interesting pause mechanism - because in and of itself, it seems to have paused on chord V when in terms of your vision of the underlying harmony it has moved to chord V-I; i.e. the ending is ambiguous and therefore demands continuation regardless of any perceived or actual cadential resolution
    So when stopping on the root of the perceived underlying I chord the listener expects a permanent stop? Resting on any other note of the perceived underlying chord would require continued movement to another phrase? In addition, I see that in your examples you utilized ascending patterns. Could I also use a 2-1 or a 5-1 for a permanent stop and maybe a 7-5 or 5-3 for my rest?
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    the movement 7-1 is part of any perfect cadence that is looking to be felt as a stopping point....

    the movement 2-3 and 5-5 lend a sense of movement away from the cadence; i.e. the cadence is seen as a post for changing horses, not for finishing the ride.

    Using other movement back to 1 may or may not have the desired effect of creating a final finish.

    It is also important to remember that just because the cadence says finished does not mean that that is it - Mozart was a trickster with this sort of thing, setting up the big finish only to use a trick to take you away at the last moment - his 3rd Flute concerto is an example where you can hear the big "this-is-the-end-the-end-the-end" sequence of V-I chords only for him to then proceed with an "Oh-no-it's-not-oh-no-it's-not" sequence of ii-V and IV-V chords taking us away from the just announced and arrived at big finish.......

    There are varying degrees of finality in a perfect cadence (V-I) and these come from the melodic tone at the end of the phrase as much as the voicing of the chord itself.

    For example V-I/3 is a perfect cadence coming to rest with the 3rd in the bass; it is a vague pausing point because of the restless action of the 3rd on the bass.

    V-I/5 is a perfect cadence that is quite definitely a pause point only - the essence is more akin to I-IV/1 and might be construed as part of a modulation sequence to the dominant
    Last edited by bandcoach; 01-11-2013 at 05:39 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandcoach View Post
    the movement 7-1 is part of any perfect cadence that is looking to be felt as a stopping point....

    the movement 2-3 and 5-5 lend a sense of movement away from the cadence; i.e. the cadence is seen as a post for changing horses, not for finishing the ride.

    Using other movement back to 1 may or may not have the desired effect of creating a final finish.

    It is also important to remember that just because the cadence says finished does not mean that that is it - Mozart was a trickster with sort of thing, setting up the big finish only to use a trick to take you away at the last moment - his 3rd Flute concerto is an example where you can hear the big "this-is-the-end-the-end-the-end" sequence of V-I chords only for him to then proceed with an "Oh-no-it's-not-oh-no-it's-not" sequence of ii-V and IV-V chords taking us away from the just announced and arrived at big finish.......

    There are varying degrees of finality in a perfect cadence (V-I) and these come from the melodic tone at the end of the phrase as much as the voicing of the chord itself.

    For example V-I/3 is a perfect cadence coming to rest with the 3rd in the bass; it is a vague pausing point because of the restless action of the 3rd on the bass.

    V-I/5 is a perfect cadence that is quite definitely a pause point only - the essence is more akin to I-IV/1 and might be construed as part of a modulation sequence to the dominant
    Great stuff Bandcoach. You understood perfectly what I was asking. I can look at these things on a deeper level now. You really opened my eyes on this topic. I appreciate your time and effort in helping me out. Thanks again.
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    I forgot to add that you can only use 7->anything-other-than-1 if you move to another note of chord V, otherwise in traditional harmony voice leading you must move to 1.

    So you might move 7-5-5, where the first two notes are over chord V or 7-2-3, where the first two notes are again over chord V
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