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The Double-period
Distinction Between Bipartite And Tripartite Forms
Lesson 4
The Sonatine Form
The Exposition
The Recapitulation
T The Second Rondo Form
The Third Rondo Form
The Necessity Of Form In Music

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The Exposition
The Recapitulation
2 Abbreviation Of The Regular Form
4 Mixture Of Characteristic Traits
The Trio Or Subordinate Song
Relation To The Three-part Song-form
Modification Or Disguising Of The Cadence

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The Development Or Middle Division
The Period
The First Rondo-form
Lesson 2
The Phrase
Part I
Cadences In General
The Rondo-forms
Lesson 14
Lesson 11

Modification Or Disguising Of The Cadence

The most natural and
characteristic indication of a cadence is the longer tone, seen in
the examples to which reference has just been made; for a tone of
greater length than its fellows is, in itself, the most conclusive
evidence of a point of repose, as compared with the shorter tones in
the course of the sentence, whose more prompt succession indicates the
action of the phrase. (See Ex. 29.)

From this the student is not to conclude that every long tone marks a
cadence. The rhythmic design of a melody is obtained by a constant
interchange of long and short tones, without direct reference to the
cadence alone; and numerous examples will be found in which tones of
equal, or even greater, length than the cadence-tone occur in the
course of the phrase. We have already seen that the end of a motive,
or even of a figure, may be marked by a longer tone, or its equivalent
in rests; and have been taught to expect a cadence in the fourth
measure only, as a rule.

But the direct evidence of a cadence afforded by a longer tone is
considered not only unnecessary, but in many cases distinctly
undesirable. While cadences are indispensable, in music of clearly
recognizable form, it is equally true that they must not be so emphatic
as to check the current of melody and harmony too frequently or
completely, or destroy the continuity and coherence of the members.
And it is therefore an almost invariable practice, especially in music
of a higher order, to modify and disguise the cadences by some means or
other; that is, to diminish the weight of the characteristic longer
tone,--to counteract, partially or entirely, the impression of actual
cadential cessation, by continuing (instead of interrupting) the
rhythmic pulse. This is so very common, and so confusing a device,
that the effect of the various methods employed to conceal or disguise
a cadence must be thoroughly understood.

It is necessary to remember, always, the rule that governs the actual
body of the phrase, and its possible preliminary tones; namely, that
the vital, essential starting-point of a phrase (and other factors of
musical form) is the first primary accent, the first beat of the
first full measure. The length of the phrase is reckoned from this
point, and consequently, the cadence-chord is entitled to all the beats
that remain, from its accent to the very end of the final measure. For

In this case the cadence-chord is not modified or disguised in the
least, but takes full advantage of the six beats that make the sum of
the fourth measure.

This important fact concerning the actual value of the cadence-chord
remains unchanged, through all the licenses taken in disguising or
(apparently) diminishing its value. Whatever means may be resorted to,
in modifying the cadence, they do not alter the fact that the
cadence-chord is always entitled to this full sum of beats; and these
beats virtually represent the cadence-chord, either in its unchanged
form (as in Ex. 19 and Ex. 16) or in any of the manifold disguised
forms illustrated in the following examples.

One of the simplest forms is shown in Ex. 15:--The cadence-chord, on
the accented beat of the fourth measure, is entitled to the six beats
contained in that final measure. One beat is borrowed for the
preliminary tone of the next phrase (that does not appear in our
example, but corresponds to the preliminary tone at the beginning); and
three beats are represented by rests, which cancel the resonance of the
melody-tone g, but do not actually negate the effect of the
cadence-chord. In consequence of these two reductions, the time-value
of the cadence-tone is diminished to two beats, and the whole cadence
assumes a lighter, less obstinate and stagnant character. Of the six
beats belonging to the cadence-chord, four are occupied by the tones of
the accompaniment, which thus serves to bridge over the measure of
repose without destroying the impression of a cadence.

The treatment of the cadence is similar to this in Ex. 18.

In Ex. 17, No. 1, the cadence-chord falls, properly, upon the primary
accent (first beat) of the final measure--in this instance the fifth
measure, as we have learned. The six beats to which it is entitled are
all occupied by the simple reiteration of the final melody tone, while
the sense of interruption is imparted by the long rest in the lower

It is by thus sustaining the rhythmic pulse, during the measure
allotted to the cadence-chord, that the desired dual impression,--that
of cadential interruption without actual cessation,--is secured. It is
like rounding off a corner that might otherwise be too angular or

* * * * * *

The question naturally arises: What tones are chosen to provide
material for this continuation of the rhythm? They are usually derived
from the cadence-chord, or its auxiliary embellishments; and the
methods employed may be classified as follows:

(1) The rhythmic pulse is marked in the accompanying (subordinate)
parts, as seen in Ex. 15, Ex. 18, and the following:--

The point of repose is marked by the longer melody tone f, on the
accent of the fourth measure. The value of the cadence-chord is
recorded, however, in the living tones of the accompanying figure,
which here (as in almost every similar case in composition) continues
its rhythmic movement undisturbed.

(2) The cadence-chord, or, more properly, the cadence-tone in the
melody, is shifted to some later beat in the cadence measure. Thus:

In this example there is in reality no irregularity, because the
cadence-tone rests upon an accented beat (the fourth, in 6-8
measure), and the conditions of a cadence are fulfilled by any
accent, primary or secondary, of the final measure. But it belongs,
nevertheless, to this class of disguised cadences; for whatever
results, thus, in abbreviating the value of the cadence-chord, lightens
the effect of the cadence, and serves the desirable purpose so
persistently pursued by all good writers. Further:--

Nos. 2 and 3 illustrate the method most commonly adopted in shifting
the cadence-tone forward to a later beat; namely, by placing an
embellishing tone (usually the upper or lower neighbor) of the
cadence-tone upon the accented beat belonging properly to the latter.
Nos. 4 and 5 are both extreme cases; the actual cadence-tone is shifted
to the very end of the measure, so that the effect of cadential
interruption is very vague and transient,--and will be quite lost
unless the player is intelligent enough to emphasize, slightly, the
phrasing (by making a distinct, though very brief, pause before
attacking the following measure). See also Ex. 17, No. 2, the first
phrase; here, again, the melody runs on (through tones which embellish
the cadence-chord, f-a-c) to the last 8th-note of the fourth measure.

(3) A certain--entirely optional--number of tones are borrowed from the
value of the cadence-chord, as preliminary tones of the following
phrase. An illustration of this has already been seen in Ex. 14, No. 2
and No. 3. It is the employment of such preliminary tones, that, as
thoroughly explained in Chapter III, creates a distinction between the
melodic beginning and the actual vital starting point of the phrase;
or that gives the phrase an apparently shifted location in its measures.

Further (the actual cadence-tone is marked):--

No. 1 illustrates, again, the absence of preliminary tones in one
phrase, and their presence in the next. In each of these examples
(excepting, perhaps, No. 2) the cadence is so thoroughly disguised that
there is little, if any, evidence left of the point of repose. In
No. 4, particularly, the cadence-measure is rhythmically the most
active one in the phrase. And yet the presence of a genuine cadence at
each of these places, marked *, is as certain and indisputable as in
Ex. 19. The ear will accept a cadence upon the slightest evidence in
the right place,--where a cadence is expected. See, also, Mozart
pianoforte sonata No. 10 (in D major), first 12 measures; measure 8 is
a cadence-measure.

Here follow a few more examples which illustrate the most extreme
application of this principle of borrowed tones,--a mode of treatment
very common in the music of Mozart, Haydn, and, in fact, all classic

It is difficult to believe that in each of these cases the long array
of 16th-notes should not constitute the actual beginning of the phrase,
but are only preliminary; and yet this is the only correct view to take
of it, and it is the view which will simplify all analysis, when
thoroughly comprehended. It must be seen that the cluster of
16th-notes in the cadence-measure (of the preceding phrase) is
one-sixteenth short of a full measure, and, therefore, it does not
represent the first measure of the next phrase, because our inviolable
rule is that the first measure of a phrase is its first full measure.
The above examples emphasize the correct manner of counting the
measures; and they simply illustrate possible methods of disguising
the cadence.

In some cases it is difficult to determine whether the tones which thus
disturb the repose of the cadence-measure belong to the cadence-chord
(that is, to the present phrase), or, as preliminary tones, to the
following phrase. Upon careful scrutiny, however, it will be found
possible to decide, by examining their melodic bearing, to which phrase
they pertain. In Example 22, they are manifestly (even in No. 5) a
part of the present phrase; in Example 23 and 24 they are as certainly
preliminary to the phrase which follows. In the following example they
seem to constitute an entirely independent little interlude, without
direct reference to either phrase:

* * * * * *

THE ELISION.--Finally, there are some (very rare) instances where the
composer appears to yield to the seductive influence of such extensive
preliminary groups as those seen in Example 24, and by setting aside
the trifling discrepancy, permits the apparent preliminary tones to
represent the actual first measure of the next phrase. This is
easily accomplished, when, as in Example 24, No. 2, it is only one
16th-note short of a full measure. And although this 16th, being the
cadence-chord, is actually equivalent to the whole measure, it is
sometimes less confusing to the hearer to silence it. This is called
stifling the cadence (or Elision); and its presence depends simply upon
sufficient proof that what was supposed to be the cadence-measure (and
to a certain extent is such) is at the same time really the first
measure of the next sentence. The following contains an illustration
of the elision of a cadence:

The proofs of this very singular and apparently untrustworthy analysis
are: (1) That there is absolutely no doubt about the first cadence,
marked *; (2) that a cadence is consequently due, and expected, four
measures later,--this proving the measure in question to be the
cadence-measure of the old phrase, as it is marked and as it appeals
to our sense of cadence; (3) that the last four measures unmistakably
represent a regular, compact phrase,--this proving that the
cadence-measure of the old phrase is unquestionably at the same time
the first measure, or actual beginning, of the new phrase. In a word,
one measure is lost--not in effect, for the elements of the expected
cadence are all present,--but in the counting. This lost measure is
the stifled cadence-measure, omitted by Elision.

Such cases are, as stated, very rare; so rare that the student will do
wisely to leave them quite out of his calculations.

In order to elucidate the embarrassing matter still more fully, we
shall take two more examples of a very misleading character, which the
superficial observer would probably define as elisions, but which are
almost certainly regular cases of disguised cadence merely:

Here again there is no doubt of the presence of a cadence at the first
*; but this cadence-measure appears almost as certainly to be at the
same time the initial measure of a new phrase. This, however, proves
not to be the case, because there are four measures left, without this
one. That is, counting backward from the final cadence, we locate the
first measure after, not with, the cadence-measure. And this is
the way the passage was meant to sound by its author, and the way it
will and must sound to the student who has properly cultivated his
sense of cadence.

This case is extremely misleading; it is hard to believe (and feel)
that the characteristic onset of the 16th-triplet figure does not
herald the new phrase; but all the indications of strict, unswerving
analysis (not to be duped by appearances) point to the fact that this
is one of the common cases of disguised cadence, and not an elision of
the cadence. The sforzando marks of Beethoven confirm this view,
and, as in Example 27, we have our four measures to the next cadence,
without this cadence-measure.

The characteristic traits of all these various phases of cadence
formation are:--

(1) That the actual cadence-tone in the melody may be of any
time-value, from the full extent of the cadence-measure down to the
smallest fraction of that measure. In Ex. 19 it was the former,
unbroken; in Ex. 17, No. 1, also, but broken into the six pulses of the
measure; in Ex. 20 it was shortened, by a rest, to one-half its real
value; in Ex. 26 it was reduced to one-quarter of its true value; in
Ex. 25, to one 8th-note; and in Ex. 24, No. 3, to one 16th-note.

(2) That the cadence-tone in the melody may be shifted forward to
almost any point beyond its expected position upon the primary accent.
In Ex. 20 (and many other of the given illustrations) it stands in its
legitimate place, at the beginning of the measure; in Ex. 21 it stands
upon the second accent of the measure; in Ex. 22, No. 1, on the
second beat in 3-4 measure; in Ex. 22, No. 5, on the third beat of the
triple-measure; in Ex. 22, No. 4, on the last eighth note in the

(3) That in almost every case the effect of absolute cessation is
softened by marking the rhythm of the cadence-measure; in no case is
the rhythm permitted to pause (not even in Ex. 19, where the
accompaniment, not shown, is carried along in unbroken 8th-notes). In
some part or other, by some means or other, the cadence-measure is kept
alive; either by continuing the accompaniment, as in Exs. 18 and 20, or
by quickly picking up a new rhythm, as in Exs. 27 and 28. Conspicuous
exceptions to this rule will be found, it is true, in hymn-tunes and
the like; though occasionally even there, as the student may recall,
the rhythm, in some cadence-measures, is carried along by one or more
of the inner voices; for example, in the hymn-tune Lead, Kindly
Light, of J. B. Dykes. (See also Ex. 29.)

Next: Species Of Cadence

Previous: Cadences In General

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