What is a cadence?

A cadence is a series of notes and/or chords which indicate the end of a phrase or section in a piece of music. There are many different kinds of phrases but the most common are perfect, imperfect and playgal cadences. A cadence often go to chord I - the root. A perfect cadence, for example, goes from Chord V to Chord I. A playgal cadence is Chord IV to Chord I. An imperfect cadence, as the name suggests, doesn't follow the rule and is any chord (often VI) to Chord V. This cadence doesn't have the same finished sound as the other cadences and can be tricky to hear. 

Shannon G. A Level Music tutor, GCSE Music tutor, GCSE German tutor

8 months ago

Answered by Shannon, a GCSE Music tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


£20 /hr

Nermeen H.

Degree: History (Bachelors) - Oxford, Balliol College University

Subjects offered: Music, History+ 4 more

-Oxbridge Preparation-

“About me Hi, I’m Nermeen – I am a History student at Oxford University. I love all things ‘history’ in all its gory glory!Passion is key to success and I hope to instil my passion for history, as well as learning more generally, in y...”

£18 /hr

Ruby T.

Degree: Music (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: Music, French+ 2 more

-Personal Statements-

“Hi! My name's Ruby, and I'm reading Music at Durham University. I'm a piano teacher and organist, with a big love for early music and analysis . I'm also a confident french speaker with full marks at AS. I'm super familiar with the Ede...”

MyTutor guarantee

£18 /hr

Joe R.

Degree: Biochemistry (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: Music, Biology+ 1 more

-Personal Statements-

“About Me: I'm currently studying Biochemistry at the University of Exeter. Along with my studies I also enjoy music - especially singing, being a choral scholar at the University Chapel Choir. Music is a large part of my life, especia...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

£20 /hr

Shannon G.

Degree: Music (Bachelors) - Manchester University

Subjects offered: Music, German


“About meI am a second year Music student at the University of Manchester. My principal instrument is Trumpet, but my degree involvestheory, composition and history of music, in addition to practical performance. I love talking about ...”

You may also like...

Other GCSE Music questions

Describe how dynamics are used effectively in 20th century music.

How does sonata form work?

How can I improve on my listening skills?

What is sonata form?

View GCSE Music tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss