Wikis > Glossary > Cadence

A cadence refers to the musical resolution of tension by shifting from a leading tone or dissonant chord to a resolved chord. The cadence typically occurs as a phrase finishes, with the penultimate chord resolving to the ultimate one.

If a chord-change does not completely resolve all tension but instead lessens it, then the cadence is said to be a half cadence.

The placement of the cadence is a very crucial aspect in the determination of which metrical style a piece embodies. If the cadence tends to be placed on the downbeat, the work is most likely in Italian barring. If, however, the cadence instead falls on the third beat (in a piece subdivided into 4/4), the work may be in the style of German barring (Rothstein 2008).