Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Making a plagal cadence sound convincing as an ending, How?

  1. #1
    Senior Member caters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    198
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Making a plagal cadence sound convincing as an ending, How?

    I am nearing the end of composing the first movement of my suite. And I plan to end the movement using a plagal cadence. But I know that a plagal cadence can be hard to make sound convincing. I mean after all, it is a subdominant to tonic motion. And most of the time if anything, the subdominant moves to the dominant for your classic IV V I or a slightly embellished version of the same cadence such as IV V vii°7 I

    I know that part of making a plagal cadence sound convincing is to slow it down. V I could easily be convincing at quarter note speed. Not so easy for IV I to be convincing at that speed. But as you slow it down, IV I becomes more convincing as an ending cadence. Another thing that makes the plagal cadence more convincing is having the upper voice move between scale degrees 5 and 6, implying a second inversion subdominant chord.

    Second inversion is the least stable form for any major or minor triad. And scale degrees 6 and 4 naturally want to move downwards. This leads to a convincing tonic resolution from the subdominant. Repeating the chords in a pattern like this:

    I IV IV I
    as it is in the Messiah Chorus, makes the cadence even more convincing.

    But do I need to do anything else to make the plagal cadence convincing? Would a leaping bass make it more convincing like it does for an authentic cadence?

  2. #2
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,487
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Often a final plagal cadence is preceded by a traditional V-I cadence which does the real work of bringing harmonic motion to a close. In such a case the plagal ending is usually just an ornamental extension or prolongation of the final tonic harmony and there is no need to worry about it being convincing.

    To use plagal motion for the final structural cadence of a common practice work is an uncommon thing to do and it will be difficult to make it sound like a convincing resolution. I would just experiment and see if you can find a solution that works.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  3. Likes flamencosketches liked this post
  4. #3
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    12,582
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Often a final plagal cadence is preceded by a traditional V-I cadence which does the real work of bringing harmonic motion to a close. In such a case the plagal ending is usually just an ornamental extension or prolongation of the final tonic harmony and there is no need to worry about it being convincing.
    Yes, exactly! You must have listened to a lot of Cajun and Zydeco music!
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jul-17-2019 at 12:25.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

  5. Likes EdwardBast liked this post
  6. #4
    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    370
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Often a final plagal cadence is preceded by a traditional V-I cadence which does the real work of bringing harmonic motion to a close. In such a case the plagal ending is usually just an ornamental extension or prolongation of the final tonic harmony and there is no need to worry about it being convincing.

    To use plagal motion for the final structural cadence of a common practice work is an uncommon thing to do and it will be difficult to make it sound like a convincing resolution. I would just experiment and see if you can find a solution that works.

    .........Amen....

  7. Likes EdwardBast, isorhythm, Woodduck liked this post
  8. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    1,156
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Without that leading tone, making a solid, affirmative resolution to the tonic is one of the weaknesses, and beauties, of the plagal cadence. Berlioz sure did it convincingly (end of Symphony Fantastique movement 1). When I've written one, I like a long, unchanging pedal point on the tonic.

  9. #6
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    295
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Dont go to church much?

    doxology.gif

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •