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date: 25 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article treats cadences as stopping conventions in music that were first developed in medieval counterpoint, setting into music scholastic ideas about motion. These conventions continued to be influential well beyond that period and are the reason for making distinctions between perfect and imperfect consonances. Cadences can conclude entire works, movements, sections, phrases, and even smaller units. The mainstay of higher formal analysis, the authentic cadence is unambiguously modeled in a five-part texture, and its constituent parts can be rearranged through invertible counterpoint to derive various provisional endings, perfect and imperfect, as well as inverted arrangements that this article labels “clausulas.” Cadential counterpoint can be transformed by rhetorical schemes of continuation, emphasis, and arrangement. From various combinations of these derive the so-called half cadence (an authentic cadence stopped on its penult). The plagal cadence is cast as the contrapuntal dual of the authentic. Analytic demonstrations of these claims feature the music of Bach and Telemann, supported by excerpts by Ockeghem, Tallis, Gabrieli, Corelli, Mozart, Mahler, Schmitt, and Hindemith.

Keywords: authentic, plagal, counterpoint, clausula, invertible counterpoint, dualist, rhetoric

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