Degrees and V’s and I’s – Oh My!

Hello friends!

Cadences: can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. That’s what we invested most of our time in this week. We learned about perfect/imperfect authentic cadences (V-I or the rare vii°⁶-I in imperfect), half cadences (end on V), Phrygian cadences (iv⁶-V in minor), plagal cadences (IV-I or the rare ii⁶-I), and deceptive cadences (start on V and resolve to a chord besides I). One of our assignments this week was to make a “poster child” poster of one of the cadences, one cadence assigned per classmate. These posters were collected and are to be photocopied into smaller packets for us to keep as reference! This is a cool way to both take/have notes and ensure we work together as a class.

I have noticed in our working with cadences that one of my biggest troubles is keeping separate ii, iv, and vii°. Imperfect authentic cadences are sometimes vii°-I; Phrygian cadences are iv⁶-V (in minor); and plagal cadences are sometimes ii⁶-I. These three chords, with all their lowercase v’s, i’s, degree symbols, and superscripts, get really contorted in my head and intermixed among the types of cadences.

We have still hardly mentioned the entire second half of our textbook’s chapter 5: nonharmonic tones. My goals for next week are to solidify the three chords described above to their specific cadences and to understand the basic meanings of the different types of nonharmonic tones.

That’s it for now; stay tuned!


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