Inverted Cadences

Standard cadences use root position chords, but sometimes cadences with first inversion chords can be used. These are known as inverted cadences.

Inverted cadences are unlikely to appear at the very end of a piece. They feel less stable than root position cadences and so are used where the composer wants to convey a feeling of movement (ending on a first inversion) or a softer cadence (approaching the final chord with a first inversion), or a combination of both of these.

Here are some examples:

inverted cadences

Phrygian Cadence

A Phrygian cadence is a type of inverted imperfect cadence which uses the specific chords ivb-V (it is normally found in minor keys). The bass line moves downwards by step.

Phrygian cadences were particularly fashionable in the Baroque era. This Phrygian cadence appears in Bach’s Chorale no.3 (the key is E minor).

Phrygian cadence

Phrygian cadences can also sometimes be found at the end of a movement in a larger work, for example in a Baroque Suite.