noun ca·dence \ˈkā-dən(t)s\

: a regular beat or rhythm

: the way a person's voice changes by gently rising and falling while he or she is speaking

: an ending part of a piece of music

Full Definition of CADENCE

a :  a rhythmic sequence or flow of sounds in language
b :  the beat, time, or measure of rhythmical motion or activity
a :  a falling inflection of the voice
b :  a concluding and usually falling strain; specifically :  a musical chord sequence moving to a harmonic close or point of rest and giving the sense of harmonic completion
:  the modulated and rhythmic recurrence of a sound especially in nature
ca·denced \-dən(t)st\ adjective
ca·den·tial \kā-ˈden(t)-shəl\ adjective

Examples of CADENCE

  1. the steady cadence of the drums
  2. Oars moved back and forth in smooth cadence.
  3. He speaks with a soft Southern cadence.

Origin of CADENCE

Middle English, from Old Italian cadenza, from cadere to fall, from Latin — more at chance
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, madrigal, obbligato, presto, presto, refrain, riff, segue
CADENCE Defined for Kids


noun ca·dence \ˈkā-dəns\

Definition of CADENCE for Kids

:  a regular beat or rhythm <We heard the steady cadence of the drums.>
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