Definition of Phrygian cadence
: a musical cadence in which the root of the final chord is approached from a semitone above; especially : the cadence in which the first inversion of a minor subdominant (see 2subdominant a) resolves to a dominant (see 2dominant 2b) Mozart leads into it with a Phrygian cadence on E, the traditional setting for a question (here, “Which of the gods will give me aid?”). — Daniel Heartz, Haydn, Mozart and the Viennese School, 1995 — see cadence illustration
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First Known Use of phrygian cadence
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