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 subdominant entry 2 sense a) resolves to a dominant (see dominant entry 2 sense 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

Word History

First Known Use

1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Phrygian cadence was in 1854

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Dictionary Entries Near Phrygian cadence

Cite this Entry

“Phrygian cadence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

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