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
Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.
Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:
- 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
- Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
- Advanced search features
- Ad free!
First Known Use of phrygian cadence
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up Phrygian cadence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).