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Piano Power: Plagal Cadences in Minor Keys
By Richard Prokop, Greenacres Press, Inc.
(more articles from this author)
2002-10-06
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Note: The following is an interactive article requiring the use of Finale 2002 or Finale Notepad. Finale Notepad may be downloaded for free from CodaMusic at: www.codamusic.com/coda/np.asp. For further instructions about downloading and viewing files in this article, see: Reprinted Cadences and a Free Finale Notepad Download .

In a previous article, The Plagal or IV-I Cadence, you learned that the I and IV functions in a major key are major triads. (See also Example 1.) However, when playing in a minor key, things are quite different. Remember, that a natural minor scale is derived from a major scale by flatting the 3rd, 6th and 7th notes of the major scale. (See Diatonic Scales Part 3) As a result, the I and IV functions in a minor key sound as minor triads. (See Example 2.)

As an assignment,

* Listen to the following plagal cadences.

* Print out the file and practice playing them in all keys until it is easy to do.

* Rewrite all of the cadences on a sheet of manuscript paper. As with languages, the writing of music will enhance your ability to read it more easily.

* Read pp.49-51 of my book Piano Power for valuable information on the bio-mechanics of playing chords.


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