Andalusian Cadence Songs

Danielle Fletcher
• Wednesday, 18 November, 2020
• 7 min read

In the third degree of the final chord (III or V, depending on key signature), the subsonic is sharpened by a semitone into a leading note in order to lead back into the minor chord that begins the sequence. A popular melodic pattern of Ancient Greece offers a possible starting point for the Andalusian cadence.

chords andalusian cadence
(Source: www.youtube.com)


Called the Dorian tetra chord, the sequence resembles the bass line of the chord progression developed centuries later. A sequence more or less close to the Greek tetra chord structure might have been known to the Moors in Southern Spain and spread from there through Western Europe.

The Andalusian cadence known today, using triads, may not have occurred earlier than the Renaissance, though the use of parallel thirds or sixths was evident as early as the 13th century. One of the earliest uses of this chord sequence is seen in Claudio Monteverdi's choral work, Lament Della Nina.

A minor seventh would be added to the dominant “V” chord to increase tension before resolution (V 7 -i). If the semitone falls between the highest two steps, the melody tends to be ascending (e.g. major scales); a semitone between the lowest tones in the tetra chord involves a melody “inclined” to descend.

This said, the Phrygia tetra chord, borrowed from traditional music of Eastern Europe and Anatolia, is to be found also in the Andalusian cadence and sets the mentioned character (the semitone falls between V and AVI). Andalusian cadence in E Phrygia Play (help · info). A rigorous analysis should note that many chord progressions are likely to date back from an epoch prior to early Baroque (usually associated with birth of tonality).

In such cases (also, that of the Andalusian cadence), explanations offered by tonality “neglect” the history and evolution of the chord progression in question. This is because harmonic analyses in tonal style use only two scales (major and minor) when explaining origins of chord moves.

cadence andalusian
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Thus, the “iv” corresponds to a subdominant chord, while “iii” is the median and “I” is the tonic. (The only purpose for highlighting these “functions” is to compare between the modal and tonal views of the cadence.

When the VI chord, which may be added between III and Wii (iv-III-VI-II-I) and cadenced upon, is the most characteristic contrasting tonal area, similar by analogy to the relative major of a minor key. The tonal system sets three main functions for the diatonic certain chords: tonic (T), dominant (D) and subdominant (SD).

Dominant chord substituted A most unusual way of altering the cadence can be heard in Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb (1979), where the “V” chord is skipped for an “iv”. The resulting progression is on the edge between tonal and modal, where the subsonic doesn't change back into a leading-tone, but the obtained cadence is suitable for tonality (called legal or backdoor).

A most unusual way of altering the cadence can be heard in Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb (1979) , where the “V” chord is skipped for an “iv”. The resulting progression is on the edge between tonal and modal, where the subsonic doesn't change back into a leading-tone, but the obtained cadence is suitable for tonality (called legal or backdoor ).

Other recent uses of the cadence are apparent in flamenco inspired rock songs such as “Ya no me some DE la Reba”, 'La Que five en la Carrera”, and the baseline of “Negros leis intentions”. Tonal Harmony, “Cyprian Porumbescu” Conservatory Publishing House, Bucharest ^ a b Kelly, Casey and Hodge, David (2011).

flamenco cadence andalusian guitar progression chords chord blues bar theory music scale guitarist should know
(Source: guitarendeavor.com)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Art of Songwriting, . Applicator Harmony in Jazz, Pop & Rock Improvisation, Anemia Publishing House, Bucharest.

Vienna: Tutti LE Opera di Claudio Monteverdi. “The Platonic Agenda of Monteverdi's Second Practice: A Case Study from the Eighth Book of Madrigals”.

This progression can be traced back to the Renaissance period, and the beauty of the exotic sound created by this chord sequence it one of the most popular progressions in classical music and popular music. Before we examine this Andalusian cadence further we need to discuss a few terms to make the explanation easier to understand.

Notes can be arranged in a specific sequence called a scale. Different sequences create different types (or qualities) of scales.

The C major scale is the usual starting point of any music theory discussion because this scale sequence does not use any accidentals (sharps or flats). Directly to the left of the group of two black keys is the C note.

(Source: www.youtube.com)

But, in order to determine when we are speaking about the chord and not the note we need to use Roman numerals. The Andalusian cadence is referred to as the vi–V–IV–III progression because it naturally occurs in the vi, V, and IV chords of a major scale.

Author’s note: A formal discussion regarding the aspects of music theory is beyond the scope of this article; however, certain terms are mentioned and explained for the purpose of this article. This will create a chord progression that is diatonic (means that it belongs to the key or naturally occurs in that key) to the A natural minor scale except the E chord.

Identify the song structure: intro, verse, chorus, etc. They played cover versions of songs that they liked at the very beginning of their career.

The Andalusian cadence is a musical term denoting a chain of four chords that appear sequentially through each step of major and minor scales in descending order. That is why the descending chord chain got its name after the Andalusia region, although similar credential progression had been widespread in European classical music at least since the Renaissance.

The Andalusian progression is most often applied in the natural minor scale when chords move down from the tonic to the major dominant i–VII–VI–V. One of the first known examples of the Andalusian sequence in vocal music is Lament ode la Nina, a madrigal based on Am–G–F–E chain, which was written by Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi in 1638.

guitar flamenco chords chord cadence andalusian chart learn want tips play
(Source: tuneboxtv.com)

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