last updated February 5th, 2008 and is permanently morphing...
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1.Balanced, rhythmic flow, as of poetry or oratory.
2.The measure or beat of movement, as in dancing or marching.
3.a. A falling inflection of the voice, as at the end of a sentence. b. General inflection or modulation of the voice.
4.Music. A progression of chords moving to a harmonic close or point of rest.
[Middle English, from Old
French *cadence, from Old Italian cadenza, from Vulgar Latin *cadentia,
a falling, from Latin cadêns, cadent-, present participle of cadere,
- ca´denced adjective
Cadence, musical formula that conveys a feeling of repose at the end of a phrase or a composition. Such formulas not only sound complete in a purely musical sense but also, because of their familiarity, lead the listener to expect a temporary or permanent stopping point. In Western music from the beginnings of polyphony (multipart music), certain chord sequences became standard at cadences. These sequences slowly became modified as musical styles changed. The diversity of cadences allows composers to create different degrees of repose, from slight pauses at the end of a phrase to complete cessation of motion at the end of a piece.
sound: quality of sound, tone, pitch, level, cadence
melody: resolution (of a discord), cadence, perfect cadence
prosody: cadence, rhythm, sprung rhythm
Speeches and Speechmaking
A speech is poetry: cadence,
rhythm, imagery, sweep! A speech reminds us that words, like children,
have the power to make dance the dullest beanbag of a heart.
Peggy Noonan (b. 1950), U.S. author, presidential speechwriter. What I Saw at the Revolution, ch. 5 (1990).