Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Ricci

Second Advisor

Dr. Joan Boucher

Third Advisor

Ramon Zupko

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of this paper is to devise a codification of twentieth-century cadential techniques used by some of the major representative composers. It is because Debussy had such a profound impact upon twentieth-century music -·because of his innovations and influences upon this century's composition - that he is included in this paper. His music will serve as the beginning step away from traditional cadence procedures. Twentieth century compositions which are non-tonal and basically tonal will be studied for their non-traditional cadential procedures. Traditional procedures refer to those classical clichés which one expects to hear at cadence points, such as: IV-V-I; V-VI; IV-I; and V-1. Most, if not all of these harmonic progressions will be found in the compositions studied, but the cadence progressions will contain at least one unorthodox element, giving the cadence a distinctive twentieth-century flavor. Final cadences and also the strongest cadences within the works will receive primary attention. In this paper, at least one keyboard work plus an ensemble work will be analyzed for each composer (excluding a keyboard piece by Stravinsky, since there are few) in order to compare cadential techniques in various media. Charts of cadential devices and summaries of compositional techniques are provided within the chapters to give a condensed overview of techniques employed by each composer. Of the seven composers, Debussy, Ives, Schoenberg, Poulenc, Bartok, Stravinsky, and Hindemith, Schoenberg provides the most contrasting procedures used, although all share many common cadential practices. The comprehensive chart at the end of the paper lists the cadential procedures and the number of times used by each composer and allows the reader to compare cadential findings. It should be pointed out that an element of subjectivity exists in an analytic study as this. As explained in the section on Ives, the specific interpretation and performance of a work can affect and effect cadential feeling. It is interesting to note that cadential features are similar among the differing styles of composition.

Included in

Music Therapy Commons