A cadence is an eight-count marching or running song, used in military type training. The formation leader calls out the song (starting on the left foot) and the unit keeps pace. Each line should also finish on the left, the right foot comes down during the pause. The "left" foot words/syllables are often slightly emphasized. Thus we have
LEFT-right-LEFT-right-LEFT-right-LEFT (and so on).

Cadences help set the pace, enforce proper breathing, and build unit morale. For a sample, see airborne.

It might be tricky to call out during some of the activities listed above.
In music, a chord progression signifying the end of a passage, movement, or idea (including the end of an entire song/piece). A popular cadence is the amen cadence, usually played at the end of hymns. It is written IV-I, or a four-chord resolving to the tonic.

Types of Cadences:
    Authentic Cadence: (V-I) or (V-i)
    The authentic cadence has two versions: Perfect and Imperfect. A perfect authentic cadence is an authentic cadence in root position (tonic in the bass of both chords). An imperfect authentic cadence is an authentic cadence not in root position (I.E.: inversions of one or both chords)

    Plagal Cadence: IV-I or iv-i
    The plagal cadence is also known as the "amen" cadence. It is often played at the end of hmyns.
    The variations (IV-I or iv-i) depend upon the key being major or minor

    Half Cadence: does not resolve
    The Half Cadence is called that because it offers no completion. It cannot end a passage, but usually acts as a pause in the music. Commonly a I6/4-V progression.

    Deceptive Cadence: V-vi
    The Deceptive Cadence is just that: deceptive. The transfer to a vi chord sounds like it is resolving to a tonic, but it really isn't. This is effective for fluent key-changes.
In Bicycle terms:
The rate (RPM or revolutions per minute) at which your legs turn the pedals on your crankarms. The rate at which your turn is merely determined by your cycling style (or vice versa) as well as your physical conditioning.

10 to 40 RPM - You are too slow. Either speed up or shift down. (How can you move?)

40 to 70 RPM - You're either climbing a large mountain or you love big gears on flats.

70 to 90 RPM - This is the ideal (everyday cyclist) cadence to ride by whether on flats or up hills.

90 to 120 RPM - Either you don't know how to ride a bike or you're in great shape when you're pushing this cadence on a 53T x 11T.

120 RPM + - You are probably riding a fixed-gear bicycle and a Curt Harnett wannabe.

To add to Ryouga's informative w/u, there's one I think should be added:

  • Perfect Authentic Cadence: (IV-V7-I) - This is the end cadence that most students are forced to use while learning the ins and outs of four-part writing and voice-leading. Its boring, its been done, but its harmonically sound.

  • Imperfect Authentic Cadence: Any authentic candence that is not a PAC.

  • Phrygian Half: (iv6-V in minor)
Whenever we go on a PT run with a larger than platoon sized unit, and often even just with the platoon, someone usually calls cadence.

The Marine calling cadence will run to the left of the formation. Cadences are call and response, and while most cadences' responses are merely repetitions of whatever is called, a few of the more interesting ones have responses that are different.

I've heard different things about why we call cadence. For one thing, it synchronizes everyone's strides. It also regulates your breathing to a degree, and deepens each of your breaths. And, depending on the person calling cadence, it can be pretty motivating as well. But the thing I like most about it is just that it gets my mind off the actual running, especially if I've never heard the cadence before.

Most cadences involve killing babies or cuddly animals, or how tough Marines are, or how much contempt we (not necessariliy I) feel toward the other services and toward non-infantrymen. "Beer and pussy" are also common subjects.

A cadence caller will usually start his cadences and bridge his cadences together with some variation of:
Left, left, left, right, layeft!
Left, right, left, right, left, right, KILL!
This is to get everyone in step and to get some kind of a rhythm going. Rhythm is pretty important. Those who have none should never, ever call cadence.

Most Marines tend to scream at the top of their lungs when they call cadence, but I usually use my singing voice, and I get a lot of comments to the effect of "aw, how sweet" because of it, but I just can't scream that loud or that long.

Here are a few examples:

Up from the sub sixty feet below
Hit the surface and I'm ready to go
Sidestroke, backstroke, swimmin' to the shore
Hit the beaches and I'm ready for war

Now I'm runnin' through the jungle with my M16
I'm a mean motherfucker, I'm a US Marine
Sight picture, sight alignment, right between the eyes
Now, motherfucker, who you gonna terrorize?

If I die in a combat zone
Box me up and ship me home
Pin my medals upon my chest
Tell my ma I done my best

Don't let your dingle dangle dangle in the dirt
Pick up your dingle dangle, put it in your shirt
Don't let your dingle dangle dangle in the sand
Pick up your dingle dangle hold it in your hand
Don't let your dingle dangle dangle in the mud
Pick up your dingle dangle, hand it to your bud
Don't let your dingle dangle dangle in the snow
Pick up your dingle dangle, tie it in a bow
Don't let your dingle dangle dangle while you strut
Bend her over and put it in her butt
Don't let your dingle dangle dangle too low
Pick up your dingle dangle, and let's go

I was born in the woods
Raised by a bear
I got a double set of jaw teeth
And a triple coat of hair
I got two brass balls
And cast-iron rod
I'm a mean devil dog
A Marine, by God

And here's one where the response isn't just repetition of the cadence:

Back in 1775
Marine Corps!
My Marine Corps came alive
Marine Corps!
First there came the color blue
Marine Corps!
To show the world that we were true
Marine Corps!
Then there came the color red
Marine Corps!
To show the world the blood we shed
Marine Corps!
Finally there came the color green
Marine Corps!
To show the world that we are mean
Marine Corps!

I haven't had the balls - I get enough flak for singing, instead of screaming, as I mentioned earlier - but I've been very tempted to give the following cadence:

Had we but world enough, and time
This coyness, lady, were no crime
We would sit down, and think which way
To RUN and pass our long love's day...

A cadence is a harmonic progression that comes at the end of a phrase. A cadence is often marked by metric accent on its final chord (that is to say the final chord of the cadence often falls on the downbeat of the next measure). As well, harmonic rhythm typically accelerates before a cadence. It comes in a few varieties:

Perfect Authentic Cadence: A perfect authentic cadence goes from V (or V7) to I with the soprano (or otherwise highest) voice sounding the tonic of the I chord. In a perfect authentic cadence, both chords are in root position. The perfect authentic cadence usually comes at the end of a piece and is often preceded by the cadential V6/4 chord which often resolves to a V7 and then goes to I. This cadence is analogous to a period and usually appears at the end of an antecedent phrase.

Imperfect Authentic Cadence: An imperfect authentic cadence is the same as a perfect authentic cadence except that the highest voice sounds the third or the fifth of the final I chord. Again both chords are in root position and often the V chord is preceded by a 6/4-5/3 linear motion. This cadence is analogous to a comma or a semicolon.

Half Cadence: A half cadence is any phrase ending on V. It is usually metrically accented and the V chord usually sounds for a longer duration than the chords leading up to it to preserve a cadential feel. In minor, a phrygian half cadence is common and is marked by the motion of a IV6 (first inversion) chord descending by step in bass to a root position V. The half cadence, like the imperfect authentic cadence can be analogized to a comma or semicolon and usually appears at the end of an antecedent phrase. It is important to note that a half cadence never ends on V7 since the chord contains the dissonant tritone and is therefore unstable.

Plagal Cadence: While a plagal cadence is not a real cadence it is worth noting. A plagal cadence consists of the motion of root position IV to root position I in the same fashion as any other cadence. Typically, a plagal cadence is used to expand tonic harmony (i.e. extend the duration of a tonic chord and the stability that it represents) or at the end of a composition, directly following a perfect authentic cadence to create an even more cadential effect. The classic example is the "amen" at the end of a prayer which goes IV-"a", I-"men".

Ca"dence (?), n. [OE. cadence, cadens, LL. cadentia a falling, fr. L. cadere to fall; cf. F. cadence, It. cadenza. See Chance.]


The act or state of declining or sinking.


Now was the sun in western cadence low. Milton.


A fall of the voice in reading or speaking, especially at the end of a sentence.


A rhythmical modulation of the voice or of any sound; as, music of bells in cadence sweet.

Blustering winds, which all night long Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull Seafaring men o'erwatched. Milton.

The accents . . . were in passion's tenderest cadence. Sir W. Scott.


Rhythmical flow of language, in prose or verse.

Golden cadence of poesy. Shak.

If in any composition much attention was paid to the flow of the rhythm, it was said (at least in the 14th and 15th centuries) to be "prosed in faire cadence." Dr. Guest.

5. Her.

See Cadency.

6. Man.

Harmony and proportion in motions, as of a well-managed horse.

7. Mil.

A uniform time and place in marching.

8. Mus. (a)

The close or fall of a strain; the point of rest, commonly reached by the immediate succession of the tonic to the dominant chord.


A cadenza, or closing embellishment; a pause before the end of a strain, which the performer may fill with a flight of fancy.

Imperfect cadence. Mus. See under Imperfect.


© Webster 1913.

Ca"dence, v. t.

To regulate by musical measure.

These parting numbers, cadenced by my grief. Philips.


© Webster 1913.

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