Deceptive Cadences / Delaying the Tonic
This blog is about a great songwriting tool that can be used to create interest and tension in chord progressions. For the purposes of this blog, we'll focus on adding a chord or chords between the cadence of V to I in multiple progressions. When a cadence doesn't bring you back to the 1 chord, that is called a deceptive cadence or delaying the tonic.
Four common ways to delay the tonic are to instead go to either the vi chord, the IV chord, the iii chord or the ii chord following the V chord ( dominant ). (Additionally, the iii chord is a good substitute for the I chord because 2 out of 3 notes are common to both chords, for ex) if your I chord is C, the chord tones are: C – E – G and if you substitute a iii chord, the Em chord tones are: E – G – B, the only note not common to both is the C and B respectively ) This approach, of substituting the iii chord for the I chord is often done in the following progression: I – vi – ii – V in the key of A for example, ( played here as 4 part harmony chords ) are: A maj7 – F#m7 – Bm7 – E7 – C#m7 – F#m7 – Bm7 – E7. This alternating 4 stanza chord sequence is famously played in Gershwin's classic “I got rhythm.”
Here are some examples: Instead of playing I – IV – V – I, play I – IV – V – vi or I – IV – V – IV ( in the key of C, those deceptive cadences would be: C – F – G – Am or C – F – G – F ).
ii – V – I progressions are one of the most common chord progressions in western music, especially in jazz but really in most genres ( rock, folk, blues etc ) and they are a great context to use deceptive cadences too. Instead of playing ii – V – I, play ii – V – vi or ii – V – IV or you can extend the progression by tacking either the vi or the IV chords onto the end of the ii – V – I progression.
Here are some examples in the key of G:
Typical progression: I – ii – V – I
Deceptive cadence: I – ii – V – iii – IV – V – I
Typical progression: I – I in first inversion – IV – V – I ( G – G/B – C – D – G )
Deceptive cadence: I – I in first inversion – IV – V – ii7 – flat Iimay7 – G ( G – G/B – C – D – Am7 – Aflatmaj7 – G ).