[Smt-talk] Half cadences

kos at panix.com kos at panix.com
Tue Dec 4 09:57:48 PST 2012

On Tue, 4 Dec 2012, Caleb Mutch <cmm2209 at columbia.edu> wrote:

> Thanks, David, for the reference to Keller's treatise.  It's quite a bit 
> earlier than I would have guessed!  May I broaden the inquiry and ask about 
> the earliest use of the cognate term "Halbschluss/halbe Cadenz"?  The oldest 
> treatise I've found to use that term is Kirnberger's /Kunst/ (1776), vol. 1, 
> p. 96, but it seems to me that there's likely an earlier usage than that.

Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (2nd edition - article written by Michael 
Polth) agrees with you:  that Kirnberger seems to be the earliest mention of 

I took a hasty look at the Handworterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie, but 
20 pages (2 columns each page) in small print was kind of daunting.  I did find 
it enlightening to be reminded that classification of cadences is a 
recurring theme throughout the history of music theory.  I'd think that 
someone with a good command of Latin (and a pair of good strong eyes) could 
go through that article and find theorists describing semi-/half-cadences prior 
to Kirnberger in 1776.

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:  http://www.nypl.org/blog/author/44   Twitter: @kos2
   Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-TALK ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
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