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Grade 8 Aural Perception

Cadences see attached sheet for examples

You need to be able to recognise the following cadences:

Perfect (Ex1)

Basic V I, possible variants: Va, Vb, Vc or V7a Ia, Ib or Ic (unlikely to be Ib or Ic)

Sounds complete like a full stop fulfils expectations.

Tonic: not present in the penultimate chord, present in final chord

Major: last two chords major


Minor: penultimate chord major, final chord minor

Imperfect (Ex2)

Basic ? V, possible variants: Ia, Ib, Ic, IIa, IIb, IVa or VIa Va, Vb, Vc or V7a

Sounds incomplete like a comma the music should feel like it could continue.

Tonic will not be present in the final chord, but could possibly be in the penultimate chord
(in I, IV or VI).

Major or Minor: the final chord will be a major one which will not fit the tonic note

Plagal (Ex3)

Basic IV I, possible variants: VI Ia, Ib or Ic

Sounds like a softer version of a perfect cadence and like a full stop fulfils expectations.

Tonic will be present in the final two chords.

Major: last two chords major


Minor: last two chords minor

Interrupted (Ex4)

Basic V VI, possible variants: Va, Vb, Vc or V7 IV

Sounds like the music has been interrupted, rather than a comma.

Tonic will not be present in the penultimate chord, but will be in the final chord.

Major: penultimate chord major, final chord minor which fits the tonic
Minor: penultimate chord major, final chord major which fits the tonic
Chords see attached sheet for examples

Complementary to the cadences, you need to be able to identify the following chords:

Ia, Ib, Ic, IIa, IIb, IVa, Va, Vb, Vc, V7a, VI

This may seem like a lot, but it all depends on listening to the bass note and being able to
keep the tonic note in your head. Remember after you have identified the cadence you
should be able to narrow down the last two (i.e. a perfect cadence will be some sort of chord
V and then some sort of chord I, so you just need to work out the inversions of those final
two in addition to the preceding chord).

Chord Major Key Minor Key


Ia Tonic fits the chord Tonic fits the chord
Bass note matches tonic note Bass note matches tonic note
Major chord Minor chord
Ib Tonic fits the chord Tonic fits the chord
Bass note two notes higher than tonic Bass note two notes higher than tonic
Major chord Minor chord
Ic Tonic fits the chord Tonic fits the chord
Bass note a fifth higher than tonic Bass note a fifth higher than tonic
Major chord Minor chord
(Likely to lead to Va or V7a) (Likely to lead to Va or V7a)
IIa Tonic does not fit the chord Tonic does not fit the chord
Bass note one note higher than tonic Bass note one note higher than tonic
Minor chord Minor or diminished chord
IIb Tonic does not fit the chord Tonic does not fit the chord
Bass note a fourth higher than tonic Bass note a fourth higher than tonic
Minor chord Minor or diminished chord
(Likely to lead to V7a) (Likely to lead to V7a)
IVa Tonic fits the chord Tonic fits the chord
Bass note a fourth higher than tonic Bass note a fourth higher than tonic
Major chord Minor chord

Va Tonic does not fit the chord Tonic does not fit the chord
Bass note a fifth higher than tonic Bass note a fifth higher than tonic
Major Chord Major Chord
Vb Tonic does not fit the chord Tonic does not fit the chord
Bass note one step lower than tonic Bass one step lower than tonic
Major Chord Major Chord
Vc Tonic does not fit the chord Tonic does not fit the chord
Bass one step higher than tonic Bass one step higher than tonic
Major Chord Major Chord
V 7a Tonic does not fit the chord Tonic does not fit the chord
Bass note a fifth higher than tonic Bass note a fifth higher than tonic
Sounds fuller/richer than Va because Sounds fuller/richer than Va because
of the added seventh of the added seventh
Major Chord Major Chord
IVa Tonic fits the chord Tonic fits the chord
Bass note a third lower than tonic Bass note a third lower than tonic
Minor chord Major chord
Some General Rules for identifying chords:

Chord I: Tonic will fit and will be same tonality (major/minor) as key chord

Chord II: Tonic will not fit and will always be a minor chord (or diminished)

Chord IV: Tonic will fit, will be same tonality (major/minor) as key chord, but will not be the
same harmony as Key Chord

Chord V: Tonic will not fit, will be a major chord in all cases (listen carefully for 7th)

Chord VI: Tonic will fit and will be of opposite tonality to key chord (i.e. in C minor, chord VI
is Ab major)

See attached sheet for how each chord relates to the key chord in F major/minor. The key is
irrelevant for answering the question as it is the relationship between the chords which is
important, but it is crucial to practise identifying in a variety of keys so, for example, you
know what the dominant (chord V) sounds like relative to the tonic in G major, Bb major, Gb
major etc.

Finally, make sure you know the names for each chord: you can either answer Ia, Ib, Ic etc.
(one a, one b or one c) or tonic root position, tonic first inversion, tonic second inversion
etc.

Ia/b/c = Tonic in root position/first inversion/second inversion


IIa/b = Supertonic in either root position or first inversion
IVa = Subdominant in root position (always in root position for this exam)
V/a/b/c = Dominant in root position/first inversion/second inversion
V7a = Dominant seventh in root position (always in root position for this exam)
VIa = Submediant in root position (always in root position for this exam)