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late 14c., "flow of rhythm in verse or music," from Middle French cadence, from Old Italian cadenza "conclusion of a movement in music," literally "a falling," from Vulgar Latin *cadentia, from neuter plural of Latin cadens, present participle of cadere "to fall" (see case (n.1)). In 16c., sometimes used literally for "an act of falling." A doublet of chance (n.).
in music, the ending of a phrase, perceived as a rhythmic or melodic articulation or a harmonic change or all of these; in a larger sense, a cadence may be a demarcation of a half-phrase, of a section of music, or of an entire movement