What is Cadence: Definition, Features and Example

In particular cadence refers to the melodic pattern preceding the end of a sentence; for instance, in an interrogation or an exhortation; and also the rhythm of accented units. In more general terms, cadence refers to the natural rhythm of language, its finner tune’, depending on the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables; so, now, a rising and falling.

It is present in prose as well as verse. Almost every writer with any individuality of style at all has particular cadences which are really his own ‘voice’, the inherent and intrinsic melody of linked syllables and words, of phrases, sentences and paragraphs, which at once transcends and supports the meaning. Sense and sound are inseparable.

The cadences of prose writers as various as Sir Thomas Browne, Edward Gibbon, Jack London and Samuel Beckett are instantly apparent. In verse, even within traditional metrical arrangements, differing cadences are apparent, especially in free verse.

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