Generally a cadenza can be described as a sequence within a concerto, where only the instrument, for which the concerto was written for, plays.

Within a cadenza, which is normally placed at the end of the first movement of a concerto, themes and motives from the correspondent concerto are usually being processed. Originally, cadenzas were improvised by the performer, but some cadenzas are written out, either by the composer from the concerto him/herself, or by another composer. When the cadenza is improvised, the performer lets the orchestra know, that he is finished with the solo by playing a long thrill.

Logically, for the few concertos which are written for more than one instrument, for example W.A. Mozart`s – Concerto for Flute and Harp, cadenzas have to be written out, so that the performers would stay harmonically and in the same rhythm.

Through my research I found that the length of a cadenza (obviously especially the improvised ones) can have a high range of variety. It’s up to the performer (or composer) whether it stays interesting. So far I’ve listened to cadenzas, which were really long and interesting to listen to, and other, really short ones, which became boring just after a few seconds.

In a full score of a concerto, cadenzas can be found, where all of the other instruments are on a rest, lasting normally for one bar. All of them (except for the solo instrument) have a fermata on top of the rests. Sometimes, not often, composers have written “cadenza” out in full letters above the place were they wanted it.

The cadenzas I’ve listened to, listed in my listening log are :

(1), (2), (3), (4), (5)


  1.  Kennedy, J; Kennedy, M; and Rutherford-Johnson, T .(2013). Oxford – Dictionary of music. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press,. p. 135
  2. Swain, J. (1988) – Form and Function of the Classical Cadenza. Univ. of California Press ., pp. 27-59
  3. Green, A (2018). What is a Cadenza? .  [online]. ThoughtCo. Available at: [Accessed 18.03.2019]
  4. 8notes, (2018). Cadenza – Musical Definition. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 18.03.2019]
  5. Tarloff, E. (2010). Classical Cadenzas. The Atlantic. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 19.03.2019]