The application of caesuras was originally vocal in conception, being tied closely with the verse endings in both recitative and aria texts. Most of the standardized caesura ornaments involve a penultimate stress to accommodate the piano verse endings of Italian poetry. The most common caesura ornament is described by Koch as the Nachschlag, "a striking afterwards [of] other tones contained in the triad at its basis". It accounts for a majority of recitative caesuras and about half the aria caesuras. Other caesura ornaments involve ornamenting the caesura note with either a mordent or appoggiatura, the latter employed almost exclusively in arias.
While caesuras punctuate the verses, cadences are employed to set apart
larger sections of text. There are different cadences for arias and
recitatives: the inferior, superior, scale and unison cadences for the
former and the tonic and broken cadences for the latter. The combination
of caesuras and cadences account for much of the actual melodic writing
in both aria and recitative and contributes greatly to the symmetry and
balance of eighteenth-century classical style.