The World's Most Hopeful Chord - Picardy Third

The Picardy Third is a very recognizable and easy-to-learn musical concept. Although it has a long (and muddled) history, we can still hear it being used today in pop music. This video explores the basics behind the most hopeful chord, and demonstrates several "modern" examples of the chord being used. Be on the lookout for Picardy's in Pop music, they're everywhere!


Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors. However, I do hope you find it helpful. Be sure to check out The Ultimate Modal Poster!

If your song is sad, you could admit happily just by using the body writing good music is sometimes just as simple as having the right tricks up your sleeve today. I want to show you a really cool little trick called the Picardy third. Now this isn't some archaic crusty old concept that's only meant for like writing motets and you know dulcimer pieces or something like that. This is some old music theory, but it's still extremely applicable.

For today's song writing. So what I'm going to show you is I'm going to show you how to do this. What is a Picardy third but then I want to show you several examples of this being used in modern day music and we're talking a lot of different genres. I'm going to show you examples from progressive rock and from the pop music realm and then at the end of this video, I'll talk a little bit about advice and some suggestions with writing with a technique like this. So first off, what is a Picardy third you should know what a minor key is if you want to dive into this concept and what it's like to write in a minor key. If you don't know what that is, please check out my video on writing and minor keys. But if you understand the concept of being in minor than a Picardy third is just resolving to the one chord but as a major chord instead, so for example, if I'm in the key of A minor, all right, there's seven different chords in the key of A minor. All right.

I'm just going to strum through a few of them. And right now you can hear that a minor is my tonal Center you can hear that a minor feels like home and I'm using all the notes of a minor. I'm using all the chords of a minor, but if I resolved to a major, that would be a picker T third. All right, and you hear what that does? It really brightens things up. It gives it a little bit of optimism a little ray of sunshine a little bit of Hope to come through to end your peace. Now. This is the strictest definition of a Picardy third where you just end your section or your song or your piece on the major one chord when you're in a minor key. I'm going to show you two examples of that the first one being roundabout by the band Yes.

So here at this entire song is in the key of E minor, but somehow at the very very end.

They just end up on an E major and really it's just a Picardy third just bringing in that major one chord to end you with a little bit more of an optimistic softer Landing there at the end another example, this is Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive.

Now, I've expanded this definition of many other musicians have to include More than just the end of the section you can think of a Picardy third is just borrowing the major one chord from a parallel key. So if I'm in the key of A minor just I'm borrowing the one chord from a major. Okay, and that's a major.

So using that at any point in time to me still classifies as a picker to Third and I want to show you some examples of that as well a really good example of this and probably my favorite is in Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. The entire song is in the key of C minor, but after our first chorus the verse is all of A sudden start off with a C major which would be a picker 2/3. You're borrowing that major one chord. It gives us a really cool brightening effect for each one of these verses.

Let's switch over to progressive rock Dream Theater has a song called a nightmare to remember and in about six minutes in or something like that. They do this wonderful chord progression in the key of C minor where it goes from my six cord to my seven chord to my minor one chord. So it's just a normal six seven one chord progression in the key of C minor.

Then the next time they play it they run through this six chord to the seven chord to the major one chord. All right, that's your Picardy third.

However, they play. A suspended for first so they delay the effect of you actually hearing that the resolving to a major chord and it's this great delayed gratification of that Picardy third resolution. Take a listen.

So the last example I'm going to give you here is pretty strange. It's the Game of Thrones theme song and right away. It starts off with four measures of C minor followed up directly with four measures of C major just to follow right back up into the key of C minor.

So in my opinion those are all really good examples of the Picardy third being used in modern music and you as a composer if you understand the way it's making you feel when you hear those things then it's just a simple as recreating that as a composer. There might be a moment where you really want the listener to feel a little hope of feel a little optimism or you want them to visualize a little light coming through and something like the Picardy third would work very very well. I would refrain from using it in the standard sense of just ending your songs on major chords. It gets a little cliche. When you do that and I think you do want to strive to be creative with a concept like this and find where are the options that something like this might fit in and then ask yourself. Is this really an appropriate time to put this cord and does it really achieve the effect. I'm looking for and all these Concepts stuff like the Picardy third stuff like writing a diatonic chords. These are all little tools for the toolbox when you're writing you might grab some of these tools all the time. Some of you might grab, you know, one every 10 songs some of you might not ever use. All right. It's just how songwriting work sometimes but you do want to collect as many Any assets as you can you want to collect as much knowledge and as many of these little tricks up your sleeve as possible. So when it does come time to write and you do have an idea you have a method to execute it and you understand exactly theoretically what you'll have to do to execute that emotional idea you have so I hope you like this video. If you do like videos like this and you want to see more please check out my patreon page you can support me there and like subscribe comment all that stuff helps me out. Thanks for watching.


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