The Picardy Third: A List Thread

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A picardy third, picardy cadence or, in French, tierce de picardie is a harmonic device used in European classical music.

It refers to the use of a major chord of the tonic at the end of a musical section that is either modal or in a minor key. This is achieved by raising the third of the expected minor triad by a semitone to create a major triad, as a form of resolution.

1) Debbie Gibson, "Foolish Beat"

freelance helgenberger (get bent), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 21:55 (five years ago) Permalink

2) the end of Ralph Vaughan Williams's arrangement of "The Turtle Dove"

freelance helgenberger (get bent), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 21:58 (five years ago) Permalink

3) Chicago - "Wishing You Were Here"

Lee626, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 21:59 (five years ago) Permalink

4) Not strictly at the end, but throughout Britten's "Hymn to the Virgin":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YxGReDqUWw

freelance helgenberger (get bent), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:00 (five years ago) Permalink

Frederic Chopin to thread

Lee626, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:02 (five years ago) Permalink

zero of the signified and i were just joking about how funny it'd be if "eleanor rigby" had a picardy third. a ray of sunshine!

freelance helgenberger (get bent), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:14 (five years ago) Permalink

i know there's a Beatles song that ends on a picardy third but can't think of which one(s)

Lee626, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:18 (five years ago) Permalink

turns out it's right on the wikipedia page!

Thomas Bateson's 15th century madrigal 'Your Shining Eyes' features use of the Picardy third in bar 16.[citation needed] A more modern example is found in The Beatles' And I Love Her, which closes on a D major chord from a final passage in the key of F major/D minor.[citation needed] Other modern examples include "Roundabout" by the band Yes,[citation needed] "Sweet Child o' Mine[citation needed] by Guns N' Roses,[citation needed] and the Black Sabbath classic "N.I.B." where the final guitar riff over an E power chord ultimately slides down to and sustains G♯.[citation needed]

freelance helgenberger (get bent), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:22 (five years ago) Permalink

zero of the signified and i were just joking about how funny it'd be if "eleanor rigby" had a picardy third. a ray of sunshine!

― freelance helgenberger (get bent), Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:14 PM (6 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

loll

i am.. a maven (Matt P), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:22 (five years ago) Permalink

feel like there's some music theory geek picardy third joke in existence, or was it all a dream

i am.. a maven (Matt P), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:24 (five years ago) Permalink

the picardy third would be a perfect name for a math-rock/emo band circa 2000.

freelance helgenberger (get bent), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:26 (five years ago) Permalink

per that hot chick dominique, xtc's "dear god."

freelance helgenberger (get bent), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:52 (five years ago) Permalink

A more modern example is found in The Beatles' And I Love Her, which closes on a D major chord from a final passage in the key of F major/D minor.

This isn't right. The first chord in the instrumental coda is G minor. I think the second chord is an Fadd6 (F is in the bass). Second time, after the G minor chord, they end on D major.

This might be a bit of a technicality - Fadd6 is close to D minor. (It's a D minor seventh in first inversion.) The thing is, F is the tonic of the passage (and indeed the whole song) and not D.* The song is in a major key.

(E is actually the tonic earlier. They modulate up a half-step.)

timellison, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 22:53 (five years ago) Permalink

You hear this in a major key?:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm4YlZ3oYsQ

From one listen, I hear it modulating from Fm to F#m. That main riff is ^3-^2-^1 in a minor key. The last time through, at the end, it ends on an F# (maj) chord, which does seem to function as a Picardy third.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:05 (five years ago) Permalink

OK sorry! I read that passage wrong. (I thought it was saying the chords went from F major to D minor.)

I don't think there's reason to think D is ever the tonic, though.

xp

timellison, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:06 (five years ago) Permalink

The verse moves between i and v. The refrain goes III-IV-(b)VII.

xpost

EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:07 (five years ago) Permalink

Sund4r, there's clearly a IV-V-I cadence in E major (and then in F major after it modulates). I don't think the F# minor chord (G minor after it modulates) is ever the tonic.

timellison, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:09 (five years ago) Permalink

i.e., I hear the verse progression as ii-vi-ii-vi-IV-V-I.

timellison, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:10 (five years ago) Permalink

"And I Love Her", despite being mostly built with minor chords, is indeed in a major key - the one at the end of the title phrase.

And yeah, despite sounding alot like a Picardy third at the end, it really isn't.

Lee626, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:11 (five years ago) Permalink

Oh, that makes sense.

xpost

EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:13 (five years ago) Permalink

There's a D# in the melody, too (when it's in its original key).

timellison, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:14 (five years ago) Permalink

I think I was being thrown because of the way it ends on F#, which is kind of bizarre then!

EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:15 (five years ago) Permalink

The cool thing about that riff is that it never ends on the root note of the chord until the D major chord at the end.

timellison, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:18 (five years ago) Permalink

those beetles were clever

Lee626, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:18 (five years ago) Permalink

Isn't the tonic moving from Eb to E then? Or am I really having an off day? It sounds like Eb rather than D at the beginning, unless my guitar's really out or I'm really off (v possible; it's a stressful day).

EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:20 (five years ago) Permalink

P sure "Sweet Child o' Mine" is in a major key (Mixolydian to be exact) too. Don't think there is even a minor chord in the verse or chorus? (Again, it's not my best day but I'm even looking at sheet music right now.)

EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:25 (five years ago) Permalink

xp - E flat it is.

Lee626, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:26 (five years ago) Permalink

Sounds closer to E to F to me, but I think they were tuned a little flat.

timellison, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:27 (five years ago) Permalink

Throughout Nick Drake "River Man", with bonus points to Nick following it up with a Mystic #4. Song stays in A+ long enough to say "it's in A+" but the Picardy effect is in full force. Also big Picardy enthusiasts: The Zombies ("Time of the Season", "Butcher's Tale", "She's Not There", "Beechwood Sparks")

ship who you wanna ship (flamboyant goon tie included), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:47 (five years ago) Permalink

I thought immediately of the end of "Beechwood Park" but then when I listened it wasn't there at all, it ends on some bichordal mess ;_;

ship who you wanna ship (flamboyant goon tie included), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 23:49 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

The Kinks - "Sunny Afternoon"

timellison, Monday, 23 September 2013 01:17 (five years ago) Permalink


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