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Picardy Third cadence

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by walters, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. walters


    Apr 21, 2005
    The Picardy Third cadence is a major triad in a minor key with Nonharmonic tones in the cadence

    When i use a Picardy Third Cadence?

    Why would i use a picardy third cadence?

    How do i use Non-Harmonic tones in the cadence?

    Non-harmonic tones would be the 2,4,6,7 degrees of the key/scale im in?
  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I don't know about the nonharmonic tones but it generally was used in the baroque era to end on a major chord when in a minor key. To them it felt more resolved I believe. Are you inquiring about composing or playing. In composing use it if you want that sound. Playing wise (assuming jazz) only if the chord changes call for it.
  3. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    it's just a cadence; you are over-analyzing it.
    Baxter_Skunk likes this.
  4. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I think you could get burned at the stake for ending on a minor back then. :eek:
  5. tzadik


    Jan 6, 2005
    Well, you don't really "whip it out and use it", if you know what I mean. Ie, don't play a major third just because you want to, if the tune doesn't call for it and you don't hear it as being musical. A picardy is just something you will come across very commonly in classical music. Bach used them ALL the time.

    If you like the sound and want to compose with it, go ahead. I believe a picardy is classified as happening at the end of a tune or section, but with a little brain-elbow-grease, I am sure you can find a way to distinguish it from its surrounding even in the middle of a tune.

    Don't worry about what to play over it. :) Play what you hear. If you hear a certain tension and don't know what it is, better thee sit down at a piano and plunk it out until it is aurally clear.
  6. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    Get a counterpoint book. Read it.

    Get a harmony book. Read that too.

    Then you should have a good idea of where the cadence came from and how to use it.
  7. Go and do some homework has to be good advice - assuming it's wanted - if you review all Walters posts (there is only 19 of them) you might conclude, as others have wondered, that this guy (assuming it's a he) is a wind-up. Unless the guy fills in his profile and explains himself a little more I think we should stop this waste of everyone's time.
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    One way that it's used in more modern times, and heavily in jazz, is a V or II-V from a parallel minor key resolving major:

    G7b9 C
    D-7b5 G7b9 C
    F-/G C


    I'm guessing some may argue my point, or agin' it rather, but that's what this sounds like to my ear.
    JW_Manhattan likes this.
  9. Having looked it up when I got home the original term is French, and searching on that brings co-incidence with my ref book from Grove:

    "Tierce de Picardie [Picardy 3rd].

    The raised third degree of the tonic chord, when it is used for the ending of a movement or composition in a minor mode in order to give the ending a greater sense of finality. The term was introduced by Rousseau in his Dictionnaire de musique (1767); its etymology is unknown. It was commonly used in the 16th century and throughout the Baroque era and was regarded by some writers as standard. In the Classical period it was used much less frequently, though an analogy may be drawn with the practice of ending a minor-key work with a short section in the parallel major, found for example in the string quartets of Haydn (op.64 no.2, op.74 no.3 and op.76 no.2) and Beethoven (opp.95 and 132). by JULIAN RUSHTON"

    You could call resolving minor modes/prgressions to a major chord Picardy third but I don't see how it helps much either as an explanation or a shorthand (although there are pseudo scietific explanations relating to the harmonic series). However, that is not what appears to be being taught in some places as a search on "picardy third" will reveal - in fact it will reveal an online discussion forum on the subject and oddles of material, including wiki of course which is most helpful here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picardy_third

    Can I reccomend you to Google, Walters?
  10. timkatent


    Sep 23, 2013
    We still use Picardy Thirds in modern rock and pop as well! Some good examples come to mind ....

    Nickelback -- "Hero" (heard especially in harmony on the verse 'I'm not going to stand here and [P3] ** waaait.... ***' Notice the brightness from a very heavily minor sound to a happier major one on the word 'wait'.)

    The Beatles - "I'll Be Back" -- Floats between intro in A major, moves to a minor in the verse, and resolves each cadence on A major.

    Coutrain - "Green" (Solidly dorian/modal vamp with obvious P3 cadences)

  11. JW_Manhattan

    JW_Manhattan Banned

    Feb 8, 2017
    Probably a George Martin suggestion. Check out the Beatles' Slow Demo Version:

  12. lurk


    Dec 2, 2009
    Two standards jazz guys often play come immediately to mind: Alone Together and You and the Night and the Music both are minor tunes with Picardy third cadences. I'm sure I could come up with a few others in time.
  13. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Some might argue not (because it appears at the end of each 'chorus' as well as at the end) but Tim Hardin's 'Hang On To A Dream' is a good example, IMHO. The emotional lift from the melancholy of the preceding deeply minor parts is massive. YMMV.