Sunday, 10 August 2014

Ticket 46: The False Picardy

'Picardy Third' (Ticket 16) refers to the baroque music trick of finishing a minor key song or section on the major root chord, but there are lots of other options. Any chord that contains the tonic works well, as the melody can still land on the root note while the harmony supplies the twist. So IV, iv or bVI would work. In the key of C minor that would mean finishing on

F, Fm or Ab major

In C major we could add the vi (Am) which is the famous Aeolian Cadence (Ticket 10)

If you use extended chords the options increase. The easiest way to think about this is adding the tonic note into each chord. For example (again in C)

C major
F major
Ab major

If you're happy for your melody to land on something other than the root note, the choices are infinite.

As with the Picardy, you can use this trick to end a section (Something), or the whole song (And I Love Her).

It's an art to finish well on something other than the root chord. A root chord say “THE END” or “FULL STOP (PERIOD)”. Picardy Third says “SURPRISE HAPPY ENDING!” The tape cut off ending, whether accidental (Her Majesty) or deliberate (I Want You She's So Heavy) says “HEY THE LAST PAGE IS MISSING DAMMIT”. Anything else may just say “TO BE CONTINUED...”

And Your Bird Can Sing - IV
For No One - V
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away - V


25 or 6 to 4 – II/I (Chicago)
Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) - V (Phil Collins)
Badge – iv (Em) or v (D mixolydian) (Cream)
Lately – VI (Stevie Wonder)
Let's Make the Water Turn Black – VI (Mothers of Invention)
New Test Leper - ii (R.E.M.)
Piece of My Heart – ii (Janis Joplin)
Silly Love Songs - iii (Wings)
The Ocean – V (Led Zeppelin)
Wind-Up – V (Jethro Tull)

See also

Ticket 1: The Flat 6 Chord
Ticket 6: Stay Off The Root Chord
Ticket 8: Use The Minor 4 (iv) Chord
Ticket 10: The Aeolian Cadence
Ticket 13: Make The Vocals Stay On Non-Chord Tones
Ticket 14: Write An In-Key Melody Over Out-Of-Key Chords
Ticket 16: The Picardy Third
Ticket 18: Finishing On A Single Ringing Chord
Ticket 28: Use At Least One Out Of Key Chord
Ticket 44: Use the Minor 5 (v) Chord
Ticket 45: Change Keys Between Sections
Ticket 47: False Ending
Ticket 49: Employ Madrigalism

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write

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