Robert Estrin - piano expert

What is a Picardy Third?

Learn a remarkable use of a third interval in music

In this video, Robert tells you about this interesting and unique interval often used at the end of music pieces.

Released on July 5, 2017

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, this is Robert Estrin at and, with a really interesting show for you about the Picardy third. What is the Picardy third? Well the Picardy third is a very interesting note. It's a single note that can dramatically change the nature of the end of a composition. Simply, the Picardy third raises the third of the chord in the last note. From a piece that's in a minor key, you expect it to end in a minor chord, but then it tricks you, it ends in the major chord, for a really interesting spice. Listen, here's a cadence as you would expect it without the Picardy third, piece in the minor, ending on the minor.

Now listen to the difference when I put the major third at the end, the Picardy third. It's very uplifting, because it's unexpected. And a long piece that's very dramatic and sad, suddenly you have that ray of sunshine, right at the end of a piece. It's a nice little technique for pieces in the minor, if you want to give a little uplift at the end. Thanks so much for joining us here at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Margaret Puckett on April 10, 2019 @10:03 am PST
Does the Picardy third work the other way too? Piece is in a major key and ends with a minor chord.
Robert - host, on April 11, 2019 @1:16 pm PST
The Picardy third only goes from the minor to the major. If you listened to the reverse you would understand why it doesn't work.
Judith Mack E * VSM MEMBER * on January 16, 2019 @6:26 am PST
Why is it called the Picardy third?
Robert - host, on January 18, 2019 @12:26 pm PST
Picardy third is the translation of French "tierce de Picardie", from its use in the church music of Picardy.
Seun Akin-Ajayi on July 5, 2017 @5:48 am PST
Interesting to know.
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