The Picardy Third

What is a Picardy Third and how can you use them in your compositions?

RE the thumbnail: Yes. I know. That’s the joke.

Easy Chord Changes

Changing chords is pretty hard, and is one of the things that puts people off of playing guitar past their first few lessons. It’s true that you’ve got to put the time in, but there is something we can do to make things easier.

My Favourite Chord: Stacked 5ths

 

Today I’d like to introduce you to my favourite chord of all time. Behold:

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A Gsus2, or a Dsus4?

In my mind this chord could actually be any one of 3, depending on which note you decide to be the root:

  • If the deepest pitch is the root then the middle note is it’s 5th, and the higher note is a 2. That makes the chord a Sus2.
  • If the middle note is the root, that makes the deeper note a 4th; while the higher note is a 5th. So this chord is an Inverted Sus4.
  • If the highest note is the root, then the middle pitch is a 4th, while the lowest pitch is a m7…. Root, 4th, m7th…. I don’t think there’s a name for that chord to be honest…
    EDIT: Having spoken with a musical colleague we came to the conclusion that, you could refer to this chord as Inverted Stacked Fourths. Maybe read-up on Quartal Harmony for more info.

Files & Downloads

Basic Song Structure

Simple guide for going about structuring a song. Below are the chord charts accompanying the video.
The video does refer to this video as “Tumblr”, which it isn’t. Try not to freak out…

Example 1
Our first example is the simplest kind of song – it’s one set of chords that repeats. Arguably, most 12-bar blues songs are like this, as is Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix.
The reason it’s not a common style of song is that a listener will want a catchy Chorus to sing-along with.
tumblr_mwu7jxaa5o1rvyc2jo1_540Example 2
This example introduces an extra pattern, in the same key. This will be our Chorus. We’re playing this 3 times over, and doubling-up the first Verse.

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Example 3
Bridges add tension to a song as they’re usually used as a ‘free pass’ for songwriters to be a little more creative, implementing unusual chords or swapping the key entirely.

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Example 4
A Pre-Chorus can appear before a Chorus and perform one of several roles. If your Chorus is in a different key to the Verse, or in a different style, a Pre-Ch can help ease the transition. They could also perform the simple task of adding a little more time before the Chorus, thus adding anticipation.
this example includes a Pre-Ch before the 1st and 2nd Choruses.

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It may also be useful for you to check out some Standard Chord Progressions.

Standard Chord Progressions 1: Maj & Min I, IV, V Chord Patterns

The I, IV, V chord pattern is a very common progression, and it is for that reason I will be focusing on it for several lessons. If you have an interest in blues, rock or jazz music, this will form the basis for many songs you will learn, (especially in the case of the blues). By the end of this lesson, I hope you will be able to play a Maj or Min I, IV, V chord pattern, and understand the theory behind them.

I believe these progressions are so common largely because they are simple to learn. If you want to play a Major I, IV, V pattern, you only have to know Major chords. Similarly, if you want to play a Minor I, IV, V, you will be playing only Minor chords.
The second reason they are common is that you will be using every chord of that type available in the scale. For instance, the Major version will contain every Major chord of that given scale. Likewise, the Minor I, IV, V will contain every Minor chord of that scale. To reiterate, if you play a I, IV, V pattern in either Major or Minor, you will be using every chord of that type in the scale.
A further advantage of these progressions is that you only need to know the root note of the song. Most of the time, when playing a I, IV, V pattern I’m only thinking about the root note of the scale, because it’s not necessary to know the names of the other chords, provided you know you’re sticking in the right key.

First off, I want you to play a G Major scale, and take note of the first, fourth and fifth notes are, (this only works with the full scale, so if you’re only familiar with the Pentatonic scales, now would be the time to go and learn the full ones). The first, fourth and fifth notes are going to be the root notes of your I, IV, V progression.
Now, I want you to play the following chords separately, then try swapping between them a bit:

Once you’re comfortable playing these individually, try these various structures, (I’ve written out the chords, but titled each exercise as the scale degrees you’re using).

Here are a few things I want you to try now:
Play the same chord progressions above as open chords instead of barre chords.
Play these barre chord patterns as minors instead of majors, (the pattern stays the same, it’s just the chords that need to change)
Play these patterns in different keys. Shifting the entire pattern up 2 frets will give you A Major I, IV, V patterns. Shifting it down to the first fret will give you F Major I, IV, V patterns.

Examples of songs using a Maj or Min I, IV, V pattern:

          Pride & Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughn
          Louie, Louie by … I forget, but the most famous version was by The Kinks
          Crossroads by Cream
          Wicked Game by Chris Isaac