The Secret to Sounding Sad in Major – Mediant Chord [MUSIC THEORY – SONGWRITING LESSON]

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When writing in major keys, one quick method to introducing sorrow in to your music is by using the diatonic iii chord, also called the mediant chord. This video will demonstrate several examples of songs and pieces that are written using the mediant chord, as well as advice on how to write progressions that are sad and woeful.

Thanks so much to Linas Orentas for his generous support on my Patreon page!

Free online guitar lessons for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players. Located in Crystal Lake, Jake Lizzio provides free jam tracks and video lessons for guitar players, as well as music theory videos and other music education content.


Nicklas Edlander says:
Sad major song, by me -" Cthulhu "

Nicklas Edlander says:

Very nice vid! I've uploaded a song recently where I play piano, which is not my main instrument though, and I think it got that melancholic minor feeling/atmosphere over it, though I mostly use Major chords. I'd be honored if you'd like to check it out and tell me what you think!
It's called Cthulhu – Nicklas Edlander

Dr. R says:

Opeth does that so often with suspended and 7th chords also

ioannisdenton says:

Still a dmajor to an F#minor can be seen BETTER as a fminor scale with d being the lydian chord. A melody in Amajor scale will sound more suitable than a melody in dmajor scale i think. I ll try this tomorrow

Charley A says:

Have always loved this progression, ever since hearing "Empty Room" by Arcade Fire

Kade Kozak says:


FMRadio says:
The link to my new song, please check it out

Booskop says:

What happens when you do the opposite (IE going from i to III)?
Will it sound happy in a minor key?

David McKelvey says:

Most people believe True Love Waits is the saddest Radiohead song, despite the fact its in C.

Count Blue says:

Well I – ii or I-vi is still pretty common in any popular music but I got you, I-iii is more melancholic.

Tan Hong Zhi says:

really great video. thanks for sharing.

deadstar44 says:

I knew about that "major-sad" effect of that interval. One another I also love is going in major from the I to the IV, flattening the IV so in D, it goes from D major to G minor. I'm sure you made a video about that interval, Tchaikovsky used it in his famous pieces.

bitodin says:

Can anyone recommend resources to approach harmony this way: what the individual chords sound like and how they can be used? Many tutorials only focus on the functions of IV and V chords without going much further.

Ariel Lorusso says:

Wow I iii it's so great. Its in some amazing songs 1:22
My inmortal – Evanescence
Fire to the rain – Adele
Where is my mind – The pixies

Çetin Akyüz says:

Some examples more: Adesh kan fi nas, Fairoz.
People ain't no good, Nick Cave.

Han Li says:

That chord melts my heart… so warm yet so sad…

Razman says:

This was a really insightful video thank you!

odiumimbues says:

umm… something in the way by nirvana

Shelby Shears says:

This is wonderful. I'm so glad I found your channel

Chew Your Good Food says:



Excellent intro!

Antoine says:

Amazing !! My immortal, very sade song, is in A major !!! (I – iii – iv), the Final Cut from pink floyd, in F major !! (chorus iii – I). I look for videos for 2 or 3 years now, trying to understand some theory. You gave some keys today. Thanks for your very clears video.

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