The Lydian Mode

The Lydian Mode

Another very famous mode and the fourth in our series is the Lydian mode. While we are using C major scale as the reference point therefore the Lydian mode we will learn in this lesson is the F Lydian. By learning the theory and practical implementation of F Lydian you will be able to apply this understanding on Lydian mode in any other key. The main key is to learn the theory and underlying concepts of any mode. The Lydian mode is sometimes related to being very mystical and is very frequently used by Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. The interval structure of Lydian mode is as follows;

R 2 3 #4 5 6 7 8

The Lydian mode has only one sharp (#) and no flats (b) in its notes. If you want to construct the Lydian mode starting from F note of the C major scale, the notes will go like this; F G A B C D E F. F Lydian starts and ends with the same note (F) and the difference in its interval structure is that there is a #4 note in it. If we arrange modes in an order of brightness, Lydian is at the top of list. The following image demonstrates a position of F Lydian starting at the first fret;

The Lydian Mode

If you want to become a good guitarist, there are certain things you should get a tight grip on and one of those things is memorizing the whole fret-board. There are many techniques to memorize the fret-board which can be used to memorize it quickly. The main advantage that you will enjoy after memorizing the fret-board is that you will fluently play all over the fret-board and enjoy several techniques like legatos and runs.

The Lydian mode is a very happy sounding mode that sounds mysterious when #4th is added to it. It means the #4 contributes a lot of flavor in it and is therefore a game-changer. It also portrays a quality of innocence in a happy way. There is yet another quality related to this mode and that is its ability to take the listener to another world/mysterious world. Lydian is very frequently used in instrumental music and many techno tracks also get full advantage of its mysterious flavor. Many experimental musicians also use this mode to produce spacey tracks.

Relevant Chords of Lydian Mode

In order to enable you to use the Lydian mode effectively in your music and improve your improvisation skills, it is necessary that you learn which chords are to be used in the rhythms. The root note chord is always essential to be used because it is the starting point. After the root note it is important that you add chords which have most of notes that create the flavor of a particular mode. The root note chord is F major in F Lydian and if you add other relevant chords, this will help you produce the bright sound of Lydian easily. The following chords can be used in addition to the root chord;

  • II 7
  • V maj 7
  • VII maj 7

Again you are free to use any combinations from the above relevant chords but make sure that you start your progression with the root note and then add other chords according to the mood you want to create. Incorporating chords into your progression needs experience that only comes after experimenting with different combinations. There are many songs and instrumentals which use only two or three chords in the whole track so you better focus on little and try to produce more flavor with the solo being player over the backing track.

Famous Compositions in Lydian

Lydian is the brightest mode of major scale and due to its brightness it is mostly used in very happy sounding tracks. Lydian based tracks are always ear-soothing and refreshing for your mind. Following are few famous tracks you want to enjoy and use them as a reference;

  • Steve Vai – Balls of Gold
  • Steve Vai’s famous Triple Neck Guitar Solo
  • Joe Satriani – Flying in a Blue Dream
  • John Petrucci – Curve

As suggested before, you can cover these tracks or at least their main melodies to use them as a reference point for your musical pieces. It is always worth covering a solo because you get a chance to learn techniques of pro guitarists.

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Ahmed is a regular contributor to GuitarChords 247 and brings you in-depth guitar lessons and music theory.
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