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September Music Blog

Dean Cutinelli here from the Colorado School of Music. Remember we are just a call 303-526-9865 or an email away to start your private music lessons. We offer guitar lessonsukulele lessonspiano lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons, vocal lessons as well orchestral instruments. We offer in-person or online lessons. Now on to our discussion about about the Lydian mode.

The Lydian Scale

The Lydian scale or mode as it is more commonly referred to is the 4th mode of the seven modes that are derived from ancient greek music. If you were to play a  C major scale starting on the 4th scale degree you would be playing F Lydian. The notes for the scale would be F, G, A, B, C, D, and E. Yes this can be theorized by say this is

just a C major scale starting on F.  When you put an F major chord behind the C major scale you now create the model sound of F Lydian. In this example if we think of F as our key center we could also say we are playing and F major scale with a raised or sharp fourth in it. Our notes would be F, G, A, B,C,D and E. Remembering that our key signature for F major is Bb, there for we now have B natural or a major scale with a sharp 4th. You now have again the Lydian scale. This scale is a perfect fit when you see a Major 7th chord with a sharp 4th. Vamp on a F major chord followed by  F Major 7th #4 or try F to G13.  Both progressions will give you A chance to test out your F Lydian scale.

The History of Lydian 

The name Lydian refers to the ancient kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia. In Greek music theory, there was a Lydian scale or “octave species” extending from parhypate hypaton to trite diezeugmenon, equivalent in the diatonic genus to the medieval and modern Ionian mode. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, this mode was described in two ways. The first way is the diatonic octave species from F up to F an octave above, divided at C to produce two segments.

The second is as a mode with a final on F and an ambitus extending to F an octave higher and in which the note C was regarded as having an important melodic function. 

Who uses the Lydian Mode

The Lydian mode is defiantly a particular sound. You don’t hear it used as wide as you would the Mixolydian mode, but it still has its place. An example from the middle of the century is the scherzo movement of Carlos Chávez‘s Symphony No. 3. In the jazz world the Lydian mode inspired the works of people such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane. In popular music the passage beginning at the words “Much as I definitely enjoy solitude” in the song “Possibly Maybe” by Björk shows of the sound of the Lydian scale.The bass line in The Police‘s 1983 song “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” again incorporates the Lydian sound. Many Polish folksongs, including the mazurka, are in the Lydian mode; the first six notes of this mode were sometimes known as the “Polish mode”.

I hope after reading this you have a better Idea on what a mode is and in particular the Lydian mode. Please feel free to contact us and come in for a music lesson to learn all about the modes and anything else pertaining to music from one of our great instructor at the Colorado School of Music in Golden CO. We offer guitar lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons and vocal lessons as wells as orchestral instruments. 

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Thanks for reading!

Dean Cutinelli

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