Lydian chord adds a unique mix of flavors into the music that is targeted towards evoking specific feelings and emotions in the listeners. They add in a beautiful blend of mystery and lightness to the music.
Lydian Chord Progression
Lydian chord is a type of a major scale with just one note difference. On the fourth scale degree, Lydian raises a semitone which major scale doesn’t. The intervals of the Lydian also resembles the major scale, only the fourth note deviates.
To further clarify the difference between Major and Lydian scale, refer to the chart below and notice how the fourth note changes from a whole tone to semitone when it comes to Lydian and the rest remains the same.
A musical scale which is fourth of the seven tones, Lydian crafts chord progressions in a way that makes the music sound distinguished. With just a difference of one small note from the major scale, the Lydian sound makes the music much more effective and captivating.
The concept of Lydian mode is extremely simple to understand. All you need to do is memorize a short pattern of whole and half-steps that can be used for all keys and on any musical instrument.
Lydian chord starts with three whole tones followed by a semitone. And these four tones are again followed by two whole tones and that finally ends with a semitone.
The deviated 4th note imparts the Lydian scale with the qualities, sound, and texture that is similar to the major scale but with added lightness and happiness into it. If put concisely, Lydian transforms a boring composition into a fun, arresting track.
How to Play in Lydian?
The pattern that you need to memorize in order to learn how to play the Lydian mode is given below. We are using the example of the Key F to construct the notes here:
- From the key “F”, go up a whole-step for the key “G”.
- Next, move up two more whole steps for the keys “A” and “B”.
- Then, take a half-step for the Key “C”.
- Move a whole-step to get “D” and “E”.
- Lastly, you need to take another half-step to get the final “F” key and the last note.
Lydian Scale Piano
The Lydian scale starts from the fourth note instead of the first note (grab your digital piano and follow along). For example, if we look at C major note, the Lydian scale corresponding to that would be F, G, A, B, C, D, E and then repeated back to F.
If you have noticed, the Lydian gives rise to a major 7th chord. The C major Lydian mode creates an F major seventh chord, F, A, C, E.
Let’s consider another example. Let’s take try and build a B flat major seventh chord using the F major Lydian mode.
The F major scale is made up of the notes F, G, A, B flat, C, D, and E. In order to build a Lydian mode of that scale we get B flat, C, D, E, F, G, and A. Building the now-familiar seventh chord gives us B flat, D, F, a B flat major seventh chord.
Lydian Scale Guitar
When it comes to the guitar, Lydian is the 4th mode of the major scale and the sound that’s created when the 4th scale degree functions as the tonic. Because it features a major 3rd and centers on a major chord, it’s considered a major mode.
So every time any piece of music makes use of the major scale and centers itself on the 4th-degree chord IV, the resultant sound is the Lydian mode.
For example, the G major scale looks something like this-
All the movies and TV series that we have grown up watching makes us believe that music producers and songwriters come up with these amazing music by luck. However, this couldn’t be far from the actual truth. Chord progressions that stick with us for a very long time and lyrics that wound our hearts take time and the right tools to develop.
The more production tools you have at your disposal and the more knowledge you harbor of the music theory, the better ideas you will develop for your songs.
By learning to understand, create and play with ideas using the Lydian mode, you will expand your own creativity as a songwriter and expose yourself to an endless wealth of ideas and also break free from your current limitations.