Wednesday, May 20, 2009

C Lydian Blues

What the heck is modal blues? The truth is, Blues, as we traditionally know it, is a mixed mode. But how can we understand a mixed mode if we don't know the modes on their own?

A lot of music teachers make a lot of hay about the Modes of the Major Scale! Here's the first of a series of lessons on these modes. I'll be starting by taking on the modes in the key of C from light to dark, with a trek through a familiar twelve bar form in each mode.

The 'lightest' or 'brightest' of the modes is Lydian. A major scale with a raised 4th degree: F# instead of F. One sharp, no flats. In fact, some musicologists could argue that the key signature I've given here is wrong. However I didn't want there to be any ambiguity. This tune is in C Major, Lydian Mode.

Sing a major scale and then raise the 4th degree.

Do Re Mi Fi Sol La Ti Do

To many western ears, this sounds a little exotic when sung like this. But getting to know this sound well will really help you understand secondary dominants and some other common practice period stuff.

Here's a 12 bar blues to jam on while getting to know the sound of the Lydian Mode. Have fun making some melodies and learning some whirlies in Lydian.

Bars 1-4:



Bars 5-8:



Bars 9-12:



All 12 Bars in one shot for your printer.
Click the pic to enlarge:



***

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2 comments :

Brian said...

Dan -- nice post. I never thought of combining the Lydian mode with the blues.

I think I see why you're using the D chords in place of the traditional IV chord in the form, but can you explain why you didn't include the raised fourth in any of your C chord voicings.

pluto said...

This is just kind of what I heard in my head when I thought about it.

Plus, I really wanted the tonic chords resolved and unambiguous.

But there's no reason you couldn't play the f# over any of those C maj7 chords giving you the Cmaj7#11. Just make it musical.

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