Last week we looked at the idea of playing C lydian or C lydian #5 scales over D7 as a basis for improvisation and introduced the concept of the lydian chromatic scale.

We observed that C lydian chromatic scale in ascending order of 5ths is written C G D A E B F# Db Ab Eb Bb F. We can extend the idea of substituting more outer notes for inner notes to form more outer sounding lydian-based (lydian altered) scales in C to play over D7. Remember that the lydian scale is C D E F# G A B based on the first 7 notes (C G D A E B F#) of the lydian chromatic scale in ascending 5ths. With the lydian #5 scale we substituted Ab(G#) for G thus removing the 5th and introducing a #5 into the scale.

Let’s rewrite the C lydian chromatic scale to show the intervals of each note as they are usually written with reference to C.

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Note C G D A E B F#/Gb C#/Db G#/Ab D#/Eb A#/Bb F
Interval 1 5 9 13 3 7 #11 #5 #9 11
bb7 b5 b9 b13 b3 b7

For the lydian #5 we swapped an inner position 2 for an outer position 9.

Now let’s swap an inner position 5 for an outer position 10 to give a C lydian b3 scale. The resulting scale (C D Eb F# G A B) is the 4th mode of G harmonic major. Played over D7, the combined sound is that of D7(b9).

We now examine C lydian #9. Here we substitute D# (position 10) for D (position 3) with the resulting scale being C D# E F# G A B. Play it over D7. It’s quite cool to my ear even though there is no D. It’s perhaps a little more out than C lydian #5 which swapped a position 9 for a position 2 and C lydian b3 which swapped a position 10 into position 5. You could describe the overall effect of C Lydian #9 over D7 as D7(b9,9) which is a little unconventional.

Next, consider C lydian #9#5. This scale is C D# E F# G# A B. Even cooler. Again, no D but when you play it over D7 you get the sound D7(b9,9,#11).

Just to wrap up for this week think about the following relationships:

C lydian        4th mode of G major

C lydian b3        4th mode of G harmonic major

C lydian #5        3rd mode of A melodic minor

C lydian #9        6th mode of E harmonic minor

C lydian #9#5        6th mode of E harmonic major

The point to note is that the conventional source scales (the major melodic minor, harmonic major and harmonic minor) for these lydian altered scales do not necessarily have a common tonic.

If you are interested in seeing more on this subject, tune in next week to Jammers eNews.



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