Watch the Lydian online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Modes That Matter

Continuing the journey through the major modes this next series of segments focuses on the Lydian mode. Built on the 4th degree of the Ionian mode we hear a return to a major based sound. The formula is as follows: 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7. As you can see Lydian is only one note different than Ionian but the one alteration, the raised 4th degree, makes a huge impact. First, it’s the second half of the defining tritone interval that starts at the root of the scale. Sound-wise the #4 adds a spice to major that in many cases trumps the Ionian mode even when the chord you’re playing over is the tonic.

The two style examples here will set the Lydian mode in settings where the sound plays an important role in helping along the already forward-minded vibe. The first segment is a modern rock vibe that’s part indie and part 80’s Brit-pop and all together fresh sounding making it a perfect launch pad for a major-based sound that has a kick. The following segment is set to an uptempo straight ahead jazz beat but with more aggressive sounding chords giving it a more fusion-y vibe. With the presence of the #11 in the first chord and the 13th in the second chord, which is the key signature’s raised 4th, you have no choice but to go with Lydian straight through.