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Scales and Modes With Joshua Barnhart: Chord Scales, a Breakdown of Scales and Their Functions Part 4

Meet Joshua Barnhart –

So you’re back for more with part 4 of our look at chord scales. First things first, the brightest scale in all the church modes, Lydian. Lydian’s key characteristic note is the major triad against the raised 4th degree in the scale. Lydian is the IVmaj chord and is generally categorized as a subdominant chord that is used just before a dominant chord. I IV V have been a staple in American rock music. In more jazzy contexts Lydian has been used as a tonic chord, but because of the tritone between the 1 and #4 it’s somewhat unstable. Because of its slight instability songs like Inner Urge by Joe Henderson, Havona by Jaco Pastorious, and Family by Matthew Garrison have used it in a modal context by just moving that structure around. Most major chords you encounter that aren’t the tonic can be played as Lydian.

The exercise we’re going to look at today is called scale segments. These can be done at any number from 2-15 but today we’re going to use 3 as an example. The idea behind the segments is to play from 1 through your end number, in this case 3, then go to the next note in the scale and play through to that same amount of notes. [EX1]

This is an example in thirds going up to and stopping on the 6th. There are also ways to modify this. This is ascending in both pattern and scale. You can mix it up my descending in one and/or the other like so. [EX2]

This is the segments still ascending, but the scale is now descending. And the opposite of that would be to ascend the scale and descend the segment. [EX3]

Give it a shot on your own. Pick a number between 2-7 to start off with, then see if you can take it beyond an octave.

Take your time get it right, remember perfect practice makes perfect.

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