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Ubu Offline OP
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I'm practicing a little bit of modal interchange of chords. So I've been studying lidian mode for a while.

Ok, second degree chord in lidian is dominant, II7. I try to play instead bIImaj (the napolitan 6th in classic harmony). It doesn't work at all.

But then i think, lidian starts on 5th degree of a major scale. And bIImaj works fine on a major scale. So maybe i have to count 5 notes up. So i count from the second degree of lidian, 5 notes up. That's the 6th. In lidian it is VImin. I play bVImaj instead. And it works perfectly!

So now im a little bit confused. When playing some mode, do i have to take into account the degree of the major scale over wich it is build, in order to make the chords interchange work?

In other words, is it actually bVImaj the napolitan 6th of lidian instead of bIImaj?

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Instead of thinking of the Lydian as the 5th mode of a major scale maybe try thinking of it as just an optional flavour of a normal major scale - a major scale with a sharp 4th. You can use the Lydian scale often to play over a major chord (whether it is tonic or subdominant) and also add in the sharp 11 (or 4 if you like) into chord voicings to make the harmony a bit more interesting.

If you think of it like this then the modal interchange chords are all the same as they would be for a regular key of C (things like Fm, Ab major etc). You could even consider a C lydian chord as a modal interchange chord itself (Dmaj triad/C for example) - you are not really in the key of C lydian, rather C lydian is a scale choice that you play over a C major tonality.
I am not sure if this exactly answers your question but I have tried my best.

Last edited by beeboss; 06/19/22 04:55 AM.
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Thankyou for your answer.

I understand what you say, and i agree in considering each mode as flavours by themselves, not just degrees of the major scale.

But when i found that i could not by any means make sound right a bIImaj on lidian mode, but unexpectedly bVImaj sounds right, i started trying to understand why is that.

That's when my grasp started, that may be it is just because lidian starts on 5th of major.

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Well I suppose when you say it “doesn’t sound right” then that is a judgement based upon the sort of sounds you like or the sounds you are used to. To me it sounds perfectly fine, and is a pretty common sound - Dbmaj7 going to Cmaj 7 sharp11- the kind of thing that one may play as an intro to a tune like ‘girl from ipanema’ maybe, hardly dissonant or controversial.

I put a couple of chords into a score writing programe to show you a typical voicing but I can’t work out how to upload it for display here…hmm

I guess I can spell it out…

ist chord Db maj13 - Left hand just plays Db, right hand plays (in ascending order) Ab Bb Eb F
2nd chord Cmaj7 sharp 11 - LH plays C, RH plays G B E Fsharp

The Dbmaj 7 chord would probably take Db lydian scale so it is really just a chord being transposed down a semitone

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Damm, you are right, it works. I can even use it as a true napolitan in combination with V7. I don't know why i was so convinced that it couldn't work. Thankyou very much.

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Originally Posted by Ubu
I'm practicing a little bit of modal interchange of chords. So I've been studying lidian mode for a while.

Ok, second degree chord in lidian is dominant, II7. I try to play instead bIImaj (the napolitan 6th in classic harmony). It doesn't work at all.

But then i think, lidian starts on 5th degree of a major scale. And bIImaj works fine on a major scale. So maybe i have to count 5 notes up. So i count from the second degree of lidian, 5 notes up. That's the 6th. In lidian it is VImin. I play bVImaj instead. And it works perfectly!

So now im a little bit confused. When playing some mode, do i have to take into account the degree of the major scale over wich it is build, in order to make the chords interchange work?

In other words, is it actually bVImaj the napolitan 6th of lidian instead of bIImaj?

The lydian mode starts on the 4th degree of the C scale. In lydian you cant construct a Neapolitan chord the way it is done in a major or minor scale since the 4th degree is sharped and thus you get an augmented third instead of a major one. If I understand what you doing. When you say you use flatVI it depends what sort of chord sequence you play but yes in Lydian mode the flatVI is the same chord as the neapolitan II in major.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
The lydian mode starts on the 4th degree of the C scale.

Yes, Lydian is the 4th mode of the major scale, apologies for my earlier typo.

If you want to work out what C lydian scale is though you can count up the 5th degree of the major scale from C (ie to G) and then play the major scale based on that note - this is then C Lydian (ie G major). I can see how this stuff in confusing.

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We cannot function in a Lydian mode as if it were a major scale because it does not have the Subdominant note of 4. That eliminates most of the chords that occur naturally in major scale harmony. Thus we don't find a very useful set of diatonic chords in a Lydian mode.

The "Lydian" is essentially applied as a major 7th chord with an added #4 and not much more than that.
And of course, we don't like playing a natural 4 on a major 7th chord, so we might try Lydian...

Neopolitan 6th? We call that bII in jazz and pop harmony, which seems much clearer to me.

Why are we trying to apply classical theory to Lydian in the "non-classical" forum?


Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.
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My initial question was about how to make sound right a bIImaj over lydian actually. I called napolitan just for simplicity.

And yes it was my mistake to say lidian starts on 5 of major. Is the other way around, major starts on 5 of lidian, i think that's where i made the error.

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Why not play this?

||: Db | C LYD :||


Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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