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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."



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March 2, 2006 | Lydian

Hey, put a Lydian on it!...

Modes are a mixed bag. They can be intriguing yet intimidating at the same time. Knowing there are seven of the "Church" modes (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, etc.), multiplied by the 12 keys can yield far more complexity than necessary, so we feel it's simpler just to think of the all as the familiar Major (Ionian) Scale, just altered by some notes. You're already developing the tactile fingerboard feel of note relationships, Whole Step, Whole Step, Half Step etc. (or 2 frets, 2 frets, 1 fret). Why not just take the feel already of the fingers and the sound already in your ears and slap a label on it later?

Beats learning 84 new scales; in the FFcP system, you're just learning 4 and starting on a different note.

Start with a Lydian scale. It's a Church Mode based on the 4th scale degree, but forget the theory for now. Just think of it as a Major Scale with the 4th note raised. In the key of G, you raise the C to a C#. It's an intriguing sound, try adding this in a simple improvisation in G and wee what you come up with.

G, A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G

Here's a sneak peak at a song out of our upcoming "Getting Into Jazz Mandolin" book from Mel Bay. Print out this PDF and have some fun. Notice how you can do something elaborate and satisfying, just by changing one note, and using only a couple chords.

Lydia O'Lydia


Posted by Ted at March 2, 2006 7:48 PM


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