In continuation of the topic of modes and modal playing, the next stop on our journey will involve examining the Lydian mode: the fourth of the diatonic modes. This mode happens to be one of my favorite-sounding modes, because it tends to have a bit of a dark and mysterious sound to it, and depending on how it's used in phrasing, it can even create a bit of a soothing, and (for lack of a better term) "air-y" type sound. Believe it or not, it's probably already a sound that you're pretty familiar with, as the theme song from "The Simpsons" is often used in teaching the sonic characteristics of this mode; another one of my favorite examples of the Lydian mode is found in Joe Satriani's "Flying in a Blue Dream." So, without further ado, sit back back, relax, and prepare to delve deeper into the Lydian mode.
In continuation of our exploration of the modes, the next mode on our list is one of my personal favorites, the Phryigian mode -- the third mode (if you've missed our previous discussion, you can check it out here). If you've googled this topic before, you've probably noticed that it will yield a couple of differing results: Phrygian scale, and the Phrygian Dominant scale. Although they are similar, they differ sonically. To clear up some confusion, this discussion will focus strictly on the Phrygian mode and not its Phrygian dominant counterpart (don't worry, we'll definitely be covering it in a later post, because although the difference is subtle, it really "tickles" my earholes).
In our previous discussion, we had gone over a brief overview of each of the seven modes, including their inherent sonic characteristics (you can check it out here), and in the name of continuing our exploration of the modes, we will have a more in-depth look at the A Dorian scale (i.e. the second mode).
For many years, modal playing was a concept that eluded and perplexed me on so many levels. In fact, when the term itself was mentioned, it seemed so complex and mysterious that I began to believe that I would never fully intellectually grasp it. Eventually, I started taking lessons from my local guitar teacher, and after a succinct explanation on the topic, I had realized that it's no coincidence that there are 7 notes in the major scale and 7 modes. It was then that I had realized that it wasn't the topic itself that was confusing, but rather I was making the topic more confusing than it needed to be (Thanks, Luke!). If you, too, have been perplexed by this topic, worry no more, as we are going to make the 7 diatonic modes shredible for you.
At this stage in your playing, you've probably encountered players who seem to have this gift of locating and/or naming all of the notes that span the entire fretboard, on all six strings. You may have even thought to yourself: "It must take years to acquire that skill!" Okay, so maybe I'm projecting a bit, because I've definitely had that same pessimistic thought in the past.
But what if I told you that within what seems like total chaos is a nice, predictable order to it all, and within three simple steps, you too can locate any note on the fretboard?