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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:27 am 
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Hey everyone, I have this question: if a song is in the key of E Major, can i play a solo over it in B Lydian? Or I play in E Lydian?

Another one: How does Steve Vai use modes, does he write a song, let's see, in C Major, and then performs the lead guitar in F Lydian or what? I'm new in music theory, and getting to learn modes is a bit difficult.

Thanks in advance!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:26 pm 
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Location: Bergen in Norway
Short answer:

Song chord progression from E major, you would usually use E Ionian.
(Ionian is often just called "the major scale")

If you have a chord progression taken from e.g E Lydian mode, then you would
often use the E Lydian mode also for melody or solo stuff.

C major/Ionian and F Lydian has the same notes, but they are two different scales.
You must understand intervals, and look at the intervals of the two scales.
C Major/ionian = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (intervals are the same for any other root note)
F Lydian = 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 (intervals are the same for any other root note)

The Lydian get it's unique sound from the combination of these intervals.
Some would say the most important interval is the #4.

Search the Internett. Google and/or Youtube.
There is also alot of good books on modes or basic music theory.
It is not that hard to learn.
The hard part is to make good and interesting music.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:03 am 
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There is absolutely no reason to not play b lydian over an e major. It's actually a cool sound. You can play any mode over any key, it's up to you if it sounds good or not. I personally compose many of my pieces in one mode an solo in another. In one, I wrote the progression of the verse in Aloean, the bridge in phrygian, the bass runs in Dorian, and the leads in mixolydian. Sometimes a minor mode will also give a great feel change over a major modal chord progression. How it sounds is what matters, and when mixing modes you have to be selective with what notes you play when and how you play them. A sharp in the lead or Melody over a chord with a natural of the same note is dissonate, BUT that same sharp over a different chord like maybe a fourth above or something may work as a passing tone or be called a "sour".

As for what Steve does... The best person to answer is Steve. However, I remember asking about the mode to a song on Passion and warfare back in 90-91 (when all that existed was snail mail) and he wrote back that the song was in lydian, but not to go for modes go for moods. So from that letter, I have always been of the belief that Steve writes for the mood and feel and doesn't worry about the theory. In an online lesson on YouTube talking about technique he also stated that the only rule is there are no rules.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:36 am 
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I wish people would have to go to college before posting about guitar music theory

You technically will NEVER be able to play a B lydian in an E major key

Not harmonically possible to write out

First from a sound persepective- you'd add two sharps- which is only 2 more than E- but you'd have numerous semitones
you'd have E, F, F# and also G# A A# and B

Basically so much room to hit wrong notes against whatever progression-

BUT FINE- You can play anything no matter how it sounds

HOWEVER- you could never write it out...
Every note must have a name in a key
That means B Lydian has an E#
How the hell is there an E# in the key of E major- you couldn't write it that way
You'd have write it all in E, and then use accidentals- which would make it E anyway- no matter what the feel is

Music has rules, follow them


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