You arrived at this page because you want to learn about the lydian dominant scale.
The lydian dominant scale is not a very common musical scale, that’s why I can easily guess that you’re not a beginner. However, if you are a beginner who’s probably trying to get acquainted with the keyboard, click here now.
The first time I learned about the lydian dominant scale was so many years ago when I started studying jazz — as an intermediate level student. Today, I can tell you that it’s one of the most important dominant scales that every jazz piano player must learn.
But before we go into learning about the lydian dominant scale, let’s discuss on the musical scale briefly.
A Short Note On Musical Scales
According to Jermaine Griggs, “a scale is formed when a collection of notes is played in a regular succession, in ascending and descending order – following a fixed intervallic pattern or formula.”
Let’s go ahead and break down this definition of the musical scale.
“…A Collection Of Notes…”
A musical scale is a product of a collection of notes and can be named according to the number of notes in it per octave.
One note scale is monotonic
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Two notes scale is ditonic
Three notes scale is tritonic
Four notes scale is tetratonic
Five notes scale is pentatonic
Six notes scale is hexatonic
Seven notes scale is heptatonic
Eight notes scale is octatonic
“…Played In A Regular Succession…”
The notes of a scale must be played in a regular succession — as close as possible. For example, playing all the notes on the keyboard from C to C:
…in a regular succession produces a musical scale.
“…In Ascending Or Descending Order…”
A musical scale has two directions – the ascending and descending direction – consequently, a scale can be played in ascending and descending direction.
Although the ascending and descending order of most musical scales are the same, there are musical scales that have a descending form that differs from its ascending form.
“…Following A Fixed Intervallic Pattern/Formula…”
Every scale has its unique intervallic pattern or formula, which is derived from the distance between successive notes in that scale.
In the C natural major scale:
…the distance between the first and second notes (which are C and D):
…is a whole step.
The distance between the second and third notes (which are D and E):
…is also a whole step.
The distance between the third and fourth notes (which are E and F):
…is a half step.
“Let’s Pause And Take A Look At The Intervallic Pattern…”
The intervallic pattern of the first three notes of the natural major scale can be given thus:
Whole step – Whole step – Half step
W W H
Using this intervallic patternn/formula, the natural major scale can be played in any key.
The Lydian Dominant Scale – Explained
The lydian dominant scale is not difficult to understand. However, you must pay attention to all the details I’m about to give you.
The lydian dominant scale is the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale.
“Let’s Talk About Modes…”
Modes are derived by starting and ending any given scale on any other note apart from its first tone. The natural major scale has its modes, and using the C natural major scale:
…we can derive its second mode by starting and ending it on its second tone (which is D):
So, playing the C natural major scale from D to D:
…produces its second mode — known as the dorian mode.
Starting and ending on the third tone (which is E):
…produces the phrygian mode.
Starting and ending on the fourth tone (which is F):
…produces the lydian mode.
Starting and ending on the fifth tone (which is G):
…produces the mixolydian mode.
Starting and ending on the sixth tone (which is A):
…produces the aeolian mode.
Starting and ending on the seventh tone (which is B):
…produces the locrian mode.
“Now, Back To The Lydian Dominant Scale…”
Like I said earlier, the lydian dominant scale is the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale. Therefore, using any known melodic minor scale, the lydian dominant scale can be derived.
Using the C melodic minor scale:
…we derive the lydian dominant scale (which is the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale) by starting and ending on the fourth scale tone (which is F):
So, playing the C melodic minor scale:
…from F to F:
…produces the F lydian dominant scale:
How To Form The Lydian Dominant Scale
The lydian dominant scale can be formed using the natural major scale by:
- Raising its fourth tone
- Lowering its seventh tone
Using the C natural major scale:
…the C lydian dominant scale can be formed by raising the fourth tone (which is F):
…by a half step (to F#):
…to produce the C lydian scale:
“But That’s Not All…”
Then, lowering the seventh tone of the C lydian scale formed (which is B):
…by a half step (to Bb):
…produces the C lydian dominant scale:
Following this procedure, anyone can form the lydian dominant scale using a known natural major scale.
“Here’s A Reference To All The Lydian Dominant Scales On The Keyboard”
The C lydian dominant scale:
The Db lydian dominant scale:
The D lydian dominant scale:
The Eb lydian dominant scale:
The E lydian dominant scale:
The F lydian dominant scale:
The Gb lydian dominant scale:
The G lydian dominant scale:
The Ab lydian dominant scale:
The A lydian dominant scale:
The Bb lydian dominant scale:
The B lydian dominant scale:
Now that you’ve learned the lydian dominant scale, we’ll end this lesson so that you’ll go straight into learning and memorizing how to play it in all twelve keys on the keyboard.
In a subsequent lesson, we’ll go into the application of the lydian dominant scale in chord formation and improvisation.
See you then!
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