Learn 5 Lydian chords that can add mood and atmosphere to your playing

Joe Satriani, a master of the Lydian mode, onstage in London, circa 2012
(Image credit: Neil Lupin/Redferns)

Lydian tonality is like a mood or atmosphere you can dive into as and when you please. You may even notice that the opening scenes of many movies feature Lydian chords and melodies in their soundtracks – as does The Simpsons’ opening theme. 

You’ll likely have heard of the Lydian mode, but what makes a chord ‘Lydian’ by nature? To answer that question comprehensively is no simple task, but let’s start by reminding ourselves of the Lydian mode in the key of A (to match our chord examples): A B C# D# E F# G# A. In other words, a regular A major scale with a #4 (D#). This single change brings in an element of B major; D# is its major 3rd. 

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Richard Barrett

As well as a longtime contributor to Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, Richard is Tony Hadley’s longstanding guitarist, and has worked with everyone from Roger Daltrey to Ronan Keating.