Fun with Two Bright-Sounding, Uniquely Flavored Scales Built from the Same Six Notes

Last month, I presented the intriguingly exotic C Lydian hexatonic scale, which is formed by combining C and D triads (C E G + D F# A = C D E F# G A). Now, as we had done with E minor and D major hexatonic in the preceding lesson, I’d like to reveal the flip side of the musical coin and introduce an appealing mode of C Lydian hexatonic, D Mixolydian hexatonic, which has a bright and playful quality and is comprised of the very same six notes, only reoriented around a D root—D E F# G A C (see FIGURE 1).

As I will demonstrate, this modal relationship between the two scales is very convenient and useful for crafting sweet-sounding melodies over a C-to-D or D-to-C chord vamp. But first, some more helpful insight into D Mixolydian hexatonic. Another way to think of this scale is to take the seven-note D Mixolydian mode (D E F# G A B C) and omit the sixth, B, which creates a wide, minor-pentatonic-like gap—a minor third interval, between the fifth, A and the minor, or “flat” seventh, C (see FIGURE 2).

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Jimmy Brown

Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.