Daryl Hall

Daryl Hall

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MAJOR SCALE 3 CHORD TRICKS WITH LYDIAN 7TH SUBSTITUTION

As explained in BLOGoZON No. 82 every major scale generates a predictable series of chords (built using a mixture of major and minor third intervals); with the simplest having 3 notes (triads) and the most complicated using all 7 notes of the major scale (thirteenths).

The simplest major scale, from a note naming point of view, is C major (see table that follows) because it has ZERO sharp (#) or flat (b) notes.

INTERVAL NUMBER

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

NOTE NAMES

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

Harmonizing the C major scale in thirds (i.e. start on each note in turn taking every other letter of the scale until 3 notes have been accumulated e.g. C, E, G – C major; D, F, A – D minor; E, G, B, - E minor;
F, A, C – F major; G, B, D – G major; A, C, E – A minor; B, D, F – B diminished) produces the following table:-

C MAJOR SCALE HARMONY (Ionian mode)

I

IIm

IIIm

IV

V

VIm

VIIdim

C

Dm

Em

F

G

Am

Bdim


Using the 7 chords generated from the major scale (ionian mode) there are a total of 35 chord progressions (when 3 chords are selected at one time) and these relationships have been tabulated for C major to the right.

As demonstrated by the table shown right each chord appears a total of 15 times and this includes the highlighted Bdim chord.

This diminished chord produces a big problem from a pop music point of view (rather than jazz) as the sound of this chord is considered too difficult for most listeners.

As the Bdim chord is contained in three-sevenths of the available chord progressions it leaves a limited number of usable 3 chord tricks (20 out of an original 35); hence an alternative chord is required to replace it.

The solution to the replacement of the Bdim chord is arrived at by examining the complete major scale harmony chart for all 15 key signatures (shown below) and identifying how many times a C major chord appears.

C major harmony table


C major as I, IV and V

The C major chord appears a total of three times in the 15 available key signatures:-.

This produces two available solutions to the replacement of the Bdim chord in the 15 chord progressions where it makes an appearance (see above);this BLOGoZON examines the substitution chord produced where C major appears as the number IV chord in the key of G major.

The table that follows shows the major scale generated harmony (3 note scale chords) for the keys of both C major and G major with the number IV chord of G major (C) highlighted.

C ang G major harmony chart

If the scale chords for the key of G major are rearranged so that C major is the starting chord this is known as the harmonized C lydian mode; which is tabulated below:-

C lydian harmony

Thus the VIIm chord of the harmonized C lydian mode (Bm major chord) can be used as a substitution (replacement) chord for the VIIdim of the harmonized C major scale (B diminished chord); as highlighted in the tables that follow:-

C lydian 7th substitution

The table above can also be generated for all seven SHARP major scales as defined by the CYCLE OF FIFTHS

Major lydian 7th sub sharps

Similarly the table can be produced for the FLAT major scales as defined by the CYCLE OF FOURTHS

M ajor lydian 7th substitution flats

Again using the 7 chords generated from the C major scale (ionian mode) there are a total of 35 chord progressions (when 3 chords are selected at one time) and these relationships have been tabulated for C major to the right.

As previously demonstrated above each chord appears a total of 15 times (in the table shown right) and this now includes the substitution chord Bm.

The problem sound created by the difficult Bdim chord has been solved by replacing it (substituting) with the B minor chord.

As the Bdim chord was contained in three-sevenths of the available chord progressions it brings the number of usable 3 chord tricks back up to 35 (where Bdim represented 15 out of the original 35 chord progressions).

C major 3 chord tricks


Every one of the 35 numerically ordered 3 CHORD TRICKS(progressions) can be re-ordered a further 6 times, which produces a total of 210 potential SONGSEEDS for each and every key signature. An example table follows for chord progression number 35, which has a generalised relationship of V, VIm, VIIm :-

Three chord trick number 35


The question is "Has any of this music theory nonsense been used to write any decent songs that both sounded good and made some money for the writer?"

Answer: This type of chord progression is a VERY rare beast indeed; as at this moment in time no examples can be quoted.

This is good news for all those songwriters out there who want to write something a little bit ORIGINAL for once!


Daryl Hall

You can't tell me you don't miss me girl
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