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5 minutes 12 seconds
Artist website: www.satriani.com
What makes this video great and what can you learn from it?
- prime example of Lydian sound
- all the usual Satriani tradmarks like legato, pick tapping and whammy dips are included
- how to still add bluesy licks even when playing over major 7th chords (3:03-3:08)
- floating feel that perfectly matches the song's title
What can you learn from the article?
- the difference between a regular major scale and the Lydian mode
- how to play the Lydian mode on guitar
- what other articulation techniques Joe has used in this song
Takeaway: Joe Satriani has incredible technique. But he also plays very melodic is a master of creating moods and atmospheres. In this song he uses the Lydian mode to great effect. If you haven't learned/mastered Lydian yet, get started with it. It's an extremely useful scale to know and belongs into every guitarist's toolbox.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 15 seconds
Joe Satriani said in interviews that this song is all about a recurring dream he initially had as a child. A dream of flying where young Joe would start out in his room and over time end up in a translucent and crystallized blue dream world.
When he was working on his Flying in a Blue Dream album such a kind of dream, a Yamaha steel-string guitar (in Open-F tuning: C-F-C-F-A-C) he recorded the acoustic parts with and his mood on that particular day came together to help him create this masterpiece.
A Modern Take On The Blues
Yes, there are modifications like a bVI chord (Ab in this case) but in essence, the song follows a Blues progression. Instead of the common dominant 7th chords, Satriani heavily features the #11, both in his chord voicings as well as a main melody note.
The #11 is the characteristic note of the Lydian mode.
In case you don't know: a Lydian scale is similar to the conventional major scale, the only difference is that the 4th note is raised by a semi-tone. This raised 4th (which equals the #11) gives the scale that dreamy, mystical sound.
This mysterious sound is the perfect choice to represent Joe's dream.
Have a look at the following diagram that compares a 3 note-per-string major scale with the Lydian mode:
So learning Lydian is not too difficult, if you know your major scales. You just need to become aware of that 1 note difference = instant recipe for Lydian.
Back To Flying In A Blue Dream
Here are some more interesting techniques and playing concepts for you to notice and emulate:
- feedback washes for "otherworldly" effect
- extensive use of slides for expressive phrasing
- the "liquid" sense of timing, especially in all the legato passages
- "scooping" - a technique where you need to press the whammy bar down before sounding the note and then letting the bar come back up. This can be seen at 2:04 minutes into the video
What Other Lydian Songs Do You Know?
Since Flying in a Blue Dream almost exclusively features the Lydian mode it is a great track to internalize the sound of Lydian.
No kidding, one of the best methods of learning a mode is to have a song you know and like as a reference point. Try to get to a point where you can imagine the sound and feel and recall the association to the mode. This will make it a lot easier for you to recognize the mode when it's used in other songs.
What are some other examples that you have used (or still use) to learn a particular mode? Please share them in the comments section.