Is my approach for creating a melody over this harmony I have written theoretically correct?

Harmony: (KEY OF A) F#m F#sus4 C#m C#msus4 Bm Bsus4 AMaj7

Now lets just take a really straight approach to the melody. Melody: F# Aeolian. C# Phrygian B Dorian A Ionian (or maybe A lydian because it's a Maj 7th chord)

Now of course I realize there are MANY MANY ways to approach this, but is this one way of doing it?

One more question: For the sus4 chords could I play the Lydian Mode of the respective key? Example: Bsus4 could I could play E Lydian to bring out the color of that E note?

3 Answers 3


That is totally a matter of style, given the combination you have there. If you wanted a Spanish guitar sound and kind of dark, use phrygian. If you want a jazzy/blues feeling, use Dorian. However, if you use Dorian with the minor chords toward the beginning of the progression, I would probably give Mixolydian a try on the major chord to maintain the bluesy feeling.


A melody is comprised of notes, usually from a particular key. Those notes could and often do, add up to the scale of that key, when put in order, with root first.

Thus, in A, there'll be A,B,C#,D,E,F# and G#.So, a tune in A will use those notes in the main.Take any of those notes, and stack the next but one and the next but one to that, and maybe one more, per se. That gives the chords that work well with that key, basically.

Still using that same set of notes, but starting the 'scale' on the second note will give the Dorian mode. Stating on the 3rd, it'll be the Phrygian, etc. So, A Ionian will have exactly the same set of notes as B Dorian, as C# Phrygian, etc. How those notes are ordered to produce the melody will vary with the underlying chord - or vice versa. Modes are sort of based around whatever note they represent in a key, as in A major (Ionian), B Dorian has exactly the same notes, but centres around B, C# Phrygian same again, but C# centre, etc.

So, after all that, it seems you're asking 'should I use the same notes from the key of A, even when I'm on a new chord?' Well, yes, because you're in the same key. Whether its A major or E Mixolydian, it's the same set of notes.On an E chord, yes, use E Mixolydian, as they'll fit like the rest of the notes from A major, because they are the same notes.


All diatonic modes are the same scale starting on different notes. While you can think of different modes for each chord, I find that approach to be way too complicated for live performance. Moreover, that approach tends to lead to playing scales rather than creating interesting and catchy melodies. Take the chord tones for each bar as your "strong" notes for that bar and then add color and connecting notes from the scale. Put them into whatever order sounds pleasing. Big jump up, little jumps down is a good start. :-)

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