I'm trying to write a song, where I go from B minor for 4 bars to the relative G Lydian mode. Then there is a gap of 4 bars followed by a section in the relative A Mixolydian mode.

It's worth mentoining that the Mixolydian-part uses an Asus2 chord instead of A major. The overall tone is supposed to be "sad" or at least not "cheerful".

I'm unsure what I can do in that gap. I thought of starting with an F major chord to imitate an F Lydian (since the Db is absent from the Asus2) which also sounds fairly good, but I don't know what to after that (by which I mean: I don't want to stay on that chord for at more than 2 bars). Continuing with a G major after 2 bars did not seem very convincing to me. Anyway, this is just one idea.

My question is: what are good ways of filling this gap? To make this question more answerable, I'm looking for examples of "sad sounding" songs / pieces that do this exact thing, i.e. going from Lydian to Mixolydian.

  • Can you show us the melody and chords in notation please? I wouldn't worry too much about modes. They can be freely mixed.
    – Laurence
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 20:42
  • Bm is the Aeolian of D major (Ionian). G Lydian also uses the same seven notes.A Mixolydian is a mode of D major too. Db is called C# in that key. So far, all the same notes are in use all the time.Diatonic. This is usual in pieces, it's just that this song would appear to have different centres, nothing more complex. With due respect, it seems like you're writing music from a theoretical and prescriptive angle. There aren't too many options that will fit, so try just playing some stuff, to find something that sounds good. After is a good time to hang modal theory on those changes. Good luck!
    – Tim
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 7:35
  • @Tim It's really a practical issue. I have two separate parts and I want to chain them together somehow, but I'm really not impressed with my ideas so far. Commented May 18, 2017 at 10:37
  • Keeping both in the same 'key' and changing the bridge isn't working, so why not change the 'key' of the start or end section instead?
    – Tim
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 10:55
  • @Tim That's also a good idea, except I'm working with guitars and not everything there is playable in every key. Commented May 18, 2017 at 11:13

1 Answer 1


Well first off I am not sure you are "modulating." Modulation is a tonal concept and generally is accompanied by a change of key, and in your case all of the modes are related so there won't be anything like, say, a secondary dominant. So I think you are just asking us to fill in the gap with a chord or key area.

The go-to choice in this progression is commonly E (or "E Dorian" to follow your terminology). However D (Ionian) is also a good choice and provides a more forboding feeling as it sets up plagal motion landing on A. Also, G-D-A is very straightforward from the perspective of voice leading. And as a nice touch there is a D common tone throughout which you could use for some sort of ostinato, pedal, or liegendestimme.

P.S. If you ever get tired of diatonic stuff, try the same pattern with an Eb in the gap (both major and minor will work). An Eb in that position will break the octave into equal parts (first into 3 major thirds, then into two tritones) which obliterates any sense of tonality, creating a very disturbing sense where there is no up or down. Such a progression would still harmonize a diatonic melody (use the B harmonic minor scale).

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