Chord Extensions Derived From Scales

In this series we’ll explore several scales from which we’ll derive extended chords. This is a very helpful exercise for becoming fluent in chord extensions and learning the application of certain scales.

  1. Lydian

  2. Lydian Dominant

  3. Altered

  4. Dorian

  5. Melodic Minor

  6. Mixolydian b5

  7. Phrygian Dominant

  1. Lydian

Use the Lydian scale to build a Major 13th #11 chord in all 12 keys!


2. Lydian Dominant

This lesson guides you through chord extensions based on the Lydian Dominant Scale, through all 12 keys! I recommend that everyone practices this on piano, and as you become more comfortable translate the concept to your primary instrument as well. 

Practice along with the video, go at your own pace, or pause and rewind as needed. This will get you moving through the keys and build harmonic and extension fluency!

If you aren't already familiar: the Lydian Dominant Scale is the 4th mode of the Melodic Minor Scale. 

ie) C melodic minor = C D Eb F G A B C
     F lydian dominant = F G A B C D Eb F

Another way to think of it is as a dominant scale with a #4

ie) F dominant = F G A Bb C D Eb F
     F lydian dominant = F G A B C D Eb F


3. Altered Scale

The Altered Scale is the 7th mode of Melodic Minor. Because of this, often times the best spelling for the scale is not the best spelling for the chord so enharmonic spellings are used freely in this video.

For example:

E# Altered Scale is the 7th mode of F# Melodic Minor, but the chord family it produces is F7alt. Be open minded with enharmonic spellings and understand that the sound it produces is the most important thing!


4. ETC

Now that you get a hang for the concept, I’ve provided a collection of chords derived from scales that you can practice on your own!

Melodic Minor
Mixolydian b2
Phrygian Dominant