April 12, 2024


Entertain Reaching Stars

The Simpsons Theme Song – A Lydian Melody

3 min read

The Simpsons. Everybody knows them, and everybody recognizes the theme music. What most people don’t know is what mode of the major scale it’s based on. The published sheet music for The Simpsons theme song claims that it’s written the key of C major. I beg to differ. It appears to me that it’s actually in the key of G major using the C Lydian scale. To prove out my point, you’ll need a little understanding of key signatures.

If you know your circle of 5ths from music theory, then you’ll know that C major has no sharps or flats, barring accidentals in a tune. You’ll also know that the key of G major has one sharp (F#), again, barring any accidentals in a tune. My issue with The Simpsons; theme key signature is that every F played is an accidental (F#). You could say The Simpsons theme is in the key of C Lydian, but saying that it’s C Major, to me, is a mistake.

Now, I didn’t write the music, obviously, and I’m not the one raking in the royalties from it. So my opinion is just that, and it’s worth every penny you’ve paid for it. But I would prefer to see that the tune is actually in the key of G Major, which, again, has one sharp. If it had been written this way, there would have been no accidentals in the melody. Just for fun I’m going to post the Lydian scale tablature for the key of C Lydian (the G Major), and then I’ll post part of the tablature for this piece. It obviously wasn’t written for guitar, but it’s fun to play and listen to it anyway. Lydian is one of the most rarely used modes on guitar, but The Simpsons theme music is a popular piece.

Here’s the ascending C Lydian scale:



…and here’s the descending C Lydian scale.



Here’s the main melody to The Simpsons theme song. I should note that every two dashes after the first two dashes after the note represents an 8th-rest or a half-beat (in 4/4 time). For example,


would be 10th fret on beat 1, then the half-beat and 2nd beat are empty, and the twelfth fret is played on beat 2 1/2.



I hope you enjoy playing these as much as I do. You should play around with this very unique mode for awhile and perhaps you’ll discover your own theme music.

Thanks, and as always, great shredding!

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