Major Scale Modes

author: CPDmusic date: 09/03/2010 category: scales
rating: 5.4 / votes: 16 
Intro: Hello everybody, and welcome to the second lesson of CPDmusic's Lesson Writing Marathon! If you don't what CPDmusic's lesson writing marathon is, check it out here. It is September the second, and we are going to start off by looking at the basic major scale modes. Enjoy! Review of the Major Scale: Before we start looking at modes of the major scale, lets review the major scale itself, in the key of C: C D E F G A B C Okay, now that we have that down, I will also give you this scale in a numerical sequence. This is much like my chord theory lesson, in the sense that the numbers are always in relation to the major scale: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Let's also, before we get started, review C major scale on the guitar itself:
E||----------------------|----------------------||
B||----------------------|------------0----1----||
G||----------------------|--0----2--------------||
D||-------0----2----3----|----------------------||
A||--3-------------------|----------------------||
E||----------------------|----------------------||
That's really all we will need to review for the purposes of this lesson. Besides, if you are learning major scale modes, you probably have a pretty firm grasp of the major scale by now. One other thing you should notice is that the standard major scale is often referred to as the Ionian Mode. What is a Mode? What is a major mode? Well, by definition, it is a scale that encompasses the same set of diatonic intervals as the major scale, while the tonic differs. In other words, it's a scale that has the same notes as a given major scale, but the root note it different. This will become more clear as we go along. The Dorian Mode: The second mode of the major scale is the Dorian mode (remember the standard major or Ionian mode is the first). The Dorian mode follows this numerical sequence: 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 8 As you can see, this is actually a fair bit different from the major scale. There are four flattened notes; the second, third, fifth, and seventh notes. So, if we were to flatten the second, third, fifth, and seventh notes of the C major scale, we would get the C Dorian mode, which would go like this: C D Eb F G A Bb C So, it would be played on the guitar like this:
E||----------------------|----------------------||
B||----------------------|-----------------1----||
Ite G||----------------------|--0----2----3---------||
D||-------0----1----3----|----------------------||
A||--3-------------------|----------------------||
E||----------------------|----------------------||
It kind of seems a little random, doesn't it? It almost seems as if someone just randomly said flatten the E and the B!. Well, there is actually some sense behind it! To understand this, we must look at the D Dorian Scale, instead of the C. Lets start with a D major scale: D E F# G A B C# D Now, as we know, a Dorian mode is a major scale with a b3 and b7. So, if we flatten the third and seventh note of the major scale, we get this: D E F G A B C D Do you see it? Remember our definition of a mode; it's a scale that has the same notes as a given scale, with a different root. So look, the D Dorian has the same notes as the C major scale; C D E F G A B C. It just starts and ends on D! In that sense, the C Ionian Mode (remember, the Ionian mode is just the standard major scale) is almost the same as the D Dorian Mode (I say almost because I don't want to get hardcore music theorists on my back!) The Phrygian Mode: The third mode of the major scale is the Phrygian Mode. It follows this numerical sequence in relation to the Major scale: 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 So, looking at this, we can determine that the Phrygian mode is quite different than the Major scale, with four flat notes. You may also note that two of the flats are the same as the two flats in the Dorian mode. So, if we were to construct a C Phrygian Mode, we would flatten the second, third, sixth, and seventh notes in the major scale to get this: C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C And it would be played on the guitar like this:
E||----------------------|----------------------||
B||----------------------|-----------------1----||
G||----------------------|--0----1----3---------||
D||------------1----3----|----------------------||
A||--3----4--------------|----------------------||
E||----------------------|----------------------||
Once again, it may seem kind of random. But, remember how we made a D Dorian mode, and saw the relationship. Well now, we are going to make an E Phrygian Mode. So, lets take the E major scale: E F# G# A B C# D# E And we will flatten the second, third, sixth, and seventh notes: E F G A B C D E As you will see, it has the same notes as the C major scale, it just starts and ends on E. It would be played on the guitar like this:
E||----------------------|-----------------0----||
B||----------------------|--0----1----3---------||
G||------------0----2----|----------------------||
D||--2----3--------------|----------------------||
A||----------------------|----------------------||
E||----------------------|----------------------||
Now, since the pattern is quite apparent now, we will skip constructing the remaining modes in C for the sake of time. It was just to give you an idea of how to construct the modes. We will just construct them in the key in relation to the C major scale. The Lydian Mode: The forth mode of the major scale is the Lydian Mode. It follows this pattern: 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 8 You may notice that this one is actually quite similar to the major scale, and has only on altered note. Now, the C Ionian, D Dorian, and E Phrygian modes all have relation. Therefore, following the pattern, we would have to construct an F Lydian Mode! So, lets take the F major scale: F G A Bb C D E F And sharpen the fourth note: F G A B C D E F And as you can see, the F Lydian Mode also follows our pattern. It has the same notes as the C major scale, but instead starts and end on F. It would be played on the guitar like this:
E||----------------------|------------0----1----||
B||-----------------0----|--1----3--------------||
G||-------0----2---------|----------------------||
D||--3-------------------|----------------------||
A||----------------------|----------------------||
E||----------------------|----------------------||
So, that's the Lydian mode! The Mixo-Lydian Mode: The fifth mode of the major scale is the Mixo-Lydian mode. It follows this pattern: 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 8 Looking at this, we can determine that the Mixo-Lydian, much like the Lydian, only has one note that differs from the standard Major scale. Now, if you have been keeping up with our pattern, you can probably come to the conclusion that we are now going to construct a G Mixo-Lydian Mode. In that case, you are correct! Let's start with the G major scale: G A B C D E F# G And now lets flatten the seventh note: G A B C D E F G And once again, this scale follows our pattern. It has the same notes as the C major scale, and starts and ends on G. It would be played on the guitar like this:
E||----------------------|-------0----1----3----||
B||------------0----1----|--3-------------------||
G||--0----2--------------|----------------------||
D||----------------------|----------------------||
A||----------------------|----------------------||
E||----------------------|----------------------||
The Aeolian Mode: Alright, we've almost reached the end, just two more to go. The sixth mode of the Major scale is the Aeolian Mode. It follows this pattern. 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 As you can see, this mode has three notes the differ from the standard major scale. It has a flattened third, sixth, and seventh note. So, lets use this pattern to construct an A Aeolian Mode. We start with the A major scale: A B C# D E F# G# A And then we would flatten the third, sixth, and seventh notes: A B C D E F G A And there you have it, an A Aeolian Mode. Once again, this scale has the exact same notes as the C major scale, it just starts and ends on A. Another thing you may notice is that the A Aeolian Mode has the exact same notes as the A minor scale. And that's because they are the exact same thing! If you were to construct a B Aeolian mode and a B minor scale they would be the same; as well as the C Aeolian and C minor, and so on. Much like the Ionian Mode is just another name for the Major scale, the Aeolian Mode is just another name for the Minor scale. So, the A Aeolian would be played the exact same way as the A minor scale, like this:
E||----------------------|----------------------||
B||----------------------|----------------------||
G||----------------------|------------0----2----||
D||-----------------0----|--2----3--------------||
A||--0----2----3---------|----------------------||
E||----------------------|----------------------||
The Locrian Mode: The seventh and final mode of the major scale is the Locrain Mode. It follows this pattern: 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 8 You may notice that this mode is the least similar to the major. All the notes are flattened except the first note and its octave, the eighth, and the fourth. So, lets construct a B Locrian mode. We would start with the B major scale: B C# D# E F# G# A# B And flatten every note but the first, fourth, and eighth: B C D E F G A B So, once again, it has the same notes as the C major scale, it just starts and ends on B. It would be played like this:
E||----------------------|----------------------||
B||----------------------|-----------------0----||
G||----------------------|-------0----2---------||
D||------------0----2----|--3-------------------||
A||--2----3--------------|----------------------||
E||----------------------|----------------------||
Some Final Notes: Now, first off all, since my chart in my Basic Chord Theory lessons were such a success, I will do the same for the Major Modes: Ionian (Standard Major): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Dorian: 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 8 Phrygian: 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 Lydian: 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 8 Mixo-Lydian: 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 8 Aeolian (Standard Minor): 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 Locrian: 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 8 Also, here is another chart showing you the relationship between the modes, in the key of C: Ionian (Standard Major): C D E F G A B C Dorian: D E F G A B C D Phrygian: E F G A B C D E Lydian: F G A B C D E F Mixo-Lydian: G A B C D E F G Aeolian (Standard Minor): A B C D E F G A Locrian: B C D E F G A B Now, I could give you more facts about modes, but I want to look at the major scale more first, and scale degrees, which I will do on day three of the third week of CPDmusic's Lesson Writing Marathon! But, there is one last thing I want to look at before we go, and that is grouping the modes. Do you remember yesterdays scale classification lesson? Well, lets use that for these modes! Lets first look at the Ionian, Lydian, and Mixo-Lydian Modes: Ionian: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Lydian: 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 8 Mixo-Lydian: 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 8 As you can see, all three of those modes have a natural 1, 3, and 5, and are the only modes to have just that, therefore making them major modes. Now, if we look at the Dorian, Phrygian, and Aeolian modes: Dorian: 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 8 Phrygian: 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 Aeolian: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 Notice how those three modes have natural ones and fives, while they have a flattened third, like the minor chord. Therefore, these modes are minor modes. Now, if we look at the last mode, the Locrian Mode: Locrian: 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 8 We see that it has a flattened three and five, like the diminished chord. So, this mode is a diminished mode. Latter, we will reference these with scale degrees, but you don't need to worry about that for now. Just remember this third and final table: Major Modes: Ionian, Lydian, Mixo-Lydian Minor Modes: Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian Diminished Mode: Locrian Outro: Well, that's all for day 2 of CPDmusic's lesson writing marathon! Remember, if you want to be able to read these lessons THE DAY I write them, go here. Anyways, that's all for todays lesson, andI'll see you again tomorrow! Support CPDmusic's Lesson Writing Marathon By Joining This Group.
More CPDmusic lessons:
+ A Shortcut For Learning Scales Scales 01/05/2012
+ So You Want To Write A Song. Part 2 Songwriting & Lyrics 01/17/2011
+ So You Want To Write A Song. Part 1 Songwriting & Lyrics 01/05/2011
+ Scale Degrees & Chord Harmonization The Basics 11/05/2010
+ Time Signatures (2) The Basics 09/28/2010
+ Triplet Feel The Basics 09/27/2010
+ view all
Comments
Your captcha is incorrect