The Modes In Order Of Descending Brightness

author: negativcreep187 date: 03/23/2009 category: scales
rating: 6.5 / votes: 8 
This lesson is for anyone having trouble learning the modes of the Major Scale, or just wanting to learn how to enhance their playing. A good majority of the people, including some people that read this, have learned the different modes through the most common way, vertically, in the order of: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian. This never made to much sense to me, as the fingering can seem all over the place. This lesson will teach the way I taught myself the different modes. If you are looking for a certain mode, press Ctrl+F and type in the mode name. First things first, every scale we go over will be shown in the key of C. Please remember that you can move these patterns anywhere on the fretboard to change the key. The C Major Scale is C D E F G A B. C is the root note or first, D is the second, E is the third, and so on, so forth. The first scale I'll show you is the Ionian Mode, which is the Major Scale. For the key of C, this would be C D E F G A B, as stated before. In it's most basic form, this would look like:
 C  D   E  F  G   A  B  C   D  E  F   G  A   B  C
|--------------------------------------------7--8--|
|-------------------------------------8--10--------|
|---------------------------7--9--10---------------|
|-----------------7--9--10-------------------------|
|-------7--8--10-----------------------------------|
|8--10---------------------------------------------|
The pattern for the Ionian Mode is:
 _ _ _ _ _ _ 
| |O|O|O| |O|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|     + - root note
|+|O| | |O|+|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| | |O|O| | |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|O|O|+|O|O| |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
The next mode we'll go over is the Mixolydian Mode, the fifth mode vertically. The only difference between the Mixolydian Mode and the Ionian Mode is that the Mixolydian has a flatted 7th. In the key of C, this would change the scale from C D E F G A B to C D E F G A Bb. This is played as:
C  D   E  F  G   A  Bb C   D  E  F   G  A   Bb C 
|--------------------------------------------6--8--|
|-------------------------------------8--10--------|
|---------------------------7--9--10---------------|
|-----------------7--8--10-------------------------|
|-------7--8--10-----------------------------------|
|8--10---------------------------------------------|
The pattern for the Mixolydian Mode is:
 _ _ _ _ _ _ 
| | | | | |O|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| |O|O|O| | |       + - root note
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|+|O|O| |O|+| 
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| | | |O| | |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|O|O|+|O|O| |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
Next up is the Dorian Mode, the 2nd mode vertically. The Dorian Mode is the Mixolydian Mode with an additional flatted 3rd. The notes for the C Dorian Mode are C D Eb F G A Bb. This can played as:
  C   D  Eb F  G     A  Bb C  D   E  F  G   A   Bb C
|---------------------------------------------6--8--|
|--------------------------------------8--10--------|
|----------------------------7--8--10---------------|
|------------------7--8--10-------------------------|
|-------6--8--10------------------------------------|
|8--10----------------------------------------------|
Dorian Pattern:
 _ _ _ _ _ _ 
| |O| | | |O|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| | |O|O| | |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|+|O|O|O|O|+| 
|_|_|_|_|_|_|        + - root note
| | | | | | |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|O|O|+|O|O| |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
The next mode we're gonna go over is the Aeolian Mode, the sixth mode vertically. This is also known as the Natural Minor Scale. The Aeolian Mode has an additional flatted 6th. This would change C Dorian, C D Eb F G A Bb, to C D Eb F G Ab Bb. This would look like:
  C  D   Eb F  G   Ab Bb C   D  Eb F   G  Ab Bb C
|-------------------------------------------6--8--|
|-------------------------------------8--9--------|
|---------------------------7--8--10--------------|
|-----------------6--8--10------------------------|
|-------6--8--10----------------------------------|
|8--10--------------------------------------------|
The pattern for the Aeolian Mode is:
 _ _ _ _ _ _
| |O|O| | |O|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| | | |O| | |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|+|O|O|O|O|+|    + - root note
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| | | | |O| |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|O|O|+|O| | |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
The next mode is the Phrygian Mode, the third mode vertically. This mode has an additional flatted 2nd. This changes the C Aeolian Mode from C D Eb F G Ab Bb to C Db Eb F G Ab Bb. This looks like:
 C  Db Eb F  G   Ab Bb C   Db Eb F   G  Ab Bb C 
|------------------------------------------6--8--|
|------------------------------------8--9--------|
|--------------------------6--8--10--------------|
|----------------6--8--10------------------------|
|------6--8--10----------------------------------|
|8--9--------------------------------------------|
The scale pattern for this is:
 _ _ _ _ _ _
| |O|O|O| |O|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| | | | | | |
|_|_|_|_|_|_| 
|+|O|O|O|O|+|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|O| | | |O| |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| |O|+|O| | | 
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
Next up is the Locrian Mode. The Locrian Mode is the seventh mode vertically, and it adds an additional flatted 7th. The C Phrygian would change from C Db Eb F G Ab Bb to C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb. This can be played as:
 C   Db Eb F Gb Ab  Bb C  Db Eb  F  Gb Ab Bb C 
|-----------------------------------------6--8--|
|-----------------------------------7--9--------|
|-------------------------6--8--10--------------|
|---------------6--8--10------------------------|
|------6--8--9----------------------------------|
|8--9-------------------------------------------|
This scale pattern looks like:
 _ _ _ _ _ _
| |O|O|O| |O|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| | | | |O| |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|+|O|O|O| |+|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|O|O| | |O| |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| | |+|O| | |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
Now, if we continue to descend, something strange happens. The next note that is flatted is the root note, or 1st. When this happens, all the flats come off, and it goes back to the Ionian Mode again. To create the last mode, the Lydian Mode, the 4th is raised, or sharpened. The Lydian Mode is the basically the Ionian Mode with a raised 4th. So, B Lydian would be B Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb. This looks like:
  B  Db Eb F  Gb Ab Bb B  Db Eb F  Gb Ab Bb B 
|---------------------------------------6--7--|
|------------------------------6--7--9--------|
|------------------------6--8-----------------|
|---------------6--8--9-----------------------|
|------6--8--9--------------------------------|
|7--9-----------------------------------------|
The scale pattern for the Lydian Mode looks like:
 _ _ _ _ _ _
| |O|O|O|O| |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|+| | | |O|+|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| |O|O|O| |O|
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
|O|O|+| |O| |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
| | | | | | |
|_|_|_|_|_|_|
Remember that these patterns can be moved anywhere on the fretboard to change the key of the scale.
More negativcreep187 lessons:
+ Introduction To Dropped Tuning For Beginners 03/23/2009
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