so ive read all the lessons on modes trying to understand them and see if im correct here

so the modes are


then it repeats it self

so now all i need to do is learn the boxes for the dorian, phygrian, lydian,mixolydian and locrian modes right?
Quote by Vauxite
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Box's aren't too usefull. Because of how modes are applied, they are just about useless.

What is usefull is knowing how to apply modes and knowing the formula.

EDIT: Read this. It's the latest posting of 20tigers "Modes de-mystified." Once again, this was written by 20tigers (all credit goes to him).

Right here we go...Modes de-mystified. NOTE: This deals only with the Modes of the Major Scale.

To begin with try to understand the major scale as a step pattern.
W W H W W W H. I am guessing you have this down already and understand it perfectly.

Now a modes are simply a matter of using the same pattern but a different root from along the pattern (thereby starting at a different place in the step pattern). So the step pattern above is the 1st mode of the Major Scale step pattern and is called Ionian.

If we start at the second place along the same pattern we get the second mode (Dorian) which will look like this:
W H W W W H W Compare this to the original Ionian step pattern and make sure you understand I got this Dorian mode.

Starting at the 3rd place in the pattern you get
H W W W H W W. This is the third mode Phrygian.

Write down the step patterns for all the modes. They are called Ionian Dorian Phrygian Lydian Mixolydian Aeolian Locrian. There are seven in total.

It is common to get caught up on relative modes (i.e. comparing C Ionian A Aeolian). But of more importance is to first concentrate on how changing the step pattern affects the intervals in relation to the root note.

If W W H W W W H is our Ionian Mode our notes will be
1 2 3 4 5 6 7. Notice there are no sharps or flats – because all the intervals here are major or perfect it is equivalent to the Major Scale.

If we look at our second mode the Dorian Mode the step pattern starts with the second step so looks like this = W H W W W H W
We can see the half steps are in a different place so this will change the distance between the root and some of the notes making them sharp or flat. What we end up with is
1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7

If you compare this to the Ionian Mode (Major Scale) you will notice the intervals between the scale degrees change. For example the distance between the 1st and 3rd scale degrees has changed from two Whole Steps in Ionian Mode to one Whole and one Half step in Dorian Mode. The 3rd scale degree is now a minor third interval and this is noted with the b3. Despite this change in the distance to the 3rd degree notice that the total distance between root and the fourth is still the same as in our Ionian Mode (Major Scale). The only other difference between Dorian (the second mode) and Ionian apart from the b3 is that the 7th is also minor in the Dorian Mode.

The Phrygian Mode = H W W W H W W
The notes are 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7.
You will see this retains the b6 and b3 in the Ionian but now the 2 and 6 are also flatted creating minor 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th intervals.

I don't know if you notice a pattern here but there is one.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
the next item in this pattern is b1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7. However what we call our root note is not important since the point of writing scales in this way is to measure the distance between the root and each scale degree. Hence we can keep the same interval structure between the notes b1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 by writing it as 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7. This is actually easier to understand since if our root note is C it is C and not Cb. I only wrote it the first way to show how the pattern works...and if we carry on...

Now lets see the last thing we flatted was the 5 and the 1. So for the next mode we will have to flat the 4 and the 7.
1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
Then we flat the 6 and the 3
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 (look familiar??)
and then we flat the 5 and 2
1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 (Locrian)
and then we flat the 4 and 1
b1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 b7 - hey wait there's a b1 lets rewrite this keeping the same interval structure between the notes = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 We are back to the start.

So here they are again without all the writing:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Ionian
1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 Dorian
1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 Phrygian
1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 Lydian
1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 Mixolydian
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 Aeolian
1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 Locrian

If you look at the intervals you will notice some important similarities which we turn to now.
Three of them have perfect fifth and major third intervals (This results in the tonic triad being major in quality). These are considered Major Modes.

Three of them have perfect fifth and minor third intervals (This results in the tonic triad being minor in quality. These are considered the minor Modes.

The Locrian has a diminished fifth and minor third intervals. (This results in the tonic triad being diminished in quality). This is the diminished mode.

There is no Augmented Mode.

However if we group these off into Major Minor and Diminished groups you will notice there is only a slight difference between modes of the same quality:
Major Modes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 = Ionian
1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 = Lydian
1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 = Mixolydian
You can see the difference between Lydian and Ionian is the #4 in the Lydian. This differentiating note is often referred to as the Modal Note. The Modal note of the Mixolydian is the b7 since it is this note that makes it different than the Ionian mode.

Minor Modes
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 = Aeolian
1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 = Dorian
1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 = Phrygian
The Aeolian is the minor mode to which the other minor modes are compared. See if you can work out the modal note of the Dorian and Phrygian Modes. (Hint: fill in the blank “The (Dorian/Phrygian) mode is like the Aeolian mode with a ________.)

Diminished Mode
1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 = Locrian modal note of the Locrian mode is the b5 since it is the only mode to have a b5 and consequently is a either a bit of a lone wolf or just a big ol' reject!

The best way to get to know modes is to learn the relationship between Parallel Modes.
Parallel Modes are modes that use the same root.
So C Ionian, C Dorian, C Phrygian, C Lydian, C Mixolydian, C Aeolian, and C Locrian are all parallel modes. Learning how to construct each of these and how each of them sound is important.

A Relative Modal relationship is when two modes use the same notes. Hence C Ionian, D Dorian, and A Aeolian are all Relative Modes. We can see this if we write them out.

Let’s start with C Ionian. Well this is just our major scale so C Ionian = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 = C D E F G A B.
D Dorian is the Aeolian Mode with a restored natural sixth.
1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 = D E F G A B C.
A Aeolian is the A natural Minor Scale
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 = A B C D E F G

As we can see D Dorian is a D rooted mode/scale that uses the same notes as the C major scale (which is a C rooted scale). The C Major scale is said to be the parent scale since it is the Major Scale that contains the same notes as all the “relative” modes. This is an important relationship to be aware of and understand. Knowing how to find the "Parent Scale" of a given mode is crucial. It makes it a lot simpler to know when you are learning the patterns on your fretboard.

The problem with relative modes is that people think it is a shortcut to learning modes. They think if they learn the Relative Modes for each major scale they will know modes. Unfortunately all they really end up knowing is the major scale. You really need to take the time to understand how the modes are constructed and the similarities and differences between the parallel modes (modes with the same root). Then you will be better set to really use modes well.

There are three basic ways to use Modes.
1. As a source of melodic ideas over specific chords in a progression. For this to work you need the chord to last long enough to fully develop a melodic idea. You will also need to have a good knowledge of chord construction and which modes will work over what chords.

The modes that work over a certain chord will be the modes that naturally spell out that chord. So over a Xmaj7 chord you will be looking for a mode with a 1 3 5 7 which would be a major mode. Of the three Mixolydian will NOT naturally spell out this chord because it has a b7. Either the Lydian or Ionian will work over that chord.

A chord such as Xm9 would need a mode that has 1 2(9) b3 5 b7 The flat third makes it a minor mode we are looking for, and it has to have a natural 2 so either Aeolian or Dorian will work but Phrygian will not since it contains a b2.

This way of playing is ideal when there are a lot of “out of key” or non-diatonic chords in a progression.

2. As a source of melodic ideas over modal chord progressions. This is where a mode is used to create melodies over a harmony built from the same mode. Most or all of our chords here will be built by harmonizing a specific mode and the progression will be constructed so as to highlight the right root note. We then use the mode as a melodic tool over the entire chord progression.

3. As altered scales. Certain chord progressions will create an expectation for certain modes or scales to be used. Flavour can be added by using a different mode than the one expected. This has to be done with care though as if done wrong it will bomb.

The idea here is that you will start introducing new notes from outside the key of scale that the chord or progression might imply in order to achieve a specific effect. This is where knowing your major and minor mode groups is good. This is the most difficult since you are more likely to have clashes and when such clashes are not played with confidence they can cause a wreck.

The best way to start with modes is simply a single chord vamp. Record a couple bars of C major and then play each of the C major modes over the top of it. Do the same with C minor and each of the C minor modes over it.
Last edited by demonofthenight at Dec 3, 2008,
i can play the modes down one string so the next step is to just work it out over all the strings then?
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Lots of lulz were produced, thankyou good sir
Just listen to the harmony well and try to make your own melodies.
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You probably need to put modes on the backburner for a while, you've only just started learning the major scale and it'll take you a while to absorb that fully.

Modes aren't as straightforward as "boxes on the fretboard" or "where you start the scale from" - arguably those things are really nothing to do with what modes are, they're just simply where you'll find those notes at certain places on the fretboard.

There's no point just learning the patterns because any single pattern actally represents 7 different scales.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Dec 3, 2008,
Quote by wigzwamz
so ive read all the lessons on modes trying to understand them and see if im correct here

so the modes are

1.ionian (OR MAJOR) C D E F G A B C or WWHWWWH or 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2.dorian C D Eb F G A Bb C or WHWWWHW or 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
3.phyrigian C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C or HWWWHWW or 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
4.lydian C D E F# G A B C or WWWHWWH or 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
5.mixolydian C D E F G A Bb C or WWHWWHW or 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
6.aeolian (OR MINOR) C D Eb F G Ab Bb C or WHWWHWW or 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
7.locrian C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C or HWWHWWW or 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

then it repeats it self

so now all i need to do is learn the boxes for the dorian, phygrian, lydian,mixolydian and locrian modes right?
FIXED - compare the modes of the same root (parallel modes) rather than the modes that, just by coincidence, use the same notes (relative modes). That way you can see how each has it's own unique interval structure and character. This is also why I included the numerical structure of each mode also.

The modes are not unique box patterns. They share the same box patterns as the Major Scale.

Stick with the major scale and learn it in lot's of different patterns over the fretboard - but don't call these patterns different "modes". If someone teaches you that way they have learnt it wrong themselves. Just rename the patterns and learn them as patterns of the major scale. Then move onto modes and how to apply them once you have the major scale sorted.

Good Luck