#1
I tried searching but couldn't find exactly what I wanted so can any one tell me what the difference between the Ionian and Locrian scale is? Other than the shape, they sound the same if you play them and both roots can be found on the 6th string. So I could play C Ionian or C Locrian and they'll sound the same starting from the root note. So whats the difference? Are these scales interchangeable?
#2
The locrian scale consists of a minor scale with a b2 and a b5, the Ionian scale is just a major scale. The difference is the b2,b3,b5,b6, and b7.

Are you thinking of another scale?

Edit: I think I see what you're saying now. Yes, C Ionian IS the same as B Locrian (not C Locrian), except in B Locrian, you would put more emphasis on the B, D, and F (B's tritone, or aug4/dim5). The tritone is what gives the scale the very dissonant sound. The difference between each mode is simply which note you start the piece in and which notes you emphasize. Hope that helps more.
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Last edited by theacousticpunk at Dec 10, 2008,
#3
the first note of the locrian mode is the 7th of the ionian mode, but most pppl dont even bother with locrian cause its so similar to the major scale
#4
Quote by spike41tv
the first note of the locrian mode is the 7th of the ionian mode, but most pppl dont even bother with locrian cause its so similar to the major scale

But isn't the Ionian scale technically the major scale also?
#5
Quote by Fender_Fever
But isn't the Ionian scale technically the major scale also?



Yes the Ionian mode is technically the major scale, it is built on the first scale degree.
#7
Quote by spike41tv
the first note of the locrian mode is the 7th of the ionian mode, but most pppl dont even bother with locrian cause its so similar to the major scale



What!!!!!! the locrian mode is nothing like ionian/major scale. play them side by side and there is a huge differance.
#8
Ionian and Locrian are as different as the modes get.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

What's happening is you're playing Locrian, but because Locrian is built on the leading tone and extremely unstable, you let it resolve back to the 1 of its relative Ionian.
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#9
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
Ionian and Locrian are as different as the modes get.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

What's happening is you're playing Locrian, but because Locrian is built on the leading tone and extremely unstable, you let it resolve back to the 1 of its relative Ionian.

SO what/why is it so "unstable"? And yes I'm not playing the full Locrian scale. Im just playing it from the root of C to its ocatave.
#10
Quote by Fender_Fever
SO what/why is it so "unstable"? And yes I'm not playing the full Locrian scale. Im just playing it from the root of C to its ocatave.
Please read the theory lesson in my sig. You've got to walk before you run.
#11
^ What he said ^ Try not to make it any harder than it is. Ionian is starting on the first note of a particular scale and Locrian is starting on the last note of that a scale. None of the notes in that particular scale are going to change. As for the formulas

Ionian - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Locrian - 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

Using G Major for example.

Ionian - G A B C D E F# With this in mind G - A is 1 step no sharp no flat now look at Locrian.

Locrian - F# G A B C D E When starting at F# and going to G, you only go a half step therefor you are going against the rules of your major scale wwhwwwh. When applying the formula 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 think of it as if it was a major scale before. That G would then be a G# in order to follow the rule wwhwwwh and same for the following notes they would be changed to fit that wwhwwwh formula.

I hope this didn't confuse you
#13
Quote by rebel624
^ What he said ^ Try not to make it any harder than it is. Ionian is starting on the first note of a particular scale and Locrian is starting on the last note of that a scale. None of the notes in that particular scale are going to change. As for the formulas

Ionian - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Locrian - 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

Using G Major for example.

Ionian - G A B C D E F# With this in mind G - A is 1 step no sharp no flat now look at Locrian.

Locrian - F# G A B C D E When starting at F# and going to G, you only go a half step therefor you are going against the rules of your major scale wwhwwwh. When applying the formula 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 think of it as if it was a major scale before. That G would then be a G# in order to follow the rule wwhwwwh and same for the following notes they would be changed to fit that wwhwwwh formula.

I hope this didn't confuse you


Thanks. I read some of that theory on scales from the guys sig above, then read this and I understand better what you all are saying. Thanks! Theres 1 last question, if both the major and locrian scale sound almost exactly alike why would you know about the locrian scale at all?!
Last edited by Fender_Fever at Dec 10, 2008,
#14
Quote by Fender_Fever
Thanks. I read some of that theory on scales from the guys sig above, then read this and I understand better what you all are saying. Thanks! Theres 1 last question, if both the major and locrian scale sound almost exactly alike why would you know about the locrian scale at all?!


You're still missing very fundamental understanding. The locrian and ionian modes
sound nothing like each other. What you're missing is that scale degrees ALSO define
the scale. Modes of each other all have the same notes, but the degrees are different.
#15
well basically its not going to sound alike. It's that little difference in the root note which changes the mood between different modes in a scale. The modes give you the Majors and Minors and this is what gives you particular feelings in a song. So If you play the G Ionian mode over a G Major Chord it will sound different then playing a G Locrian mode over that G Chord, all because your starting on a different root note. Root being first note if you didn't know. Its not going to sound the same starting with the F# note and playing through the G scale and Starting with G and playing through the G scale for they both give you different beginnings and ends. Hope this helps, and SRY charlote now i know.
Last edited by rebel624 at Dec 10, 2008,
#16
Ionian and Locrian sound nothing alike, used correctly. Modes are very rarely truly used, and Locrian is almost definitely the least often used because it is difficult to write with. Locrian is based off of the tone that most strongly wants to resolve back to the major scale, so getting it to resolve back to its own root can be difficult.
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#17
Quote by rebel624
well basically its not going to sound alike. It's that little difference in the root note which changes the mood between different modes in a scale. The modes give you the Majors and Minors and this is what gives you particular feelings in a song. So If you play the G Ionian mode over a G Major Chord it will sound different then playing a G Locrian mode over that G Chord, all because your starting on a different root note. Root being first note if you didn't know. Its not going to sound the same starting with the F# note and playing through the G scale and Starting with G and playing through the G scale for they both give you different beginnings and ends. Hope this helps, and SRY charlote now i know.

WOW! I feel so stupid now. I was so confused at what the root note truly meant. I have been following along with the UGG series that ZeG has been witting and on all his scale diagrams the MAJOR root has been highlighted. I have been think that this whole time all the highlighted notes meant the root, but its just the MAJOR root of the mode, right? Meaning, C is the major root of all C scales?

And in the lesson charolet told me to read (i am reading but not comprehending) the author say
Ionian - C D E F G A B C
&
Lydian - C D E F# G A B C

And I thought when you used modes, the notes stayed the same but started at different parts of the scale? is F# (written out) still the same as F (when played) for that particular mode?
Last edited by Fender_Fever at Dec 10, 2008,
#18
C would be the root of the C Ionian also called Major scale, but as you move to the Dorian mode of the C Major scale your root note is D since Dorian is the Second Mode of a Major Scale. So E would be the root of your 3rd mode Phrygian and so on. Remember your major scale has 7 notes which leads to 7 different modes 1. Ionian(same as major scale) 2. Dorian 3.Phrygian 4. Lydian 5. Mixolydian 6. Aeolian 7. Locrian. Knowing this you can now apply that in a major scale you have Major Minor Minor Major Major Minor Diminished. Now you know what each mode is Major/Minor wise it goes in that order. Although this is important to know there is alot of other things to know, but from what I have read I am assuming this is what you are working on. Hope this helps.
Last edited by rebel624 at Dec 10, 2008,
#19
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
Ionian and Locrian sound nothing alike, used correctly. Modes are very rarely truly used, and Locrian is almost definitely the least often used because it is difficult to write with. Locrian is based off of the tone that most strongly wants to resolve back to the major scale, so getting it to resolve back to its own root can be difficult.



Whats is truly used? Alot of pop songs are mixolydian, especially the ones that are released as summer hits.

The cult - She sells sanctuary (D mixolydian)
Ac Dc - Money Talks (D mixolydian)
Kelly Clarkson - Since you've been gone (mixolydian, forgot which key)
metallica - Enter Sandman (Intro E Locrian)
Michael Jackson - Earth song (A Dorian)
Frank Zappa- My Guitar wants to kill yo Momma (E Lydian)
ZELDA - Spirit Temple (Phrygian I believe in the key of E )


Modes are used quite alot in pop music; and even more in instrumental music.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Dec 11, 2008,
#20
Quote by Fender_Fever
WOW! I feel so stupid now. I was so confused at what the root note truly meant. I have been following along with the UGG series that ZeG has been witting and on all his scale diagrams the MAJOR root has been highlighted. I have been think that this whole time all the highlighted notes meant the root, but its just the MAJOR root of the mode, right? Meaning, C is the major root of all C scales?

And in the lesson charolet told me to read (i am reading but not comprehending) the author say

And I thought when you used modes, the notes stayed the same but started at different parts of the scale? is F# (written out) still the same as F (when played) for that particular mode?

To compare modes you have to look at PARALLEL modes - that means modes that have the same root note, so listen to C locrian in comparison to C major.

Also, modes are not just "where you start the scale", that's just a quick way to find the patterns. Modes are defined by what you're playing over - if you don't have a backing that implies or forces a modal tonality things tend to find themselves resolving to the relative major or minor key.

In practice modes are really nothing to do with the scale you derive them from, they're a scale in their own right with a unique set of intervals that will give a unique "flavour" when played over the correct backing.
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#21
I read up on some more mode stuff and understand now. A parallel mode of C would be like C Ionian and C Lydian. And then a mode of the C major scale would be C Ionian and B Locrian which consist of the same notes as the C major scale. Is this all correct now?
#24
Quote by rebel624
C would be the root of the C Ionian also called Major scale, but as you move to the Dorian mode of the C Major scale your root note is D since Dorian is the Second Mode of a Major Scale. So E would be the root of your 3rd mode Phrygian and so on. Remember your major scale has 7 notes which leads to 7 different modes 1. Ionian(same as major scale) 2. Dorian 3.Phrygian 4. Lydian 5. Mixolydian 6. Aeolian 7. Locrian. Knowing this you can now apply that in a major scale you have Major Minor Minor Major Major Minor Diminished. Now you know what each mode is Major/Minor wise it goes in that order. Although this is important to know there is alot of other things to know, but from what I have read I am assuming this is what you are working on. Hope this helps.


Scales don't have "roots", chords have roots.

Within the genus under discussion, the first note of the the scales and modes you refer to is called the "tonic", edit: or at least it is called that in the tonal system where the scale or mode implies a tonal centre.
Last edited by R.Christie at Dec 12, 2008,
#25
Quote by Fender_Fever
WOW! I feel so stupid now. I was so confused at what the root note truly meant. I have been following along with the UGG series that ZeG has been witting and on all his scale diagrams the MAJOR root has been highlighted. I have been think that this whole time all the highlighted notes meant the root, but its just the MAJOR root of the mode, right? Meaning, C is the major root of all C scales?

And in the lesson charolet told me to read (i am reading but not comprehending) the author say

And I thought when you used modes, the notes stayed the same but started at different parts of the scale? is F# (written out) still the same as F (when played) for that particular mode?


You have to understand that C Ionian C D E F G A is of the C Major scale and C D E F# G A is of the G Major scale because it is C lydian. Only one scale contains a "C" lydian which is the scale of G. There are not to different modes starting with C in the C major scale, only a C Ionian. If you see something like this

1. G A B C D E F# and then 2. G A B C D E F

you can tell that 1. is just the Ionian of G and then looking at 2. you will notice there isn't a sharp at all so that cant be a G major scale. So what scale has no sharps and flats? C of course, so 2. is the G mixolydian mode of C because G is the 5th note in the major scale of C.
Last edited by rebel624 at Mar 11, 2009,
#26
Play a Bbm7b5, otherwise known as half-diminished. Then play the C major scale from B to B. The chord it is played over will give you a better idea of the sound.

Yes, the "fingering patterns" of all these scales is the same. You merely call a different note the root. Check out the videos in my sig.
Last edited by revtfunk at Mar 11, 2009,
#27
Quote by rebel624
You have to understand that C Ionian C D E F G A is of the C Major scale and C D E F# G A is of the G Major scale because it is C lydian. Only one scale contains a "C" lydian which is the scale of G. There are not to different modes starting with C in the C major scale, only a C Ionian. If you see something like this

1. G A B C D E F# and then 2. G A B C D E F

you can tell that 1. is just the Ionian of G and then looking at 2. you will notice there isn't a sharp at all so that cant be a G major scale. So what scale has no sharps and flats? C of course, so 2. is the G mixolydian mode of C because G is the 5th note in the major scale of C.


I think instead of memorizing the order of modes built off major scale degrees it would be better to just learn to construct them. EX. Instead of I know its G mixolydian because there is no F#, I know it's G mixolydian because its a G major scale with a minor seventh.
#29
Right here we go...pretty much everything you need to know about modes.
It's long but hopefully gives you enough for a crystal clear understanding. Hopefully

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 modes are simply a matter of using the same pattern but a different tonic/final 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 how 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 in quality. 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 tonic and some of the scale degrees making the intervals minor, diminished, or augmented.
Using the Dorian mode 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 result of this change is that 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 the tonic and the 4th is still the same as in our Ionian Mode (Major Scale). The only other difference is that the 7th is also minor.

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 from the Dorian Mode but now the 2 and 6 are also flatted creating minor 2nd, minor 3rd, minor 6th, and minor 7th intervals in the Phrygian Mode.

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 sequence in this pattern would be b1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7. This is kind of confusing having a b1. And we can write the same step pattern by writing it as 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 which is our Lydian Mode or fourth mode. This is much clearer and easier to understand since writing b1 is rather silly. I only wrote it the first way to show how the pattern does indeed continue...and if we carry on...

Now lets see...the last thing we flatted in that fourth mode was the 5 and the 1. For the next the fifth mode (Mixolydian) 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 in fact they’re all flat. 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 the modes that fit in the same group:
Major Modes (modes that contain a root major third and perfect fifth)
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 (modes that contain a root minor third and perfect fifth)
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 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.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Mar 11, 2009,
#30
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. Another way of using modes is 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 clearly identify the correct tonic. We then use the mode as a melodic tool over the entire chord progression.

Sometimes you might just create a solid rhythmic riff from a mode and then use the mode to solo over the riff. Or the modal chord progression you solo over might simply be a chord vamp or pedal bass note.

For more information on creating modal chord progressions you might check out this thread How to Make a Modal 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 because if done wrong it will bomb big time.

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.

How to start with modes...

The best way to start with modes is simply with a single chord vamp or pedal bass note. Loop a few 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.

For a pedal bass note use a simple C bass note and play around with each mode over that bass for a while. The bass will keep you centred on the right tonic as you explore the sound of each individual mode.

For more on Modes including examples of the various modes used in real music check out the thread by xxdarrenxx The Modes Explained

These approaches will get you used to the subtleties of each mode compared to it’s parallels.

Best of Luck
Si
#31
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

To someone new to music/scales/theory...i would find this approach too confusing...
this seems like "seven different scales" ...with many different tone names and on top of it "mode" names...

my approach is to not even mention the word "mode" until the word "scale" is fully digested...thus you would stay in "one tonal center" making the scale very easy to understand "numerically"

scale tones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7 1
3 4 5 6 7 1 2
4 5 6 7 1 2 3
5 6 7 1 2 3 4
6 7 1 2 3 4 5
7 1 2 3 4 5 6

now you have your scale using each degree as a starting point and its the SAME in every KEY....and it makes sense vertically & horizontially...

assigning names to the patterns will be far easier once the patterns are understood

play well

wolf
#32
Quote by xxdarrenxx
Whats is truly used? Alot of pop songs are mixolydian, especially the ones that are released as summer hits.

The cult - She sells sanctuary (D mixolydian)
Ac Dc - Money Talks (D mixolydian)
Kelly Clarkson - Since you've been gone (mixolydian, forgot which key)
metallica - Enter Sandman (Intro E Locrian)
Michael Jackson - Earth song (A Dorian)
Frank Zappa- My Guitar wants to kill yo Momma (E Lydian)
ZELDA - Spirit Temple (Phrygian I believe in the key of E )


Modes are used quite alot in pop music; and even more in instrumental music.


When you say a song is mixolydian, are you referring to the main melody? Also, I'm confused on AC/DC being D mixolydian. We agree that the song is in the key of G, but wouldn't the main melody be B phrygian? If I remember correctly, the melody goes: B A B C B A G A.
#33
Quote by wolflen
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

To someone new to music/scales/theory...i would find this approach too confusing...
this seems like "seven different scales" ...with many different tone names and on top of it "mode" names...

my approach is to not even mention the word "mode" until the word "scale" is fully digested...thus you would stay in "one tonal center" making the scale very easy to understand "numerically"

scale tones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7 1
3 4 5 6 7 1 2
4 5 6 7 1 2 3
5 6 7 1 2 3 4
6 7 1 2 3 4 5
7 1 2 3 4 5 6

now you have your scale using each degree as a starting point and its the SAME in every KEY....and it makes sense vertically & horizontially...

assigning names to the patterns will be far easier once the patterns are understood

play well

wolf


Okay I assume you fully understand what a scale is right?

If you're unsure - let me tell you, it's a step pattern that cycles through the 12 tones of our musical system.
The Chromatic scale is H H H H H H H H H H H.
The Major scale is the unique step pattern W W H W W W H.
The Whole Tone scale is W W W W W W.
The Whole Half diminished scale is W H W H W H W H.
The Major Pentatonic scale is W W H+W W W+H
The Harmonic Minor Scale is W H W W H W+H H
The Melodic Minor Scale is W H W W W W H

Notice that none of these step patterns are the same no matter what order you put them in. They are all different scales with unique step patterns. That is what a scale is. Think of them like a ladder with differently spaced rungs used to climb through the notes.

A mode is simply using the same sequence of steps, the same overall step pattern, but starting on the next "rung of the step pattern to get a new way of moving through the 12 notes of our musical system.

The Major Scale then W W H W W W H. This is our parent scale. Our initial unique step pattern. It is also the 1st Mode of the scale. By starting on the next rung we get W H W W W H which is our second mode. Then starting on the next "rung in the ladder" is H W W W H W W then W W W H W W H then on the next rung we would get W W H W W H W etc, etc.

These are all different "modes" of the Parent Scale we used with it's unique step pattern which in this case was the Major Scale.

That is what modes actually are that is all there is to it. I believe learning this way is far more beneficial then just learning that they are "the same notes starting at a different place" because it allows you to see the inner workings and why each mode is different than the other's - they have different structures.
W W H W W W H is different from
H W W H W W W even though they use the same Parent Scale as you work through the steps from the same tonic note they will yield very different results.

The numerical approach is used to write the resulting scale degrees and relationships from any given scale or mode step pattern without reference to specific pitches. The point of the numeric system is to indicate different relationships between each degree and the Tonic.
W W H W W W H gives you 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.
W H W W W H gives you 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 = Dorian or the second mode of the Major Scale.

Writing Dorian as 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 tells us nothing. It is simply the major scale starting on the second note. What is vitally important to really understanding modes is that the notes have different functions. Looking at that the tonic is still 1 it's just being played at the end. The 3 is still a major third just in a different place etc. The place in the scale doesn't matter what matters is their relationship to the tonic which is ALWAYS 1 in numerical representation.

It is confusing and misleading to teach people that the number 2 now represents the tonic and the 4 represents the minor 3rd the 6 represents a perfect 5th etc.

Can you see how it is misleading?

The Dorian mode has a minor 3rd a major 6 and a minor 7 in relation to the major scale. The ONLY way to represent this numerically is as follows...
1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 It would be a disservice to teach people Dorian as 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 and will only confuse them with bad information that needs to be corrected later.

Understanding how the modes work with the scales as step patterns gets to the heart of the differences and how the modes are derived. The numerical representations show the results of the those differences. If it takes a while to learn this stuff then it takes a while to learn but really it's not that hard once you get it - it's a fairly easy concept.

You can then start applying the concept of modes to other scales.
For example the chromatic scale would be this...
Chromatic Scale = H H H H H H H H H H H = 1 b2 2 b3 3 b4 4 b5 5 b6 6 b7 7

Following your advice the Chromatic scale would have modes like this b2 2 b3 3 b4 4 b5 5 b6 6 b7 7 1. (now that's confusing).

Following my advice the next mode would be H H H H H H H H H H H - exactly the same as the original chromatic scale. Which means = there is only one "mode" of the chromatic scale since the step pattern is the same no matter which rung of the ladder we start on.

The Harmonic Minor step pattern is W H W W H W+H H = 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7

Using your system the fifth mode of harmonic minor would be 5 b6 b7 1 b2 3 4 (how confusing is that?!?)

Using the correct waythe fifth mode of the Harmonic Minor would be
H W+H H W H W W = 1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7

Learning the correct way you can see that 1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7 is similar to the Phrygian Mode except with a major 3rd. The result is a mode that has Phrygian qualities in it's b2 and b6 but also has a 1 3 5 b7 that outlines a dominant 7 chord. The result is the name of this mode being Phrygian Dominant.

If we viewed the Phrygian mode as you do 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 and the fifth mode of the harmonic minor as 5 b6 b7 1 b2 3 4 we would have difficulty seeing the relationships that are so clear using the correct method I set out in the paragraph above.

Yes it can take time to learn the different modes and how they differ. This is why I tried to show the pattern that the modes follow as you move through them one by one in my last post. Recognizing this pattern made it very easy for me to remember the modes quickly and easily.

But if it takes time then it takes time. But it is best to learn them properly and what they REALLY are not just that they are "the major scale starting on a different note". It is important to realize they have fundamentally different underlying structures that result in completely different scale degrees and relationships - yet at the same time they do share something with the parent scale.

Learn them right from the start and they will be easy. Learn them wrong and it will be more difficult and confusing in the long run. If you don't think your student fully understand what a scale is and isn't ready for modes and you won't even mention modes to them why on earth would you try to teach them modes wrong anyway? Just stick to the major scale.

But give the student credit. If they want to learn and ask you about modes teach them right don't give them bad information just because you think they won't understand the correct way.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Mar 11, 2009,