Im just starting to learn modes and im very confused. So in the magazine Im reading it says that the formula for aeolian is 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7. But if i took 1 as E, would it go E F bG as the first three degrees? Im EXTREMELY confused ! And is D dorian in the key of C? The magazine total guitar has got me really confused! Im a complete beginner to this so go easy lol.
those formulas refer to the major scale


1 - first note in the major scale
2 - second note
b3 - the thrid note of the major scale flattened
4 - the fourth note of the major scale
5 - the fifthe note of the major scale
b6 - the sixth note of the major scale flattened
b7 - the seventh note of the major scale flattened

hope that helped a bit

and yes D dorian contains the same notes as C major, so it is in the key of C major yes
1 - 2 - b3 in E would be E - F# - G.

[B]E Ionian[/B] - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 1.
E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - D# - E[/B].

[B]E Aeolian[/B] - 1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7 - 1.

[B]E - F# - G - A - B - C - D - E[/B].

And yes, D Dorian would be in the key of C.
I actually don't know much else, but if that's the formula and you're starting on E, then it would be E, F#,G... etc.

[edit.. this guy has it! haah)
You take the major scale and use the formula for the mode from there.

D Dorian is indeed in the key of C. If you have trouble figuring out what mode is in what key, here's what I would do. I think there is a more practical way though.

Let's say you want to find out what key C# Phrygian is in.

The order of modes in a major scale is:


So I would plug in C# Phrygian to that pattern.

C# Phrygian

Then, I'd figure out what major scale has C# and has C# as it's third degree. That would be A major. So the modes in A major are:

A Ionian
B Dorian
C# Phrygian
D Lydian
E Mixolydian
F# Aeolian
G# Locrian

The scale degree formula for Aeolian (1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7) is in relation to Ionian. You could look at it like... the E Aeolian scale degree formula is in relation to its paralell major, E Ionian.

So let's take E Ionian and number the notes with the major scale degree formula.

E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - D# - E.
1 - 2  - 3  - 4 - 5 - 6 -  7  - 1.

Using what you know (The Aeolian formula - 1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7) you should be able to see how it relates.

1 - Unaltered: [B]E[/B].
2 - Unaltered: [B]F#[/B].
3 - Flattened: [B]G[/B]. ([I]Take the G# and make it flat = G[/I])
4 - Unaltered: [B]A[/B].
5 - Unaltered: [B]B[/B].
6 - Flattened: [B]C[/B]. ([I]Take C# and make it flat = C[/I])
7 - Flattened: [B]D[/B]. ([I]Take D# and make it flat = D[/I])
1 - Unaltered: [B]E[/B].

Which leaves you with the notes...

E - F# - G - A - B - C - D - E <-- E Aeolian

Make more sense?
Thank you! Thanl you! Thank you! Finally its starting to make more sense! Just out of curiosity, was it you or someone else I gave the backing track to the crappy clean electric thing ages ago? Ok... that was random.
Quote by duggyrocks
I still dont understand. Wouldnt 1 be E, 2 is F and b3 is F#? Please explain why 2 is F# and not F.
To really get your head around this you need to be comfortable with intervals, key signatures and the Circle of Fifths. I suggest you take a deep breath, forget about the key of E major for now (which has four sharps), and concentrate for the time being on the key of C (zero sharps, zero flats).

Starting with C, the tonic, the tones of the C major scale / Ionian mode are...

C D E F G A B and back to C

The Aeolian mode, as you no doubt know, begins and ends on the sixth degree of the major scale. The sixth degree in our C major scale is A.

Starting and ending this Aeolain mode on A gives us this sequence of tones:


From a scale-degree standpoint, this sequence looks like this:

1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 1

You'll notice that this is the precise sequence Total Guitar presented. But how can this be? Where did the b3, b6 and b7 designations come from?

Write this down and memorize it...

Scale-degree and interval analysis are always based on the practice of temporarily assigning the tonic or root role to the lowest tone of the scale or interval, respectively.

Now what the hell does this mean?

This means, using our example Aeolian mode built on A, that A has become the temporary tonic of an equally-temporary A major scale. In other words, for the duration of the analysis, we have modulated from the key of C major to the key of A major.

I love this stuff!

Anyway, the key of A major has three sharps: F#, C# and G#. Please pay particular attention to this next statement, as this is the heart of the matter...

The three tones that receive sharps in the key of A major, namely F, C and G, are the same tones affected by flats in the Aeolian mode formula.

I have just now noticed that the ever-helpful Johnljones7443 beat me with his excellent explanation so I'll close this out. If you have any more questions just give a ring.

All the best - gpb
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
Quote by Freepower
For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
I just read the top, and fellow, just to let you know, you have to have one of each note unless you have more than 7 tones, so like they were telling you, yes, it would go E F# then G(first minor notes of E minor) but you have to pay close attention to your modal formulas so that you don't flatten more than need be. .. Ionian-1-2-3-4-5-6-7 or in terms of whole steps and half steps, one whole step from the first note, one whole step from the second note, one half step above the third note, one whole step above the fourth note, one whole step above the fifth note and one whole step above the sixth note, allowing a half step to your octave. . . . but of course the order itself is like erm, Ionian(natural major), then Dorian(1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7) then Phrygian(1-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7) then Mixolydian(dominant)(1-2-3-4-5-6-b7) then Aeolian(natural minor)(1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7) then to Locrian(halfdiminished)(1-b2-b3-4-b5-b6-b7) it occurs naturally by starting on each tone in in the C Major scale, then progress upwards one tone each time, thus giving the natural mode formulas a discovery made in Medival churchs and blah blah blah. . . .
When I first learned modes I found it easier to remember the WWHWWWH for the Major scale, everyone thas in high school band class knows it. To find the modes all you do is Move the W or H to the end and thats the way to get the next mode.
For example
Phrygian HWWWHWW
I don't know if that helps but thats how I learned them and then I went back and learned the number way: 1-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7, Phrygian.
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