I'm not completely sure what are the differences between the two.
Like are modes scales that are within another scale?
Like In a G Major scale, you can play as a Dorian mode or Ionian?

I'm not completely sure because the book I bought doesn't talk about them.
I dont know... and Im too lazy to go get my theory book
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A mode is a part of a scale.. Like.. Hmm.. Okay I won't explain. Both the definitions I thought of ar e shitty.

An example using the Gmajor scale.
Ionian mode = G major scale (1st mode)
Dorian = G major scale, but starting on the note A (2nd mode)
etc etc

Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolean, Locrian

I'm pretty sure the mode has to do with what note in the scale you start with.

But I know nothing about theory so I may be wrong.

EDIT: The guy above me got there first. But I'm glad I was right.

My Guitars:
Fender Mustang.
Yamaha FG-413SL.
i think (not completely sure) that a mode is a scale with the root note switched... although, if i were you, i wouldn't really trust me on it

EDIT: awesome, i kind of got that right!
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Last edited by SOADrox429 at Mar 18, 2007,
It is confusing.

Every Scale degree of a scale has a mode associated with it. There are 7 modes, and they are scales in themselves. I understand that makes no sense whatsoever, but its the way it is.

in the key of C you have

the major scale is:


So if you start at C, the mode that makes up the C major scale is the Ionian mode, which itself is the major scale. The mode that starts on D that makes up the C major scale is the Dorian mode. The mode that starts on E that makes up the C major scale is the Phyrgian and so on...
Last edited by Dude121 at Mar 18, 2007,
Should I know all of them?
So far I"m just practicing basic diatonic (major?) scales.
check out my edit, I elaborated a little bit.

I started learning them and although a couple are extremely rare in modern music, its doesn't hurt to learn them, and they make great warmup excersizes.
Another question is, I've been mostly playing scales on the first four frets on my guitar, because I've just started guitar theory and how to read sheet music. How do I know when to move it higher down the frets. Like for example the G scale. When I'm reading a two octave G scale on sheet music, I start on the sixth string (3rd) fret, If I wanted to move it down, since G can be played on a lot of places on the guitar.

Also, how do I know when I'm reading sheet music when to move down into deeper frets like 5th and 7th. I kind of want to be able to play in the middle of the neck more now instead of just playing on the first four frets of my guitar.
Sorry if that sounded jumbled, I'm still a bit confused with a whole music theory in general and scales.

what doesit mean by different scale positions?
Last edited by RockettBoy at Mar 18, 2007,
Modes are basically scales. They are created using formulas derieved from scales.
What i mean by this:

If you take a Major scales intervals:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

There, you have a scale. A Mode uses the SAME scale, but a different ROOT note (and set of intervals, but ill show you later).

So, Lydian is the second mode of the major scale, therefore you would start on the second interval: so it would go 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 to an extent. I have wrote an indepth lesson about modes. Ill find it and post it here.
Been away, am back
Welcome all to my first installment covering modes In these few lessons, I hope to explain in detail what modes are, how they work and how they can be applied to music.

In this lesson, I assume you already know the basics of music theory. There are two things you must know before going onto modes. The first is the Major scale. This is very important, make sure you know it inside out and back to front! And also, you need to know about intervals.

Ready to learn about the awesomeness of modes!? Read on...



 [b]1.0[/b]    Enharmonics and Diatonics              Installment 1
 [b]2.0[/b]    Modes Defined                          Installment 1
   [b]2.1[/b]  Modes Feelings                         installment 1

 [b]3.0[/b]    Constructing Modes                     Installment 1
   [b]3.1[/b]  Example 1: Dorian Mode construction    Installment 1
   [b]3.2[/b]  Example 2: A# Phrygian Mode            Installment 1
   [b]3.3[/b]  List of Intervals                      Installment 1

 [b]4.0[/b]    Chords Over Modes                      Installment 2
 [b]5.0[/b]    Modal Chord Progressions               Installment 3
 [b]6.0[/b]    Harmonic and Melodic Minor Modes       Installment 4


1.0 - Enharmonically Speaking

Ok, before we go on, theres one thing you need to know. Enharmonics, and Diatonics.

A Definition for enharmonics means Two names for one meaning.
Ok, lets use an audible example. Play the 2nd fret of the Low E String. Hear that? It is a half step above F, and can be called F#. However, it is a half step below G and so it can also be called Gb. These are exactly the same thing.

Another example, the 1st fret of the B string. This is a C note. However, its also called B#.
Below, i have included a list of enharmonics, just for your knowledge:
A -> A#/Bb -> B/Cb -> B#/C -> C#/Db -> D -> D#/Eb -> E/Fb -> E#/F -> F#/Gb -> G -> G#/Ab

The next thing, is Diatonics. This means you need, in a 7 tone scale, each note used at least once.

For example, in the C Major scale, we use all the notes:
C D E F G A B C. This scale, is therefore, diatonically correct.

Lets use another example. The F# Major scale, but make it diatonically incorrect:
E Gb Ab A B Db Eb E
Why isnt this scale diatonically correct? Well look at it. Where is the F note and C note? Why has the A and E notes been used twice?!

This can easily be solved using enharmonics:
E F# G# A B C# D# E
Fb Gb Ab Bbb Cbb Db Eb Fb

These are both enharmonically and diatonically correct versions of the E (or Fb) Major scale.

2.0 - Modes Defined

Modes are much like scales. They are a series of intervals, which with a scale key provide a series of pitches.
You can build modes of any scale. But for the time being, and to avoid confusion, I'll only be talking about modes of the major scale.

The difference between modes and scales, is that a mode comes from a scale. For example, the C Major scale has these notes:

A Mode is basically, the exact same scale, but starting on a different note. Therefore, the first mode of the C Major scale

would be this:

A good way to see how this works, is to look at the diagram of modes below. Each mode is derieved from the C Major scale.

C ionian:   C D E F G A B C
D dorian:     D E F G A B C D
E phrygian:     E F G A B C D E
F lydian:         F G A B C D E F
G mixolydian:       G A B C D E F G
A aeolian:            A B C D E F G A
B locrian:              B C D E F G A B

There are 7 different notes in the major scale. This means, we can create a total of 7 different modes from the major scale

alone. These modes are:
- Ionian
- Dorian
- Phrygian
- Lydian
- Mixolydian
- Aeolian
- Locrian

2.1 - Modes Feelings

Each mode of the major scale can create its own, individual sound. However, you can only accomplish this sound by learning the theory behind modes. So what do I mean, "individual sounds"?
Well, Each one of those 7 modes can, if used properly, sound distinctive. Guitarists use modes in to suit the feeling of the song they are trying to write. If they are trying to write a happy song, they'll use a certain mode, if they try to give the song a sad sound, they'll use another mode. And so on.

3.0 - Constructing Modes

This part of the lesson will either be very confusing, or very simple, although, when you understand how it works, and it suddenly clicks, it'll all make sense!

Ok, this is why, you need to know about the major scale and intervals.
Lets start with the basics.

We know each degree, or note, of the major scale is the root note of a mode.
Therefore, the first note of the Major scale, creates the first mode, which is Ionian.
The second note of the major scale creates the second mode, which is Dorian.
The third note of the major scale creates the third mode, which is Phrygian, and so on.

Lets start with the 1st degree of the major scale.
This creates the Ionian mode. But you might be thinking; "Well, if the root note of the major scale creates the Ionian mode, does that mean there's two names for one scale?!". The answer is yes.

The major scale, can also be called the Ionian mode. This is our starting scale, so give each note of the Major scale an interval. In these examples, i will be using the C Major scale.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  1    <-- Major scale intervals
C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C    <-- C Major scale

You should be familiar with this.

So, we've already constructed our first mode! Congratulations.

3.1 - Example 1: Dorian Mode Construction

Lets move onto the Dorian mode.
This is the second mode of the major scale, so we start on the second note / degree. Because we are using the C Major scale, the root note of the Dorian mode will be "D", and this is our D Dorian mode:

The next step, is to compare the notes of the D Major scale with the D Dorian Mode:

1 2 3  4 5 6 7  1   <-- Major scale intervals
D E F# G A B C# D   <-- D Major Scale

D E F  G A B C  D   <-- D Dorian Mode

There are two differences between the notes. In the Major scale, there is an F#, however, in the Dorian scale, its only a F.

Also, In the major scale, there is a C#, however, in the Dorian mode, there is a normal C.

So, how do we get the major scale to flatten its 3rd and 7th notes? by putting a flat (b) sign before its intervals:

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  1   <-- Major scale intervals
D  E  F# G  A  B  C# D   <-- D Major Scale

1  2  b3 4  5  6  b7 1   <-- Our new flattened 3rd and 7th intervals

|  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
v  v  v  v  v  v  v  v

D  E  F  G  A  B  C  D   <-- D Dorian Mode

3.2 - Example 2: D Phrygian Mode Construction

Lets take a more harder one.
Our base will be the Bb Major scale.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  1
Bb C  D  Eb F  G  A  Bb

We want to find out the intervals used in the Phrygian Scale.
So, the phrygian scale is the 3rd Major mode, so we find the 3rd note of our Bb Major scale. Its D, therefore, we will be using the D Phrygian mode.

D Phrygian:
D Eb F G A Bb C D

So, we have the notes for the D Phrygian scale, now we need to compare them to the D Major scale:

D  Eb F  G  A  Bb C  D    <-- D Phrygian Mode
D  E  F# G  A  B  C# D    <-- D Major scale

As you can see, there are a lot of differences. Lets start from the left and work to the right.

1) Both the D's match up, so there ok.
2) The second notes don't match up. Ones a Eb, and ones a E. Therefore, we need to flatten the second interval of the Major scale in order to fit it in with the Phrygian Mode.
3) The 3rd degrees don't match up either. In the Phrygian mode, there is a F and in the Major scale there is a F#. Therefore, we need to flatten the 3rd degree of the major scale as well, to make that F# into a F.
4) The 4th, and 5th degrees are both the same, so we don't need to worry about them.
5) The 6th and 7th degrees of each scale don't match either. We need to flatten the 6th and 7th degree major scale to fit into the phrygian mode.

Therefore, to sum it up, we need these intervals:

1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 1

If you apply these intervals to the D Major scale, you now have the D Phrygian mode.

If you use this process for each mode, you will eventually be able to work out every interval for every mode of the Major scale!

3.3 - List of intervals

Ionian Mode         1  2  3  4  5  6  7  1
Dorian Mode         1  2 b3  4  5  6 b7  1
Phrygian Mode       1 b2 b3  4  5 b6 b7  1
Lydian Mode         1  2  3 #4  5  6  7  1
Mixolydian Mode     1  2  3  4  5  6 b7  1
Aeolian Mode        1  2 b3  4  5 b6 b7  1
Locrian Mode        1 b2 b3  4 b5 b6 b7  1

This concludes part 1! Check back in a week for the next installment

Thanks to Elvenkindje for checking my music theory and some proof reading
Thanks to Matt_M_2002 for proof reading
Thanks to Glen'sHeroicAct for proof reading
Thanks to insolent for the mode diagram used in section 2.0
Been away, am back
good morning everyone ,
here is my advice :
1:there are many types of scales .

2:some of these scales are called "modal" scales .

3:different scales are used by players to help create their sound ,
try and find out about the scales your favourite players use , thats a good place to start .
i hope this helps
so ok, one question, like in order to create a mode out of a scale, you have to know the intervals of the mode you want made first, then apply it to the scale, is that correct? so is it a case of just simply matching up the intervals?
Who needs backup when you're Jack Bauer?
wow that makes sense for me now thanks,
Just one more question
So does that mean that each of the seven major scales have it's own 7 modes?
Theres only one major scale, but it has different keys. (IE Different root notes).

You can create a mod out of any scale.
If you have the pentatonic scale, it has 5 notes, therefore, you can create 5 pentatonic modes.

Two more common scales modes are derieved from are the harmonic and melodic minor scales.
Been away, am back
Actually, a mode IS a scale. Not much like, not sorta like ... IS.

When you say "the major scale", it just automatically implies the 1st mode of that
collection of notes which is the Ionian mode.

Any collection of notes within an octave can be put into a sequence. There will be
as many modes of that sequence as there are notes in the sequence. Each of
those modes is a scale.

You have to remember there are TWO things that define a scale:

1) The sequential collection of notes within an octave
2) The scale degree each note has

That's why you can have 2 different scales that have the exact same notes, but because
the notes are defined to have different scale degrees they are by definition different
scales AND they are also modes of each other.