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What is the difference between the two? I know a little about it.

Is the Major Scale and Ionian Mode the exact same thing?

I keep seeing C Ionian and D Dorian Modes. Can there be G Dorian and etc?

I'm very confused!!
modes are just which note you start/center the notes around.
That's right, Major and Ionian are the same. Modes are just the same scale starting on a different note of the scale, thus revolving around that note giving it a different sound.

For example, Key of G Major, Ionian in modal language. If you were to play the G major scale starting on A, it would then become an A Dorian scale, respectively making the key A Minor.
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Modes are just scales. They are, however RELATED scales.

For example, the Major Scale is, in intervals:

W = whole step
H = half step

WWHWWWH

These are represented by the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. When someone mentions are 3rd, they're referring to the note that comes after the first two whole steps, that being the third note of the major scale.

However, the major scale can be altered. This is the basis for modes.

The natural minor (a.k.a Aeolian mode) scale goes like this

1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7

Thus, the steps are: WHWWHWW

So in the key of C, the major scale is:

C, D, E, F, G, A, B

whereas the minor scale is

C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb

Map out those notes in one position on the fretboard, for both scales.
Hey, wait a tick...

If you play the notes of the major scale three positions up, you're playing using the Aeolian shape, but you're still in the key of C major.
Basically, a mode is taking a position of the major scale (that is, a set of intervals) and changing one of the notes into the root note instead of what you had before.

So if you play C major but use D as your root note and build your phrases around it, it's more accurate to say that you're playing in D dorian.

But, if you build your knowledge of modes, you can take the intervals of the Dorian mode and apply it to any root note and play the mode anywhere on the fretboard. You can also use your knowledge of scale shapes to help you along (as all the mode positions connect together perfectly).

That is just the major scale, of course. The pentatonic, harmonic minor, melodic minor ect have their own modes, but most of the time they're not hugely different (for example, make the b7 in the natural minor a natural 7 and you're playing harmonic minor).
Quote by marmoseti
Mastering your instrument is being able to play whatever you hear in your head, unhindered by inadequate technique. After that, it's all about what you've got to say, so there would be no "best," just a bunch of people saying exactly what they mean.
I also am kinda confused, and I never heard this from any reputable source, its just my own findings: modes are used in jazz or really any stlye of music that might change key often. And yes they are like scales. C maj. scale and C ionian are the same. Ionian is the mode based off the 1st tone of the scale, dorian is the 2nd...(there are articles on that). The G dorian would be in the key of F (The G ionian is the same as the G maj.)

This is the part im kinda guessing on:

in the key of C you can play any of the root-C modes (i.e. C-ionian, C-dorian, C-Phrygian, C-Lydian, C-mixolydian, C-Aeolian, and C-Locrian)

its when you get a chord thats not in the key of C, say Bb you might want to use a mode. If you know that particular chord is coming, you can put tour fingers on the Bb ionian (or any of the other root-Bb modes???) and go from there.

Honestly im just trying to figure that stuff out for my self so I hope other people comment here so we can get a discussion going.
^Modes are used even when chord progressions don't change keys often.

Here's the part that jiggles my jello though. Is G Dorian in the key of G minor or F major? I've seen a few threads asking this question, but there was never any definite answer. Anyone able to help me (and others, I'm sure) out here?

You can play a variety of things over a Bb major chord. Bb Ionian, Bb Lydian, and Bb Mixolydian are common choices. The thing is, though, that you don't have to play a mode that has all of the notes that "fit" with the chord. In other words, try playing Bb Dorian, Bb Lydian, and others over it. There will be a few notes clashing, but it will outline a certain chord (depending on what notes you use).
Quote by wyantsm
I also am kinda confused, and I never heard this from any reputable source, its just my own findings: modes are used in jazz or really any stlye of music that might change key often. And yes they are like scales. C maj. scale and C ionian are the same. Ionian is the mode based off the 1st tone of the scale, dorian is the 2nd...(there are articles on that). The G dorian would be in the key of F (The G ionian is the same as the G maj.)

This is the part im kinda guessing on:

in the key of C you can play any of the root-C modes (i.e. C-ionian, C-dorian, C-Phrygian, C-Lydian, C-mixolydian, C-Aeolian, and C-Locrian)

its when you get a chord thats not in the key of C, say Bb you might want to use a mode. If you know that particular chord is coming, you can put tour fingers on the Bb ionian (or any of the other root-Bb modes???) and go from there.

Honestly im just trying to figure that stuff out for my self so I hope other people comment here so we can get a discussion going.

Basically, yes, you want to play a mode over anything appropriate, such as a chord.
If a Cmin chord shows up... play a C minor phrase over it. That's most of what there is to it.

Of course, in many cases chords are more ambiguous than scales. A perfect example is the humble power chord. With just a root note and fifth, you can play pretty much anything that isn't Locrian over it and sound good.

Your usual minor chord has a root, flat 3rd and a fifth... which means you can play any scale with a flat third and a fifth in it. Literally any minor scale thus fits over the chord, allowing you to flavour it yourself.

There's no "Phrygian" chords as such. There are chords with b2, but the Phrygian mode isn't the only one with a b2.

There are of course the times you'll be playing over a series of chords, all with the same root note but with different notes. In this case the fact that C maj = Amin, doesn't really matter:

The use of modes is to get a different flavour using the same root note.
Quote by marmoseti
Mastering your instrument is being able to play whatever you hear in your head, unhindered by inadequate technique. After that, it's all about what you've got to say, so there would be no "best," just a bunch of people saying exactly what they mean.
^^thanks for pointing that out^^

and to try to answer your question G dorian could be in eihter f maj or g min depending on what other chords are being used etc. To me you answered your own question in you 3rd paragraph. Just like the keys C maj and A min are exactly the same, that G dorian could be used in a few cases. Hope that helps, I dont think im quite saying it right...
Don't stick to modes too strictly, though - they're just guides. This is especially true if you're playing over more ambiguous chords and have room for experimentation, and sometimes the melody you want just won't fit into a chord but it's often worthwhile to try it out.
Quote by marmoseti
Mastering your instrument is being able to play whatever you hear in your head, unhindered by inadequate technique. After that, it's all about what you've got to say, so there would be no "best," just a bunch of people saying exactly what they mean.
Is G Dorian in the key of G minor or F major? I've seen a few threads asking this question, but there was never any definite answer. font]

i think the definate answer has to be that G Dorian is a mode of Gminor AND Fmajor.
it's worth remembering that minor and major are names given to ionian and aeolian modes. Its easy to see that a song can be in an ionian or aeolian scale, but sometimes harder to see that it could be in any of the other modes.

Surely whatever mode you work your chords off should be the parent, for example your song could be in F major or it could be made from F aeolian or F Phrygian, they would all create different chord progressions and offer different modes with respect to the parent scale.

you could say that B locrian is a mode of F Lydian.

A Phrygian is in C Mixolydian

E Dorian is in F# Phrygian

does that make sense??
I think/hope so.... but i would definately welcome other opinions etc etc? i'm not too experienced in this stuff
So, when you create a song, you find out what scale you want to use, then decide if you want to add a mode or not?

I'm still kinda confused as what the role of scales and modes are when playing a song.
Quote by DominoK
So, when you create a song, you find out what scale you want to use, then decide if you want to add a mode or not?
The mode is really determined by the chord underneath the melody. You don't really "add" modes, they are sort of already there, even if you don't use them to your full potential.

I'm not entirely sure whether the scale (or key) of the song really matters (feeling wise and sound wise). I think you just play in whatever key is easiest to play your melody in. So you don't really choose your scale either .
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L.``````
Modes are just different views of the same scale. Learn chords, learn scale, and you've learnt modes too.
If you know the major scale around the whole fret board then you really don't have to worry about modes but it is helpful to learn.
Quote by NathanWolff
If you know the major scale around the whole fret board then you really don't have to worry about modes but it is helpful to learn.
Even if you know the major scale around the fretboard, you should still know modes. At least know the intervals of each degree in each mode (if that makes sense ). It's important because each interval will sound harmonically different over each chord. For instance, the minor sixth of the aeolian mode (and phyrgian) has a dark, exotic sound.

By definition, a scale is just a group of notes. But modes are so much more.
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[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
*-|-*    (_)     `-’
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L.``````
Kirby,

I had a fckin book of a post written out before IE rejected it like a bad organ. But to answer your question simply.

Yes its in a minor key if the chord progression is based off of the mode Dorian/Phrygian/Aeolian, I left out Locrian because its pretty much impossible to resolve on a diminished chord. No its not a minor key if the chord progression is major. Otherwise the solo is just complimenting the sound of the individual chord, which the feel will be mostly determined by the order of chords.

Now what that means is that in your example you use F-major, lets say you used a 1/4/5 progression you get F/A#/C (A happy feel). Then you switch the interval by one, changing the mode to G-Dorian, and you get a 2/5/6 progression, which turns out to be Gm/C/Dm (a more sad feel) which will change with taste as you change the modes. Now you shouldn`t use the 1/4/5 intervals of G-Dorian, rather use the 2/5/6 intervals of F-Major, or you would really be using the same chord progression as G-Ionian depending on the chord selection.

The chord progressions modal feel will mostly be based on the chord resolved on, which in turn should be the one it started on in most cases. Which is why if you notice in any chord progression the 2/3/6 chords are all minor, and also, the modes of the same interval are minor as a side note.

A lot of information was left out due to my frustration, and lack of will to write it all out again, but I hope that clears it up a least a bit.

Edit: you should also check out epics post in this thread -> https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=671610

Lots of good information and note strengths explained.
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Last edited by LegendaryAXE at Sep 29, 2007,
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^A# should be called Bb. There are no shaprs in F major.

It dosen`t matter, they`re the same note. If you have trouble rembering your scales because of it fine, but not everyone is going to call it the same thing.
“It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.” -Johann Sebastian Bach

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Is G Dorian in the key of G minor or F major?

A simple answer to that one, G Dorian is the key of G Dorian!
Yes you are using the same notes as Fmaj and yes it is a minor scale with the root note as G but the key is G Dorian,
The most important thing with modes (and often the most overlooked) is in fact the chords which are played under the scale.
I have been searching for lessons for months to explain this effectively and can't find any which help much with this understanding so I devised my own in order to teach my students, time permitting I will post it but for now if ya'll go Q's on modes PM me.
Quote by LegendaryAXE
It dosen`t matter, they`re the same note. If you have trouble rembering your scales because of it fine, but not everyone is going to call it the same thing.

In terms of scales it's very important - all MUSICIANS will call it the same thing...alhtough I'll grant you that arrogant guitarists with a half-assed approach to theory might call it different things.
Actually called Mark!

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Basically they all have rules like in the dorian you just lower the second note 1 half step and keep the rest of the scale the way it was......its really not that complicated its just a different note flatted for each mode. Alot of people try to overthink it.
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Quote by Sean117
Basically they all have rules like in the dorian you just lower the second note 1 half step and keep the rest of the scale the way it was......its really not that complicated its just a different note flatted for each mode. Alot of people try to overthink it.

?

C major: C D E F G A B
C Dorian: C D Eb F G A Bb
Modes ARE scales. Anything else about modes come a lot later. For the time being just relate to them as individual scales. It seems that telling beginners that modes are like playing a scale starting from a different note of that scale actually confuses them a lot later on.

Like I said, learn the modes as individual scales, with their own scale formulas and stuff.
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Here's the part that jiggles my jello though. Is G Dorian in the key of G minor or F major? I've seen a few threads asking this question, but there was never any definite answer. Anyone able to help me (and others, I'm sure) out here?

I'm pretty sure that G Dorian is in the key of F major...but I could be wrong.

I'm probably about to embarass myself here...but...here goes:

This morning I wa analyzing Glasgow Kiss by John Petrucci (can't play it yet -_-) and was very confused when I saw the key signature - it said that the song was in A major (F# minor) but the song started on and was built around Esus2. So i played up and down the fretboard randomly making sure it sounded right and found that I wa playing in B Dorian...in Esus2 this would be E Mixolydian. So I started messing around with this and well...yep, lame story :P
Am I right? Because then you could say that the song is ether in E Myxolydian or A major
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Just, no. Locrian should be treated like that gay cousin. Just avoid him cuz he's weird, unstable, and is attracted to the wrong thing.

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Big deal, I bought a hamster once and they put that in a box...doesn't make it a scale.
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Modes ARE scales. Anything else about modes come a lot later. For the time being just relate to them as individual scales. It seems that telling beginners that modes are like playing a scale starting from a different note of that scale actually confuses them a lot later on.

Like I said, learn the modes as individual scales, with their own scale formulas and stuff.

That's the worst thing to do - all you do is bust a gut learning the same thing 7 times over. If you know the major scale well enough then modes pretty much make sense on their own, there's no point forcing yourself to try and learn something that you won't understand.
Actually called Mark!

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Beginning to learn Dorain, but thinking: should I first learn the major scale to help the modes along? I currently only know the basic shape of it, rather than the entire fretboard for it.
Quote by CloserToTheSun
Beginning to learn Dorain, but thinking: should I first learn the major scale to help the modes along? I currently only know the basic shape of it, rather than the entire fretboard for it.

oh yeah!

you MUST learn the major scale first.
all chord and scale theory is derived from it.

whenever you see a scale like - R 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

this is always in relation to the major scale, unless specified otherwise.

spend a good amount of time on major theory.
Quote by branny1982
oh yeah!

you MUST learn the major scale first.
all chord and scale theory is derived from it.

whenever you see a scale like - R 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

this is always in relation to the major scale, unless specified otherwise.

spend a good amount of time on major theory.

Oh, I know chord/scale forming and a lot of the major theory, and how to get the notes, I just don't know how to play up and down the fretboard in major. I know one box shape that provides me with stuff for chord forming and theory. I'm just wondering if I should learn the Ionian scale up and down the fretboard so I can see relation and comparisons, rather than just knowing that they are there.
Just forget box shapes for the time being and concentrate on the notes of the scale and the intervals between the notes. If you do that you'll start to "see" the scale all over the fretboard. The boxes restrict you so you need to get them out of your head - once you 've got the scale all over the fretboard then you can go back to the boxes to help you navigat, but if you learn the scale as boxes they're incredibly hard to break out of.
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Quote by steven seagull
Just forget box shapes for the time being and concentrate on the notes of the scale and the intervals between the notes. If you do that you'll start to "see" the scale all over the fretboard. The boxes restrict you so you need to get them out of your head - once you 've got the scale all over the fretboard then you can go back to the boxes to help you navigat, but if you learn the scale as boxes they're incredibly hard to break out of.

My question wasn't so much how to learn it (if you're talking to me), though that is good advice, but if it is better to learn the major scale before the other modes.
You have to learn the major scale before modes, because the modes are simply different ways of looking at the major scale...you can't appreciate how something is different if you didn't know what it looked like in the first place.
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Quote by steven seagull
In terms of scales it's very important - all MUSICIANS will call it the same thing...alhtough I'll grant you that arrogant guitarists with a half-assed approach to theory might call it different things.

The fact that it`s customary to only use one letter name in a scale in western-style music does not mean it`s the only right way. *Note that I say western, because its impossible to achieve in some non-western styles of music, whom by the way are still MUSICIANS, and will not may not name notes the same thing*.

Standard notation, and memorization aside, if you could explain to me how it`s important to scales I would be more than willing to listen. As far as im concerned, they both fall on the same intervals, have the same pitch, and are enharmonic, so untill then that post is just condescending jargin based on the fact that its not the "popular" approach.
“It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.” -Johann Sebastian Bach

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I'm kind of confused.

Dorian D has the same exact notes as Ionian C. Just the roots are in different notes. Same goes for E Phrygian, F Lydian, etc.

So, whenever you're playing a mode, you're really just playing the major scale of a different key? Like playing A Dorian is just playing the G Major scale.

So, if all above is true, does anyone know what you would play the scales over? I know that modes are supposed to be just having different tonal centers, like instead of CDEFGABC it's DEFGABCD, but if you were just going over the scale, without actively focusing on the root notes, wouldn't that just make it irrelevant? What makes the D Dorian scale D Dorian rather than C Ionian, or E Phrygian or F Lydian?

Maybe I'm just overthinking it and missing something.
Last edited by CloserToTheSun at Oct 2, 2007,
Quote by LegendaryAXE
The fact that it`s customary to only use one letter name in a scale in western-style music does not mean it`s the only right way. *Note that I say western, because its impossible to achieve in some non-western styles of music, whom by the way are still MUSICIANS, and will not may not name notes the same thing*.

Standard notation, and memorization aside, if you could explain to me how it`s important to scales I would be more than willing to listen. As far as im concerned, they both fall on the same intervals, have the same pitch, and are enharmonic, so untill then that post is just condescending jargin based on the fact that its not the "popular" approach.

It's nothing to do with it being popular, it's to do with the very principles of scale construction and keys. For example, A major is defined as having 3 sharps, namely C#, F# and G#. That's an inherent property of the scale, therefore to call the 3rd note of A major Db is wrong, yes the notes are enharmonic but for the purposes of that scale it's C#.

Like I said, any musician, as in a student of music, tutored or self-taught, will refer to it as such because that's how it's been done for the past few centuries - and that includes Mr Bach btw.

Closer To The Sun - the modes are defined by the underlying chords. If you play a mode without anything under it then it does tend to sound like the major scale, the chords are what help identify the tonal center to our ears.
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It's nothing to do with it being popular, it's to do with the very principles of scale construction and keys. For example, A major is defined as having 3 sharps, namely C#, F# and G#. That's an inherent property of the scale, therefore to call the 3rd note of A major Db is wrong, yes the notes are enharmonic but for the purposes of that scale it's C#.

Like I said, any musician, as in a student of music, tutored or self-taught, will refer to it as such because that's how it's been done for the past few centuries - and that includes Mr Bach btw.

Closer To The Sun - the modes are defined by the underlying chords. If you play a mode without anything under it then it does tend to sound like the major scale, the chords are what help identify the tonal center to our ears.

So if i'm correct:

C Major tonal center on chords for C Ionian
Dm tonal center on chords for D Dorian
Em tonal center on chords for E Phrygian
F tonal center on chords for F Lydian
G tonal center on G Mixolydian
Am tonal center on A Aeolian
B Diminished on B Locrian

?

EDIT: could you give me an example of a chord progression that could go with Dorian (whatever key you want)
Last edited by CloserToTheSun at Oct 2, 2007,
Quote by kirbyrocknroll
^Modes are used even when chord progressions don't change keys often.

Here's the part that jiggles my jello though. Is G Dorian in the key of G minor or F major? I've seen a few threads asking this question, but there was never any definite answer. Anyone able to help me (and others, I'm sure) out here?

G Dorian shares the same key as F major but, everything is based off of a major scale, and they are modes of the major scale. Therefore G dorian is a mode of G major. It could be considered F major with a tonal centre around the supertonic. It couldn't however, be considered as G minor, because it doesn't share the same key signature but many people (me included) think of it as G minor with a major 6. I might be horribly wrong and would actually really like to be corrected if I am. That's one more mark on the upcoming test.
I don't know what music theory is.

Quote by CloserToTheSun
So if i'm correct:

C Major tonal center on chords for C Ionian
Dm tonal center on chords for D Dorian
Em tonal center on chords for E Phrygian
F tonal center on chords for F Lydian
G tonal center on G Mixolydian
Am tonal center on A Aeolian
B Diminished on B Locrian

?

EDIT: could you give me an example of a chord progression that could go with Dorian (whatever key you want)

Here's a simple progression my teacher showed me for D dorian. Dm7 - Em7. Only two chords, but it works well to start learning modes. You can do the same thing with any other mode. Take the seven chord of the root (Say Cmaj7 for C Ionian) and the next seven chord in order. (I.e. Cmaj7 and D-7 for C Ionian).
So D Dorian can be played off of D Major or D Minor (if you don't play, or raise the sixth)?
Branny and Jazz Rock Feel, G Dorian is not a mode of G minor. They don't contain the same notes.

Kirb, as libriumbum stated above, I would say that G Dorian is in G Dorian. I remember I asked the same question, and Nighty said that his jazz teacher would say that it's in F Major (if my memory serves me correctly). I didn't like this idea much because it doesn't describe the music well at all.

Steven Seagull, I find that treating modes as seperate scales (which they are) is the only way to understand how to use them to bring out their unique sounds.

And now, without further delay, STANDARD RESPONSE TO MODES THREADS FOLLOWS:

Okay, a mode of the major scale contains the same notes as the major scale, but the root is a different note. This is just explaining where modes come from, but I don't think of them like this when actually using them.
D Ionian (major) is D E F# G A B C#
E Dorian (second mode) is E F# G A B C# D
A mixolydian (fifth mode) is A B C# D E F# G
They contain the same notes but start on different root notes.

So, they contain the same notes but they are definately different scales. I think of modes as alterations to the major scale.
Ionian (Major) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Dorian 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
Phrygian 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Lydian 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
Mixolydian 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
Aeolian (Natural Minor) 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Locrian 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

So, for F Phrygian you start with the F major scale, F G A Bb C D E
Then flatten the 2 3 6 and 7 to get 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
And you end up with the notes F Gb Ab Bb C Db Eb.

Now, when playing modes over chords, look at the intervals making up the chord and the intervals making up the mode. If they match up, they will sound good together.
Say a Cm chord comes up, thats 1 b3 5. Look at the modes and you see that Dorian, Phrygian and Aeolian all contain those intervals.
So you could play C Dorian, C Phrygian or C Aeolian, which one you chose will give a different feel.
Now if an Amaj7 comes along, thats 1 3 5 7. Compare that to the modes and you see that you can play A Ionian or A Lydian, againg giving different feels.
What about a Bbm7b5? You see that the only mode with 1 b3 b5 b7 is Locrian, so you can play Bb Locrian
With an E7 (1 3 5 b7) you find that only Mixolydian fits, so you can play E mixolydian

JohnlJones Jazz-Theory Bit:
With that E7 you could play E Phrygian, with the b3 funtioning as a #2, to outline an altered dominant chord.
E7 - 1 3 4 b7
E Phrygian 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
This gives the intervals 1 b2 #2 3 4 5 b6 b7 which is a _11b9#9b13 chord.

Remember none of this is law, it's just a guide so don't be afraid to experiment.
Hope this helps

The way to use modes and get their different sounds is to think of the intervals it is made up of. Phrygian has a b2, a dark, dissononant interval. Lydian has a #4, which sounds... I dunno how to describe it but it sounds cool. Mixolydian is like the major scale but has a b7, making it bluesy and dominant.

Just drone the low E string, keep it ringing (clean setting works best). Then on the remaining five stings, play E Phrygian, E lydian, E Aeloian, E Ionian etc. and emphasise the unique intervals in each. Really listen to each scales' characteristics. Try making a melody from each mode while droning the E string.

Once you have done this, watch this video:
My name is Andy
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Branny and Jazz Rock Feel, G Dorian is not a mode of G minor. They don't contain the same notes.

not sure why i wrote that!!! i think i was tricked into it by the thredstarter!!

of course i meant to say that G dorian is a mode withing F major AND D minor

but of course, the most important thing is, as you say, that G dorian is in the key of G DORIAN!!!!!!!

p.s. good spot, i didnt beleive i had written that until i went back and checked!