Umm.... there are modes that are major and modes that are minor. You use them the same way you use a scale.


aeolian is a minor mode to start with. Then there are harmonic minor and melodic minor modes to begin with.
Ionian - Major
Dorian - Minor
Phrygian - Minor
Lydian - Major
Mixolydian - Major
Aeolian - Minor
Locrian - Diminished

I think that's right, I've not finished learning modes yet.
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If you're talking modes of the natural minor scale, they're the same as those of the major scale but at different scale degrees. For example, in C major:

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

Now just reorder those for A minor:
A Aeolian
B Locrian
C Ionian
D Dorian
E Phrygian
F Lydian
G Mixolydian

There are also modes of the melodic and harmonic minor scales as well, but I inferred that you meant natural minor.
there are minor modes of the major scale which are aeolian dorian phrygian and locrian is sometimes included since it has a minor 3rd although it is more accurately described as diminished and there are modes of the minor scale which are the all the modes in a different order.there are also modes of the harmonic and melodic minors

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Last edited by Eggmond at Mar 31, 2008,
You're correct, Eggmond, but in my opinion Locrian should not be included as a minor. It's a half-diminished tonality really, but has a diminished triad as the root. Minor triad is 1 b3 5, a diminished is 1 b3 b5; that b5 is only found in the Locrian mode.
Generally a mode that has a minor third. Whether locrian is or isn't is minor or diminished is open for discussion. You use them like any other modes, or scales for that matter, other than that since they're modes, you're a bit boxed into trying to keep the tonal center on whatever note.