Modes Explained

author: The_Strat_Man date: 12/16/2004 category: scales

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Modes Explained.
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
Ionian: The Ionian mode is just the major scale. So you take the root and follow this pattern to produce the notes of the major scale: Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone. So, for the C major scale it would be C D E F G A B C. Dorian: The Dorian mode is a minor scale with an added lift. THe D minor scale would be D E F G A Bb C. However, you raise the sixth note of the minor scale to produce the Dorian mode. So the D Dorian scale is D E F G A B C. Phrygian: The Phrygian mode also resembles a minor scale, but unlike the Dorian mode it has a different altered note. The second note of the Minor scale is lowered a half step to produce the Phrygian mode for that root note. E minor: E F# G A B C D. E Phrygian: E F G A B C D. Lydian: The Lydian mode resembles the major scale this time but with an altered note (like every mode but two in here). The F major scale is F G A Bb C D E F. The F Lydian mode is F G A B C D E. The difference is the raised fourth pitch. So, you raise the fourth note in the major scale one half step to get the Lydian mode for that root. Mixolydian: The Mixolydian mode also resembles the major scale but, again, another altered note. This time the altered note is the seventh note. When switching to Mixolydian, you lower the seventh note of the scale one half step. The G major scale is G A B C D E F# G while the G Mixolydian scale is G A B C D E F G. Aeolian: The Aeolian scale is another name for the Minor scale, just as the Ionian is another name for the major scale. The A minor scale is A B C D E F G A while the A Aeolian scale is, you guessed it, the same thing! But, when you look at the notes for the C major scale and the A minor scale and you noticed that they contain the same notes, you ask how can one sound sad and the other happy. Well, it's just the placement of the notes. Locrian: The seventh and final mode is Locrian. Wow, we made it this far already, not bad. But, anyways, the Locrian mode is the "ugly duckling" of all of the modes because of its unusual construction. The Locrian mode is a minor scale with a lowered second and a lowered fifth. So, the B minor scale is B C# D E F# G A B while the B Locrian mode is B C D E F G A B! Mode Charts:
0 - Root Note
1 - index
2 - middle
3 - ring
4 - pinkie
Note: Sixth String Root.






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