Modes (Major Scale)

author: gavinjosephh date: 02/26/2014 category: guitar scales and modes

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Modes (Major Scale)
There are 7 major modes and they're produced by using a different degree of the major scale as the tonic.

The modes are as follows: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aolian, Locrian.

Personally I find it easiest to remember them with the acronym:

I
Don't
Punch
Like
Mohammad
A
Li

I'll TAB out all the different modes of G major simply because it doesn't start too far down the neck, and it doesn't go too far up!

Ionian is your major scale; C Ionian = C major. D Ionian = D major. Below is G Ionian (major 3rd, perfect 5th, major 7th).
E|-----------------------------------------2--3--
B|-----------------------------------3--5--------
G|--------------------------2--4--5--------------
D|-----------------2--4--5-----------------------
A|--------2--3--5--------------------------------
E|--3--5-----------------------------------------
The second mode of G major is A Dorian (minor 3rd, perfect 5th, minor 7th).
E|--------------------------------------------5--
B|-----------------------------------5--7--8-----
G|--------------------------4--5--7--------------
D|-----------------4--5--7-----------------------
A|-----------5--7--------------------------------
E|--5--7--8--------------------------------------
Following this is B Phrygian. This one is a pretty similar shape to a major scale (minor 3rd, perfect 5th, minor 7th).
E|------------------------------------------------7--
B|--------------------------------------7--8--10-----
G|--------------------------------7--9---------------
D|----------------------7--9--10---------------------
A|------------7--9--10-------------------------------
E|--7--8--10-----------------------------------------
C Lydian is basically the same as B Phrygian, just starting and ending one note later (major 3rd, perfect 5th, major 7th).
E|---------------------------------------------7--8--
B|-----------------------------------7--8--10--------
G|-----------------------------7--9------------------
D|-------------------7--9--10------------------------
A|---------7--9--10----------------------------------
E|--8--10--------------------------------------------
Moving on up, D Mixolydian (major 3rd, perfect 5th, minor 7th).
E|-------------------------------------------------------10--
B|-------------------------------------------10--12--13------
G|--------------------------------9--11--12------------------
D|---------------------9--10--12-----------------------------
A|----------9--10--12----------------------------------------
E|--10--12---------------------------------------------------
The Aolian mode is better known as the relative minor. This here is E Aolian (minor 3rd, perfect 5th, minor 7th).
E|----------------------------------------------------------12--
B|----------------------------------------------12--13--15------
G|----------------------------------11--12--14------------------
D|--------------------------12--14------------------------------
A|--------------12--14--15--------------------------------------
E|--12--14--15--------------------------------------------------
In the same way Phrygian starts and ends one note before Lydian, Locrian starts and ends on note before Ionian. Without further ado, F# Locrian (minor 3rd, diminished 5th, minor 7th).
E|----------------------------------------------------------14--
B|--------------------------------------------------15--17------
G|--------------------------------------14--16--17--------------
D|--------------------------14--16--17--------------------------
A|--------------14--15--17--------------------------------------
E|--14--15--17--------------------------------------------------
Once you get your head/fingers round modes they really can be great. You can apply the shapes to any other major scale - A Aolian is the same relative minor shape scale but starting on A (C major/A minor), C Dorian is the Dorian shape but starting on C etc.

I hope this is helpful, but if there are any mistakes, issues or anything, please leave a comment.

Thanks!
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