Modes

By | December 4, 2014

Modes are an important concept when dealing with scales.  There are seven modes each has its own set of intervals.  Below are a list of the seven modes.

-Ionian – 1st degree
-Dorian – 2nd degree
-Phrygian – 3rd degree
-Lydian – 4th degree
-Mixolydian – 5th degree
-Aeolian – 6th degree
-Locrian – 7th degree

The easiest way to understand modes is to realize that there are seven modes for each Major scale. Each modes relates to a specific degree of that scale, for example the Dorian mode relates to the 2nd scale degree, Phrygian relates to the 3rd and so on.  If you were to go to the 1st degree to the 8th degree you would have made a Ionian mode or Major Scale, e.g the Ionian mode is just another name for the Major Scale.

C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C (This is a C Major scale or C Ionian)

If you know the major scale you can therefore create any of these modes quite easily without having to learn each one individually.  I’ll construct each one of these from a C Major scale to give you a better idea.

-Ionian – C Major
-Dorian – D Dorian
-Phrygian – E Phrygian
-Lydian – F Lydian
-Mixolydian – G Mixolydian
-Aeolian – A Aeolian ( A minor)
-Locrian – B Locrain

So D Dorian would the the 2nd degree of C to the 9th degree

D – E – F – G – A – B – C – D
…….E – F – G – A – B – C – D – E (E Phrygian)
…………..F – G – A – B – C – D – E – F (F Lydian)
…………………G – A – B – C – D – E – G (G Mixolydian)
……………………….A – B – C – D – E – G – A (A Aeolian or A minor)
……………………………..B – C – D – E – G – A – B (B Locrain)

Hopefully this will give you a better idea of what modes are and how they are constructed, and you can easily construct any mode at the drop of a dime. Just remember which scale degree the mode relates to and then figure out the major scale you have it.

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