Modes in Music: The Basic Theory
Free Video Guitar Lessons
Subscribe to GuitarSchool1 on YouTube for more free lessons
Seven Scales in One
There are seven chords in every key. If a song is to be thought of as being in a key, then the chords used in that song are chosen from those seven chords.
For instance, the chords in the key of C major are:
C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor and B minor flat 5 (also known as B diminished),
If the song is in the key of C major, then any of the seven chords could be present. Everything usually gravitates toward the C major chord (tonic chord). It is not unusual to start and end the piece on the tonic chord.
There are seven possible scales in a single major scale because any one of the seven notes of that scale could be considered as a starting point to create a new scale. The possibilities in the C major scale are:
CDEFGABC DEFGABCD EFGABCDE FGABCDEF GABCDEFG ABCDEFGA BCDEFGAB
These new scales are called modes.
They are named Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian.
Each new scale or mode directly corresponds with the chord that occurs on the same step of the scale.
Each of the modal scales work in the same way, everything will gravitate toward the new starting point on each mode.
Each mode has its own unique characteristic sound and mood, Many styles rely heavily on specific modes.
To be considered to be in a specific mode, the chord of that mode must be emphasized. Playing one of the seven chords for any length of time causes the ear to perceive that chord as a new key or tonal center.
There are three modes that have a major sound, and four modes that have a minor sound.
MODES & CHORDS derived from the C Major Scale
Ionian - CDEFGABC (I) C Major
Dorian - DEFGABCD (ii) D minor
Phrygian - EFGABCDE (iii) E minor
Lydian - FGABCDEF (IV) F Major
Mixolydian - GABCDEFG (V) G Major
Aeolian - ABCDEFGA (vi) A minor
Locrian - BCDEFGAB (vii) B minor b5 (B diminished)
A typical example is the relative minor. In the key of C the relative minor is A minor which means the potential chords for the key of A minor are the same as the chords for C.
The only difference between the two “keys” is that in the key of C major, everything gravitates around the C major chord, whereas in the key of A minor, everything gravitates around the A minor chord.
For analysis purpose each chord is given a Roman Numeral so the key of C would be:
I - C major, ii - D minor, iii - E minor, IV - F major, V - G major, vi - A minor and vii - B diminished.
This useful for changing keys because lets say you had a song in C that used C, F and G which is the I, IV and V, and wanted to do the song in the key of G (G, Ami, Bmi, C, D, Emi and F#dim), you just play the I, IV and V which is G, C and D.
When you are playing in any one of the 7 modes it is like you are in a new key. Even though they are the same notes, D Dorian sounds totally different than C Ionian.
There are common chord groupings used to emphasize the modes.
G-F or G7
7 Modes From C Demonstration
Demo of Guitar Solos on Modes
- Demo of Solos on Modes
Soloing on Modes using Pro Band
Dorian Guitar Solo Jamming
Mixolydian Guitar Lesson
E Minor Aeolian Jamming
- Melodic Phrasing E Minor Aeolian and Pentatonic Guitar Solo - YouTube
Phrasing and melody. An example of combining different rhythmic and melodic elements in a rock guitar solo.
- The Simplified Basics of Starting to Learn to Play t...
This is the absolute bottom line of how to start playing guitar. The information given here is in small chunks, easy to digest and will give the student a solid foundation to pursue guitar mastery.
- Phrasing in Improvisation
An overview on concepts applied to improvisation and composition.
- Pro Band - Jamming Tracks App Review
Pro Band. iPhone iPad iTouch Android rhythm tracks blues rock backing tracks review
- The Basics of Playing Together in a Band
About how play in a band and not kill each other. Practice and rehearsal tips.
- Becoming a Competent Musician
An overview of how to become a good musician. lessons, practice
- Learn The 5 Positions of the E Minor Pentatonic Scal...
The minor pentatonic scale on the guitar, and particularily the E minor pentatonic scale is a blues and rock guitar staple. There have been so many guitar driven songs in this key that one could easily make a case for E being the starting place to le
- Blues: An Original American Music
An overview history of how the blues started and progressed in America.
- Blues Turnarounds For Guitarists
Details on how to play blues turanarounds on the guitar featuring 9 classic blues turnaround examples in tablature
- Learning To Play Jazz Guitar From The Beginning
How to approach learning beginning jazz guitar
- Bending the Strings in Blues Guitar
About the nuances of bending strings on the guitar
- Incorporating Chromaticism into Improvising
How chromatic notes work in improvisation
Intervals on the Guitar
- How The Intervals Work on a Guitar
All about intervals on fretted instruments guitar ukulele mandolin banjo
Common Scales Formulas
- Common Scale Formulas
The intervallic formulas for some very useful scales jazz rock blues composition and improvisation