In fact, they’re so common that they’re not usually thought of as modes. Of course the individual musical notes used in these examples will differ, but the concept behind both of them is the same so I have basically duplicated content when appropriate and changed the relevant details that are specific to each key etc. This can be a little confusing, because if we look at E Phrygian (E – F – G – A – B – C – D) there are clearly no sharps or flats in the scale itself, but the ‘flats’ (or lowered notes) refer to the notes that have been altered, relative to the original key (in this case E major). The truth is, any scale degree can be used as the starting point. 2. There is a bit of repetitive content contained in the following pages. It has a lowered 2, a lowered 3, a lowered 6 and a lowered 7. If you are slightly confused, it is most likely because of the  relationship between what is called the parallel approach and derivative approach. That is a brief introduction to constructing modes, but we have only looked at 1 mode (Phrygian). They are not limited to guitar either, but used on most melodic instruments. Music theory can be complicated but we need to know it if we want to make sense of everything and improve our guitar knowledge and playing. D Major = D – E – F# – G – A – B – C#D Lydian = D – E – F# – G# – A – B – C#. The Phrygian mode has a distinct Spanish feel to it. You are so used to hearing things played in a certain way that anything else just sounds wrong. .” sound. When you play the major scale beginning on its 1st degree, you create the familiar “Do, Re, Mi . For example, E Phrygian has a b2, b3, b6, b7, relative to E Major. Keep in mind that this guide represents how I approach modes. The great thing about this guide though, is that when things are getting a bit too much on the theoretical front, you can simply just ‘play the material’. “Oye Como Va” by Santana is an example of a song that centers on the 2nd degree of the G major scale using the chord progression Am7-D9. As you study guitar theory, you’ll hear terms like mode, tonic, and scale. Instead, they’re thought of as plain or natural scales. As the duration of each chord gets shorter, their common ties becomes stronger. Well, there are a few things at play here. Although I have already self-assuredly proclaimed the thoroughness and value of this guide, it is important to remember that not everything has to ‘sink in’ straight away. The key to understanding modes lies in the understanding of "tonal centre." Of course, in the above examples, we have used C major. Let's see if we can shed some light on this without getting too bogged down with music theory. One example is “The Sails Of Charon” by Scorpions, which centers on the 3rd degree of the G major scale, producing B Phrygian mode. It includes seven degrees, or pitches, and involves seven steps or intervals. What has short term memory got to do with it? Repeat in 12 keys. In this guide, each mode has its own mini lesson, which basically revisits the main points discussed in this post. Play through all three major modes: Lydian-Ionian-Mixolydian from one root note. Instead of using the word lowered, it is often referred to as ‘flat’. F Major = F – G – A – Bb – C – D – EF Aeolian = F – G – Ab – Bb – C – Db – Eb. This is an important thing to grasp even though it sounds obvious. So…. Long ago, the Greeks named each one of these modes. Of course we could start on any note and do the same. There are a few key concepts in modes theory that seem at first to contradict each other, or at least ‘get in the way’ of each other when trying to explain it in conversation. Flat 3 – lower the 3rd note of C# Major (E#) to produce E. Flat 6 – lower the 6th note of C# Major (A#) to produce A. There are a few interesting and useful patterns to remember (with these shapes)to help you get the whole neck memorized in a key. To understand E Dorian, we need to compare it to E major. All 7 modes have the same notes as the parent scale, but start on a different note, which defines the tonal center. If we change chords every few bars then they start to sound like a "collective" and this influences how our ears interpret it. In written format, or more specifically blog-style written format, the task of explanation becomes quite simple and easy. The names are as follows: I. Ionian: More commonly known as the plain major scale. There is quite a bit of information to take in and I have found through my own experience and through teaching others, that with modes, sometimes it’s not that you ‘get it’ or ‘don’t get it’, it just takes a while for it to sink in. Link to dedicated page on … 3. The order of the modes are Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian. IV. Let’s try another example using both approaches. Tonal centre (or key centre) is pretty much what it says. It is called the derivative approach because it involves deriving a mode from another scale. The next mode always starts on the second note of whatever mode you started with. For the purpose of this guide, I am going to assume that you are familiar with major scales. It is A Major: Therefor, to play B Dorian, we need to play the A Major scale and start on B. Remember, to analyse C# Phrygian, we need to compare it to C# Major. A major contains the following notes: If we want to produce the phrygian mode, we need to start on the 3rd note (C#): We have just produced C# Phrygian. Which one? The major scale has more modes than just the 1st and 6th degrees. The main thing that really brings the key home is the V-I cadence. The same is true with modes. You should recognize this mode anytime you start on a major chord and then move down a whole step to another major chord. Therefor, we need to play the major scale that produces B as the second note. This proves that you will get the same results no matter what key you use. Aeolian: More commonly known as the natural or relative minor scale. . A, for example: Don’t worry just yet about where the names come from. This is what is known as the derivative approach. For example, earlier, we derived E Phyrgian from the C Major scale. The names are as follows: I. Ionian: More commonly known as the plain major scale. Firstly, I have kind of gone overboard with the amount of practical material contained. Lets do another example. Repeat in all 12 keys. By ‘lowered’, it means that the note in question has been decreased in pitch by a semitone. “Oye Como Va” by Santana is an example of a song that... iii. Lets look at the notes of C# major: If we look at C# Phrygian in the context of C# Major, we can see it contains b2, b3, b6, b7, Flat 2 – lower the 2nd note of C# Major (D#) to produce DFlat 3 – lower the 3rd note of C# Major (E#) to produce EFlat 6 – lower the 6th note of C# Major (A#) to produce AFlat 7 – lower the 7th note of C# Major (B#) to produce B. To understand Bb Locrian, we need to compare it to Bb Major. If you read this guide thoroughly and give it time to sink in, you will understand modes regardless of which approach you then believe is the best. Repeat in 12 keys. Lydian: A type of major scale with a sharpened 4th. Play through all four minor-based modes: Dorian-Aeolian-Phrygian-Locrian from one root note. The parallel approach tells us that the Lydian mode has a raised (or sharp) 4. You don’t necessarily need to know every key off the top of your head, but you need to understand what they fundamentally are and how to construct them. ©2020 Time to unravel the mystery! It’s only when music centers on one of the other degrees in the major scale that the music is considered modal. To understand Bb Lydian, we need to compare it to Bb Major. I have literally written out every position for every key, including keys that are almost never used, such as C flat major. Take a look at this 3-note-per-string G Ionian shape with the adjacent A Dorian mode overlapped: G Ionian(green) with A Dorian (black). V. Mixolydian: A type of major scale with a flattened 7th. ii. Let’s do another example using the Parallel approach: Suppose we want to play F Aeolian. You say that it’s in A Dorian mode. I'm trying to build this site up to be a valuable resource for guitar students and teachers. If you don't understand what this is then you won't understand modes. And the thoroughness of this guide makes that possible. In our above examples, we formed a certain mode, by effectively playing a major scale and starting on a different note of the scale. Author: Lee Nichols Creator of, This website earns advertising commissions. To understand E Lydian, we need to compare it to E major.

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