Modes of the Major Scale Explained!

Music Theory

A lot of guitarists have trouble coming to understand the modes of the major scale, I know it took me many moons to come to grips with it, but once I finally unravelled its mysteries, I realised how simple it really is. The word mode sounds so ambiguous and lame, I prefer to use the word mood, as this word accurately describes what modes really are. Now, describing modes is easy, but using them musically is a bit trickier, however, knowing what they are is the first step. First of all, before you even read this, make sure you know how to play the major scale. It isn’t called the mother of all music theory for nothing. At the very end of this article is a quick little primer on the major scale that might be of some help. Also, for convenience sake, I will be referring to the C major scale, as it is the only major scale that contains no sharps or flats. Also, remember that the chromatic scale is the scale which contains every single note, the word chromatic coming from the word chroma (meaning colour), so the chromatic scale contains every single colour. Scales are simply notes, or colours taken from the chromatic scale, and added to a musical palette. There are literally hundreds of scales, and musicians like Allan Holdsworth have even made up their own. But I am getting off track here. Now before you begin, make sure you know the major scale! I have written a guide on the major scale which you can use as a resource.

This guide is in no way trying to be thorough or extensive, instead I am explaining the concept of modes in its simplest and rawest form. Because, after all, it is very simple, and the last thing I want to do is scare you off with encyclopedic jargon and walls of text. Alright, here we go..!

There are 7 modes (moods) to the major scale, in order they are:

  1. Ionian (the major scale)
  2. Dorian (minor bluesy sounding mode, characteristic note is the maj 6th)
  3. Phrygian (minor spanish sounding mode, characteristic note is the flat 2nd)
  4. Lydian (major sounding mode, characteristic note is the augmented 4th)
  5. Mixylodian (major bluesy sounding mode, characteristic note is the flat 7th)
  6. Aeolian (the (natural) minor scale – flat 3rd, flat 6th, flat 7th)
  7. Locrian (very unstable sounding mode, it’s characteristic notes are the flat 2nd and flat 5th)

A cheesy mnemonic to help you remember the order is:

I Don’t Particularly Like Modes A Lot

Let’s take a look at the C major scale (Ionian), the notes in this scale are CDEFGABC, if we play the C major scale and instead of focusing the tonality on C (the root note) we focus on the second note of the scale (D) then we have a completely different sounding scale – the D Dorian scale – which looks like this: DEFGABCD, we are still playing the same notes of the C major scale but we are getting a completely different sound by concentrating on the D as the root note instead of the C. This is how modes are constructed; if we concentrate on the 3rd note of the C major scale (E) then we have an E Phrygian scale – EFGABCDE – and so on… in this sense it’s best to think of the modes as an anagram of the major scale (change the letters around and the word has a completely different meaning, in this case, change the root note around and the sound/mood changes radically) A good analogy to describe how modes work can be found in conversation, by emphasizing certain words in a sentence the meaning behind the sentence is changed. The best example of this i can think of is found in an episode of Seinfeld ‘The Mom And Pop Store’:

  • ELAINE: Well, I talked to Tim Whatley…
  • JERRY: Yeah…
  • ELAINE: And I asked him, “Should Jerry bring anything?”
  • JERRY: So…?
  • ELAINE: Mmmm…and he said, “Why would Jerry bring anything?”
  • JERRY: Alright, but let me ask you this question.
  • ELAINE: What?
  • JERRY: Which word did he emphasize? Did he say, “Why would Jerry bring anything?” or, “Why would Jerry bring anything?” Did he emphasize “Jerry” or “bring?”
  • ELAINE: I think he emphasized “would.”

I know this sounds confusing, so i made some diagrams to make the learning process a whole lot easier (VISUALISATION IS KEY!)

Modes of the C Major Scale

modesofcmajorscale

‘Colours’ of the C Major ‘Palette’

cmajorscaleallmodes

Now putting modes into practice is a different beast altogether, it is a tool used by jazz guitarists mainly to colour their solos based on the chord progression. For example, in a typical jazz chord progression of II V I in the key of C major the chord progression would be Dm7 G7 Cmaj7.

Seeing as how the key of the progression is C major a guitarist could choose to simply play the C major scale (C Ionian Mode) over the entire progression, but if you decide to emphasis the D note instead of the C note whilst the Dm7 chord is playing and the G note while the G7 chord is playing and finally the C note while the Cmaj7 chord is playing, you would be playing the exact same C major scale throughout but you will be using three different modes of the same scale (D Dorian, G Mixolydian and C Ionian) over their respective chords in the progression.

This would mean that you have endless soloing moods to tap into, both major and minor by using the same scale. Here’s a good video to showcase an excellent (Australian!) guitarist using modes of the C major scale to create different moods.

Notice how Frank Gambale is playing the C major throughout the song, but by emphasizing different notes of the scale he creates different moods? The intro sounds triumphant (Lydian), the chorus is very major sounding (Ionian), and the solo is very minor and bluesy (Dorian)!

I Ionian 1   2   3   4   5   6   7 C D E F G A B Cmaj7
II Dorian 1   2  b3  4   5   6  b7 D E F G A B C Dm7
III Phrygian 1  b2 b3  4   5  b6 b7 E F G A B C D Em7
IV Lydian 1   2   3  #4  5   6   7 F G A B C D E Fmaj7
V Myxolydian 1   2   3   4   5   6  b7 G A B C D E F G7
VI Aeolian 1   2  b3  4   5  b6 b7 A B C D E F G Am7
VII Locrian 1  b2 b3  4 b5  b6 b7 B C D E F G A Bm7b5

Above is a chart which contains the 7 modes in the key of C major. From the very left we have the numbers 1-7 and their corresponding mode. I is always Ionian (the major scale) and VI is always Aeolian (the minor scale) just as II is always Dorian etc etc. The order never changes, it’s just the way it is, and that’s cool because it makes learning music theory a lot easier for us! the numbers next to each mode is the scale formula. The formula for the major scale is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, this is because the major scale contains 7 notes. The corresponding modes also have 7 notes, because they are the same scale as the major scale, the only difference is some of the numbers are flattened (shown by the b symbol) to compensate for the fact that they don’t share the same root note as the Ionian mode (C). Don’t worry yourself too much about this, it’s all very simple and you will get your head around it.

Next to the numbers we have the notes that correspond to the numbers, the numbers are just memory devices to help us remember what notes belong in the scale. And finally on the very left we have the appropriate chords that each of the respective modes belong to. It is best to play the modes over their respective chords. So for example, over a Cmaj7 chord we could either play C Ionian or C Lydian. While over a Dm7 chord we could either play D Dorian, D Phrygian or D Aeolian.

Now look at the chart again, I hope it looks less alien to you now. It’s really important that you begin training your ears to hear the major scale and it’s modes, a good way to do this is to play the chords that correspond to each major scale, so to ear train the C major scale and it’s modes you would play these chords: Cmaj7/Dm7/Em7/Fmaj7/G7/Am7/Bm7b5. When you play each chord be mindful of what mode belongs to it, and what character or mood that mode embodies. Try to do this for each major scale; eg the G major scale has the chords: Gmaj7/Am7/Bm7/Cmaj7/D7/Em7/F#m7b5. If you have someone to jam with, create some chord progressions out of these chords and take turns practicing the modes to the progressions. Here are some progressions to get you started:

Ionian:   I – IV – V – I

Dorian:   ii – iii – IV – I – ii

Phrygian:   iii – ii – vi – IV – iii

Lydian:   IV – vi – V – iii – IV

Mixolydian:   V – IV – I – V

Aeolian:   vi – V – IV – V – vi

I haven’t included the 7th mode (Locrian) as the vii chord is difficult to resolve to in a chord progression. For the sake of user-friendly-ness and to help you start playing straight away, I will translate those above modal progressions into the key of C major, but I encourage you to do the same for the rest of the major scales yourself!

C Ionian:   Cmaj7 – Fmaj7- G7 – Cmaj7

D Dorian:   Dm7 – Em7 – Fmaj7 – Cmaj7 – Dm7

E Phrygian:   Em7 – Dm7 – Am7 – Fmaj7- Em7

F Lydian:   Fmaj7 – Am7 – G7 – Em7 – Fmaj7

G Mixolydian:   G7 – Fmaj7 – Cmaj7 – G7

A Aeolian:   Am7 – G7 – Fmaj7 – G7 – Am7

Modes

Above is a very helpful chart I made to help you practice the modes of the C major scale. Each mode shows it’s main box position, at both sides of the guitar (fretboard repeats itself at the 12th fret), and it also shows it’s respective root note. All modes also show the root C note, so you can remember how they all relate to their parent scale. By learning all of these positions and keeping in mind the C root, you will have successfully learned the major scale (Ionian mode) across the entire fretboard, and you will have the ability to play each of it’s modes as well. In the next lesson on the modes of the major scale I will teach you how to branch off from playing modes like this, to actually learning each individual scale on it’s own. This way in the key of C you would be able to easily play C Ionian, C Dorian, C Phryigian, C Lydian, C Mixolydian, C Aeolian and C Locrian, rather than being confined to only being able to play modes within and not without it’s parent major scale.

Below is an example taken from the legendary zentao.com which allows you to hear the differences between all of the modes in C, but not the modes derived from C. (C Ionian, C Dorian, C Phryigian, C Lydian, C Mixolydian, C Aeolian and C Locrian) Click the name of the mode to hear the scale being played and demonstrated over a C pedal tone.

  1. Ionian – Very clean sounding, almost to the point of sounding sterile. Your Grandma would love this one.
  2. Dorian – Can sound smooth and soulful or hip and bluesy, depending on how you use it.
  3. Phrygian – Has a very Middle-Eastern or Spanish sound.
  4. Lydian – Very clean, like Ionian, but the #4 gives it a more spacey, unresolved quality.
  5. Mixolydian – “Funky” or “folky”, depending on how it’s used. This mode has been used for everything from old sea chanteys to a lot of 70’s rock tunes.
  6. Aeolian – Dark and sad like those old cowboy songs, or tough and mean as used in a lot of heavy rock songs.
  7. Locrian – The real ear-twister of the bunch. Can sound Spanish like Phrygian, but much darker and more unresolved.

Here is a list of all of the major scales, and their notes/respective mode. Use this as a reference, until you commit them to memory. Don’t pay any attention to the red/black colours, they’re only there to visually distinguish the main major scale keys from the flat ones.

major scale keys

Finally I’ll list each of the modes in order from “brightest” to “darkest”:

  1. Lydian – 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
  2. Ionian – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  3. Mixolydian – 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
  4. Dorian – 1 b2 b3 4 5 6 b7
  5. Aeolian – 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
  6. Phrygian – 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
  7. Locrian – 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

In case you missed the link, you can download Frank Gambale’s instructional DVD on guitar modes here, it taught me almost everything I know abut modes (the clip above comes from this dvd). Finally I have uploaded a bunch of modal backing tracks into a zip file which you can download here, these tracks will be a great asset to your learning of the modes!

Anyway enough of me, happy playing!

Be sure to check out the other guitar guides scattered throughout the site!

Chord Theory

Scale Theory

General Music Theory

If you liked this post, be sure to subscribe!

70 thoughts on “Modes of the Major Scale Explained!

  1. Pingback: Modes of the Melodic Minor Scale! | end of the game

  2. hi there, first of all i would like to thank to this site it helps me a lot..I am just a bit confused of using those modes, if for example the guitar chord played are C-G-F, my lead part i have to start at C ionian? then if the chords is in F, do i have to go to Lydian scale? i mean shift from ionian to lydian? thanks..pls help me…

    Like

  3. Hey, thanks for your comment! I’m glad this site had helped you out in some way.
    Regarding your example, if you wanted to play lead over the chords C-G-F, you could play the entire solo in C Ionian. As long as the root of the song is in C major, then it will sound good.

    The jazz approach is what you are referring to, that is also correct, in your example you would play G Mixolydian over the G chord and F Lydian over the F chord. But the whole time you would still be playing all the same notes of the C Ionian (major) scale, you would just root the G and F over those chords, and the C on the C chord.

    So if you know your Major scale like the back of your hand, then technically you don’t have to ‘shift’ scale, instead all you have to do is shift the character of the scale, by changing the root. If you think of lead guitar as speech for example, then the root note would be the full stop. So in a musical sentence, how you end it is entirely up to you – i.e what note you end it on.

    This diagram will be a huge help in your mastering of modes: https://endofthegame.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/c-major-scale-7-positions.jpg
    You can learn any scale by only memorising 5 patterns, in this case the 5 patterns of the C major scale are C, D, E, G and A. F and B aren’t necessary as they are only a semitone apart from E and A. But for the sake of modes I have included them. Notice how in each scale shape the orange is the root of the major scale (C Ionian in this case). While the other colours represent the roots of the major scales respective modes.

    I hope I didn’t over explain that as I’m sure you have already grasped this all! But please let me know if you need any more help. In the mean time use this backing track to help you out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbYy5zNU0Zo
    Practice playing C Ionian throughout the entire piece, then try to play A Aeolian over the Am7 chord, F Lydian over the F chord, and G Mixolydian over the G chord. I hope you’ll hear that both methods will sound ‘right’, but the second one will open up more musical doors and windows for you to explore!

    Like

  4. Hi mate how r u? im surprised that u answered my question i thought this site just for fun/commercial etc…anyways first of all i would like to thank you for all your efforts…can i ask u more questions? as far as i know the minors are dorian, phrygian and aeolian am i right? if so heres my question..IF the chords of the songs starts of Em-G-C-D do i have to use or start at Em Phrygian modes? or Em dorian mode? or Em aeolian mode? when can i use those 3 minors modes? thank you so much for your time..i really appreciate that….ciao

    Like

  5. this is part of my first comment, u said that (you could play the entire solo in C Ionian. As long as the root of the song is in C major, then it will sound good. ) u mean C Ionian then continue to D dorian, E phrygian, F Lydian an so on coz thats the pattern of C major Ionian.. or i just stay at C Ionian till the whole lead? sorry i really dont get it…lol, im just confused…thank u again….

    Like

  6. Haha that’s alright, modes are confusing as hell at first… But don’t give up, you’ll soon realise how deceivingly simple it really is! Yes you are right, those are the three minor modes. When you can use them depends entirely on what chords are in the progression. First I’ll clarify your C-G-F question: Yes you can stay in C Ionian throughout the entire song, that is you can root C on the C chord, the G chord and the F chord in that progression, or any C major progression. Same goes with all the major scales. Most blues guitarists for example, only play the pentatonic minor scale, and use it for any minor chord progression (Gm pentatonic on a Gm progression for example, just listen to any Cream, Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin song).

    Remember, the Ionian scale and Dorian, and Phrygian etc are all separate scales, A ‘C’ Ionian is totally different from a ‘C’ Dorian or a ‘C’ Mixolydian, but each major scale conveniently contains modes inside it. To elaborate: there are 7 notes in every major scale, and there are 7 modes in every major scale. The modes each correspond to a number:

    1 = Ionian
    2 = Dorian
    3 = Phrygian
    4 = Lydian
    5 = Mixolydian
    6 = Aeolian
    7 = Locrian.

    Another thing that is a constant are the major/minor tonalities:

    1 = Major
    2 = Minor
    3 = Minor
    4 = Major
    5 = Major
    6 = Minor
    7 = Half Diminished (Minor)

    The modes, and whether they are major or minor never changes position, the only thing that does change are the notes that go next to these numbers. The 7 notes of the C major scale (left) and the G major scale (right) are:

    1 = C (MAJOR) 1 = G (MAJOR)
    2 = D (minor) 2 = A (minor)
    3 = E (minor) 3 = B (minor)
    4 = F (MAJOR) 4 = C (MAJOR)
    5 = G (MAJOR) 5 = D (MAJOR)
    6 = A (minor) 6 = E (minor)
    7 = B (minor) 7 = F# (minor)

    So with your chord progression (2nd question) of Em – C – G – D.
    As you can see the D major chord doesn’t fit in the C major scale, if it were a D minor chord then it would. E minor, C major, G major, and D major all fit into the G major scale (above/right). In the G major scale, E minor is the 6th note, and therefore it is the 6th mode. Since the 6th mode is ALWAYS Aeolian, you would play E Aeolian for that progression, and yes, you can play it throughout the entire progression if you like (over every chord).

    I hope that answers your question. I’ll probably do a guide on the major scale soon so that should help you enormously with modes. If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

    Like

  7. Here are ‘all’ of the major scales:

    C Major Scale: C D E F G A B
    D Major Scale: D E F# G A B C#
    E Major Scale: E F# G# A B C# D#
    F Major Scale: F G A Bb C D E
    G Major Scale: G A B C D E F#
    A Major Scale: A B C# D E F# G#
    B Major Scale: B C# D# E F# G# A#

    C# Major Scale: C# D# E# F# G# A# B#
    D# Major Scale: D# F G G# A# C D
    F# Major Scale: F# G# A# B C# D# E#
    G# Major Scale: G# A# C C# D# F G
    A# Major Scale: A# C D D# F G A

    Like

  8. Hi amigo how are you? i hope everythings fine..i dont know how to thank you for giving me spare time to learn about guitar modes..im just new about this coz i used to play pentatonic a lot coz its really easy…hehehe..and now i want something new coz its a bit boring now for me keep on repeating all those pentatonic scale….to tell you honestly the chords that i played all the time and the modes that i used and i am very happy with coz its really work if i used all the modes if i start G mixylodian or C major, A aeolian, D dorian and so on, these chords C-G-Am-F, if i play that chords i can use or i can start with i mentioned above it will fit, if i start with A aeolian then run to C major back in 8th frets, back to G mixylodian in 3rd frets, and then go to D dorian, i can play all of the modes and it fits all of them…hehehe…thats why im happy just that chords….im wondering why it fits…if i used that in pentatonic lick i start in Am pentatonic, then run to C major pentatonic,then run D (major/minor pentatonic in 10th frets) then in E minor pentatonic in 12 frets and so on…i will read million times all your message so that i will understand all of the…just like 1 hour ago i tried to play the Em-C-G-D and i started Em Phrydian mode it didnt fit hahaaa…i feel sorry to myself…..anyways jst like u said that i will never give up…thanks for your hint amigo..you are the man…thank you so much for your help..i wish u were here so that i can buy you a bottle of beer…hehehee…

    Like

  9. Hi amigo how are you? i hope everythings fine..i dont know how to thank you for giving me spare time for teaching me about guitar modes..im just new about this coz i used to play pentatonic a lot coz its really easy…hehehe..and now i want something new coz its a bit boring now for me keep on repeating all those pentatonic scale….to tell you honestly the chords that i played all the time and the modes that i used and i am very happy with coz it really worked if i used all the modes if i start G mixylodian or C major, A aeolian, D dorian and so on, these chords C-G-Am-F, if i play that chords i can use or i can start with i mentioned above it will fit, if i start with A aeolian then run to C major back in 8th frets, back to G mixolydian in 3rd frets, and then go to D dorian, i can play all of the modes and it fits all of them…hehehe…thats why im happy just that chords….im wondering why it fits…if i use that in pentatonic lick i start in Am pentatonic, then run to C major pentatonic,then run D (major/minor pentatonic in 10th frets) then in E minor pentatonic in 12 frets and so on…i will read million times all your message so that i will understand all of that…just like 1 hour ago i tried to play the Em-C-G-D and i started Em Phrydian mode it didnt fit/work… hahaaa…i feel sorry to myself…..anyways jst like u said that i will never give up…thanks for your hint amigo..you are the man…thank you so much for your help..i wish u were here so that i can buy you a bottle of beer…hehehee…

    Like

  10. Yeah I know how it feels to get sick of playing the pentatonic minor scale, I still find myself playing it a lot as it’s hard not to when you’re trying to play blues. There are no modes contained within a pentatonic scale, so you can’t play Am pentatonic over an Am chord and then play C major pentatonic over a C chord, it just doesn’t work. You have to play in the key of the song, and stick to it. With the progressions Em-C-G-D, the Em Phrygian mode WILL NOT work. Those chords belong to the G major scale, as there is no D major chord in the C major scale, only a Dm chord. So you would play E AEOLIAN over those chords. Thanks again for your comments, I hope you nail this soon!

    Like

  11. hi mate thanks for your time…about the Em-C-G-D, i think i understood a bit now, how i wish…lol…is this right i used E aeolian, so G becomes the major, and A becomes the Dorian and C becomes the phrygian? so on, am right? thanks….

    Like

  12. No problem mate, you almost got it! G becomes the major, and A becomes the Dorian so you’re spot on there, but the B is actually the phrygian, while the C becomes Lydian.

    G – Ionian (major)
    A – Dorian (minor)
    B – Phrygian (minor)
    C – Lydian (major)
    D – Mixolydian (major)
    E – Aeolian (minor)
    F# – Locrian (half diminished/minor)

    Like

  13. You should also try to substitute 7th chords for the typical major and minor chords. So your progression of Em – C – G – D would become Em7 – Cmaj7 – Gmaj7 – D7. These chords are much better for playing modes over as they have a jazzier sound to them. Each of the 7 modes also have a 7th chord type associated with them, they are:

    Ionian – major 7 (Gmaj7)
    Dorian – minor 7 (Am7)
    Phrygian – minor 7 (Bm7)
    Lydian – major 7 (Cmaj7)
    Mixolydian – dominant 7 (D7)
    Aeolian – minor 7 (Em7)
    Locrian – half diminished (F#min7b5)

    If you don’t know how to play these chords then here’s a guide I wrote on barre chord shapes which includes all of the shapes for the 7th chords. https://endofthegame.net/2011/08/23/barrechord/

    Like

  14. hello…how are you? yeah your right B is the phrygian and so on….can u pls give me a hint or the tricks of using modes if there is like easy to remember where or what to start to play for instance the chords starts Dm so easy to think what modes would be the best to play for Dm? modes are all the same all i need is how to deliver isn’t? coz u have to follow the pattern am i right? thanks heaps amigo…have a nice day…

    Like

  15. Pingback: The Chord Guide: Pt III – Chord Progressions | END OF THE GAME

  16. Pingback: The Chord Guide: Pt II – Barre Chords | END OF THE GAME

  17. Pingback: The Chord Guide: Pt I – Open Chords | END OF THE GAME

  18. Pingback: University Course: Introduction to Music Theory | END OF THE GAME

  19. Pingback: Natural, Harmonic and Melodic Minor Scales | END OF THE GAME

  20. Pingback: Frank Gambale: Modes No More Mystery | END OF THE GAME

  21. Pingback: Mother of All Music Theory – The Major Scale | END OF THE GAME

  22. Pingback: Jazz Guitar – Bebop Scales | END OF THE GAME

  23. Pingback: Song Lesson: The Girl From Ipanema | END OF THE GAME

  24. hi sir how are you? just wanna ask something, if the chords would be C-Em-Am-G, the Major would be C ionian? do i have to follow the pattern like C ionian then D dorian E phrygian and so on..do i have to? thanks for your help sir…

    Like

    • I’m good thanks, how are you? Yes with that progression the major would be C Ionian, so you can play that scale over the entire progression.

      If you want to play over that progression using modes then you would emphasise the E note over the Em chord, the A note over the Am chord and the G note over the G major chord. Therefore you would be playing C Ionian over the C, E Phrygian over the Em, A Aeolian over the Am and G Mixolydian over the G major.

      All of those modes have exactly the same notes on the fretboard as the C Ionian, so the patterns are identical. You don’t have to play any particular pattern at all if you don’t want to, as long as you play the notes of C major (C,D,E,F,G,A,B) and resolve each chord with it’s corresponding note. Choosing which notes to play and when is the hard part.

      Hope that helps.

      Like

      • I hope you don’t mind, I print out your sheets to show my students how to apply my method to your explanations. This helps the student to understand every lesson they come across on the internet no matter how complicated or advanced the lesson may be.

        Like

  25. Thanks for such a nice post. I have a few questions so I can make it 100% clear for me.

    If I have a simple chord progression, say I IV V, in C. If I wanted to see what Lydian sounds over that I would go for the F Lydian, since it has the same notes as C Ionian, instead of the C Lydian, right?

    And if say I wanted to play C Lydian and don’t have a chord progression, I would have to figure out what Ionian mode has the same notes, and build a chord progression out of that, correct?

    Now for a something I don’t really know, if you make chords out of a different mode. C Ionian goes I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, dim. F Lydian is instead I, II, iii, dim, V, vi, viii, isn’t it? (Big letters mean major, small ones minor.) Do the standard chord progression tips work there too? As in, the V resolves nicely into I and such. Is that so with all modes?

    So if I have made a progression from F Lydian, the key is not C, it’s F Lydian, right? What modes can I play then? This last question is the one I am wondering most about.

    Like

    • Hi Knaif. Grab your guitar. Lydian in the key of C. Start with C note, then D note, then E note, then F# note, then G note, then A note, then B Note, then C note.

      Make your chord from the 1st note then every second note. The C note, the E note, the G note, the B note. This is an F Major seventh chord. (You may notice that you are playing the G Major scale but you are in the key of C).

      Don’t consider the chord progression to be say I IV V, in C. The scale/mode dictates the chord structure and chord progression.

      You can make other chords from the notes C, D, E, F#, G, A, B

      Just choose one of the notes, as the root note for the chord, then select every second note to form your chord. Just select 3 notes. E, G, B. This will be the E minor chord.

      So now you have F major 7th chord, then change to E minor chord…..hear how the notes work with these chords.

      Please tell me how you fair with this……there are a few more concepts that need to be understood before modes become the basis for your theory knowledge.

      Ross

      Like

      • Don’t ask yourself questions like this “So if I have made a progression from F Lydian, the key is not C, it’s F Lydian, right?” They are too advanced. It is not this difficult but it’s like asking the pilot of a jet how do I work out density altitude when you do not know the physics of flight. There are some important concepts to learn first.

        Learn your C major scale. C, D, E, F, G, G, A, B, C.

        Dorian..in the key of D. Use these notes D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D

        Build your chords from the same notes
        D, F, A….D minor
        E, G, B….E minor
        F, A, C….F Major
        Etc. Play notes D…..to…..D over your chords and you have it.

        Take Aeolian, this will be in the key of A. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A

        Make your chords from the same notes
        A, C, E….A minor
        Etc. Play notes A….to….A over your chords and you are now playing in Aeolian mode.

        Ross

        Like

      • In the key of C the Ionian chord structure would be:I ii iii IV V vi vii
        In the key of C the Dorian chord structure would be: ii iii IV V vi vii I
        In the key of C the Phrygian chord structure would be: iii IV V vi vii I ii
        In the key of C the Lydian chord structure would be:IV V vi vii I ii iii.
        Mixolydian in the key of C, chord structure would be: V vi vii I ii iii IV
        Aeolian in the key of C, chord structure would be: vi vii I ii iii IV V
        Locrian starts on the vii I ii iii IV V vi

        Ross

        Like

    • Hi thanks for the comment. Yes you are absolutely right about playing an F Lydian over a progression in C. If you wanted to play C Lydian you just have to look at what notes make up the scale (C,D7,Em,F#dim,G,Am,Bm), and then you would realise that the C Lydian is the 4th of the G major scale, and you build your progression around that information, so yes you are correct.

      As for the second part of your question, the chord structure for C is I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii (C,Dm,Em,F,G7,Am,Bdim), while the chord structure for F Lydian is IV-V-vi-vii-I-ii-iii (F,G7,Am,Bdim,C,Dm,Em), yes the standard chord progressions rules still apply – pick up your guitar and experiment to hear what chords sound best with certain modes. The Lydian chord resolves really well into the Mixolydian (dominant 7) chord, so a typical Lydian progression would be Fmaj7-G7-Fmaj7. If you make a progression from F Lydian, then you are still technically in the key of C, it is just that the tonality is in F if that makes sense.

      Like

  26. you’re truly a good webmaster. The web site loading velocity is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve performed a great process in this matter!

    Like

  27. I have been surfing on-line more than 3 hours as of late, but I
    never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours.
    It’s beautiful price enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content as you did, the net will be much more helpful than ever before.

    Like

  28. Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need
    some guidance from an established blog. Is it hard
    to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal
    but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but
    I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or
    suggestions? Cheers

    Like

  29. I make income from numerous distinct resources, but
    my favorite must be private marketing where you can get other individuals to
    spend you month right after month soon after month with no obtaining to
    be concerned about page views or adsense.

    Like

  30. Pingback: Mother of All Music Theory – The Major Scale | END OF THE GAME

  31. Thank you so much for this webpage on modes I learned so much I loved the way you broke everything down and made it easy to understand I comprehend this explanation a lot better then anything I’ve read on any website you explain all the modes scales and chords which was exactly what I was looking for I want to start learning jazz scales and chords just so I can learn more and keep progressing on guitar i’m always wanting to learn new things on it

    I’ve been playing guitar for about 14 years now and learned and picked it up by ear so for me it’s really important to learn the fundamentals of
    Scales chords and modes
    So once again thank you very much for you site and page

    Danny

    Like

  32. Just found this article – bloody awesome! Thank you so so much. You made more sense than any other article I have read about modes.

    Like

  33. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem along with your site
    in web explorer, might test this? IE still is the marketplace chief
    and a big component of other people will leave out your fantastic
    writing because of this problem.

    Like

  34. It’s hard to find your blog in google. I found it on 16 spot, you should build quality
    backlinks , it will help you to rank to google top 10. I know how to help
    you, just search in google – k2 seo tips and tricks

    Like

  35. I see a lot of interesting posts on your blog.
    You have to spend a lot of time writing, i know how
    to save you a lot of work, there is a tool that creates unique, google friendly
    articles in couple of minutes, just type in google – k2 unlimited
    content

    Like

  36. Hi! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you
    knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and
    I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

    Like

  37. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to
    be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and very broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

    Like

  38. I read a lot of interesting posts here. Probably you spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot
    of time, there is an online tool that creates readable, google friendly articles in minutes, just search in google – laranitas free content source

    Like

  39. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely helpful information specially the last part :) I care for such information much.
    I was looking for this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

    Like

  40. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone
    to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my
    own blog and would like to find out where u got this from.
    many thanks

    Like

  41. I am confused by this paragraph.

    “Next to the numbers we have the notes that correspond to the numbers, the numbers are just memory devices to help us remember what notes belong in the scale. And finally on the very left we have the appropriate chords that each of the respective modes belong to. It is best to play the modes over their respective chords. So for example, over a Cmaj7 chord we could either play C Ionian or C Lydian. While over a Dm7 chord we could either play D Dorian, D Phrygian or D Aeolian.”

    Are you saying play Dorian, Phrygian or Aeolian in the key of D major over a dm7 chord?
    The chord progression is in C major right?
    I thought I was beginning to understand this until I read that.

    Like

  42. You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation but I find this matter
    to be really one thing that I think I might by no means
    understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely vast
    for me. I’m looking ahead for your next submit, I’ll attempt to
    get the grasp of it!

    Like

  43. Most are made with one anchor per leg tube, and then the anchor in enclosed in cement along with
    the leg. Tissue or plastic bags can be used to fill in a
    torso, legs, arms, shoulders, or any other body feature of a mannequin that displays
    a child’s garment. Tahoe furniture outlet in tahoe city, california (ca ) 4814805.

    Like

  44. Pingback: Songs That Use Phrygian Mode | Turnmotherfucker

  45. Pingback: What Are The 7 Modes Of The Major Scale | Information

  46. I have a question on the last chart, the one with red and black.
    I think it confuses people if they do not understand how to use the chart. (It is very helpful once you understand how to use it, but if someone is still wrapping their heads around how modes work, I think it does more harm than good.)
    *Most people understand this chart backwards.
    For example, if they want to play a C Phrygian scale, most people will instinctively begin by looking at the C line and find the Phrygian column, where it has E. They will either begin the C scale on an E (scales always start and end on the letter name) or they may even try playing the C scale in the key signature of E.
    *Instead, the correct way to use this chart is by looking first in the Phrygian column, finding C, and playing the C scale with the Ab key signature applied.
    A lot of people also use backwards terminology to refer to which scale they mean. It is very easy to get it turned around, similar to how it is easy to transpose by the correct interval in the wrong direction.
    I thought maybe this explanation would be helpful, since it is what helped me.

    Like

    • Thanks Audrey, that was very helpful. As the rest of this site is amazingly concise and easy to understand, I was really struggling with the chart early-on when first learning modes. Your explanation was very well-written. Cheers. And thanks to EOG for a great website!

      Like

  47. I have a question about Dorian. In your lesson, under the Frank Gambale video the Dorian mode is listed as:

    1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7

    Under the list of modes in order from “brightest” to “darkest” the Dorian mode is listed as:

    1 b2 b3 4 5 6 b7

    Is the second one a typo?

    Like

  48. Pingback: SSI Research – George Hinson

Leave a Reply (Don't Be Shy!)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s