The Modes…What are they?

The Modes are 7 different ways to play a certain scale. Each subsequent note in a scale has its own scale. For example in C Major you have the notes C D E F G A B C

Playing the Scale starting from the C it is the Major scale but is also known as Mode 1 – The Ionian Mode.

So you now have the C Ionian Scale. From the note D you get the D Dorian Scale.

If you start from E (playing the same scale that is) you now have the Phrygian mode. (E Phrygian) – Metallica uses this one a lot.

Playing from F – Lydian, from G – Mixolydian, from A – Aeolian (aka the Minor Scale), from B – Locrian.

The scales are movable so you can move them into different keys.

For example you can have C Ionian, G Ionian, D Ionian…etc…depending on what key you are playing in.

Below are the names of the scales in their order.

The Modes from the Major Key Perspective

Ionian (Major Scale)

Dorian

Phrygian

Lydian

Mixolydian

Aeolian (Minor Scale)

Locrian

The Modes from Relative Minor Key Perspective – simply start from the 6th scale degree

Aeolian (Minor Scale)

Locrian

Ionian (Major Scale)

Dorian

Phrygian

Lydian

Mixolydian


****Notice the relative minor key is the same as the Major key just in a different order.****

 

What to do with the Modes?

Dig in and learn these all in C. Once you do that you will have learned them in A Minor as well.

Heres a few other things you can do:

  • Write modal licks by taking away some of the notes of the scale (ascending or descending)
  • Improvise over backing tracks with these scales
  • Practice your technique and Increase your Dexterity

Learning these scale shapes will give you tons of ideas for years on end to solo and improvise and even compose with.

Try to be disciplined if you don’t have a teacher.

Not having a teacher means you are accountable for yourself.

Being able to do all of the above mentioned things with the modes will get you on the right path to mastery but you have to commit.

You have to decide that you will turn pro and you have to turn pro in your own head.

 

Modes in C
Modes in Am