Music Modes Explained (1 Of 4)

What is a Mode?

A mode is a full scale, but starting and ending on any note within a scale. Its’ purpose is to create its own unique sound and emotion. Every mode has its’ own sound. Just as I mentioned in a previous blog of how an arpeggio is a broken chord, a mode can be thought of as a broken scale.

The major or minor scale has 7 notes in it. If you were to create a scale based off of each note, you create Modes. So a C major scale is written as C D E F G A B C, and if you wanted to create an A mode based off of the C major scale it would be A B C D E F G A. Notice – this is NOT an A major scale, rather, it’s an A Aoelian Mode.

What are the Modes?

Ionian = Also known as the major scale. Sounds bright and happy
Dorian = Its a minor scale with a b6 interval.
Phygian = Used as a Spanish scale alot.
Lydian = Creates a dreamy, floaty feeling. Its a major scale with a #4 interval
Mixolydian = Seen alot in Blues. The b7 creates movement through its’ dominant chord.
Aoelian = Also known as the minor scale. Sounds dark, and sad.
Locrian = Very tense scale. Creates the Diminished Chord, therefore the mode has a dark, and quirky feel


Click Here for pictures and explanations of the Modes!

Comments

  1. I get “ERROR 4 – Not FOund” When I pick any mode drill-down.

  2. I get “ERROR 4 – Not FOund” When I pick any mode drill-down.

  3. I get “Error 404 Not found” when I choose any mode drill-down.

  4. I get “Error 404 Not found” when I choose any mode drill-down.

  5. Fixed it! You should be good to go now :) Thanks for the heads up!

  6. Fixed it! You should be good to go now :) Thanks for the heads up!

  7. Nick

    Hey Walt – would be helpful if you could include indications of when to play a specific mode as a function of chord intervals. For instance, something in the key of C major that focuses on the IV chord would be X mode. Would it be C lydian, or F lydian? Another example, something in the key of A minor that focuses on the V chord, would that be A mixolydian, or E mixolydian? Right now, I’m stuck playing ionian when I hear major, and aeolian when I hear minor. But playing A Aeolian over an A minor chord progression really doesn’t get that “mode” feel to it :(. Your help is appreciated.

  8. Nick

    Hey Walt – would be helpful if you could include indications of when to play a specific mode as a function of chord intervals. For instance, something in the key of C major that focuses on the IV chord would be X mode. Would it be C lydian, or F lydian? Another example, something in the key of A minor that focuses on the V chord, would that be A mixolydian, or E mixolydian? Right now, I’m stuck playing ionian when I hear major, and aeolian when I hear minor. But playing A Aeolian over an A minor chord progression really doesn’t get that “mode” feel to it :(. Your help is appreciated.

  9. To answer your question – it would be F lydian, because the modes and the intervals have to match up. So since Lydian is the 4th mode, and F is the fourth note in the Key of C – if I played a IV chord in the key of C, you can play an F lydian mode over that and it would sound great.

    More here = http://waltribeiro.net/2008/10/27/improvising-on-scales-and-modes/

    Talk soon!

  10. To answer your question – it would be F lydian, because the modes and the intervals have to match up. So since Lydian is the 4th mode, and F is the fourth note in the Key of C – if I played a IV chord in the key of C, you can play an F lydian mode over that and it would sound great.

    More here = http://waltribeiro.net/2008/10/27/improvising-on-scales-and-modes/

    Talk soon!

  11. carol

    A couple of grammar notes for you: its’ is a word that doesn’t even exist in the English language. It’s is a contraction of two words: It is as in “It’s here on the table.” Note two: alot is not one word…..it’s two words: a lot, just like the two-word opposite: a little.

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