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Beginner/Intermediate Mode Lesson

by Guitarslinger124

6 Mar 2010
Views: 20857

A Quick Glance at Modes





Hey there folks, here is a little insight on modes for beginner to intermediate level players.


An interval is the distance between any of those notes. There are two basic intervals, "whole step" and "half step". A whole step is the equivalent of two frets on the fretboard, a half step, one fret.




There are seven modes in every major key. Take C major. Each note in that key is the root note for a mode in that key.

The modes in any major key, in order, are Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian. Now, sticking with C Major, you have C Ionian (also known as the C major) as the first mode in the key. Now you go from there:




C Ionain (a.k.a. C Major Scale)
D Dorian
E Phrygian
D Lydian
G Mixolydian
A Aeolian (a.k.a. A Natural Minor Scale)
B Locrian


You ask, what determines the order of the modes or what determines which note in a key will be the root note of a mode? The answer is simple. Each note in a key corrosponds with a degree.
Degress are the numbered order of the notes in a key/scale. So, take C major:



C - 1st degree
D - 2nd degree
E - 3rd degree
F - 4th degree
G - 5th degree
A - 6th degree
B - 7th degree



All the modes in a major key will have the same notes. The notes will always go in order of the Alphabet. Each mode will start with the root note of that mode, i.e. D Dorian will start with D and not C even though it is in the key of C major.





C Ionian C D E F G A B
D Dorian D E F G A B C
E Phrygian E F G A B C D
F Lydian F G A B C D E
G Mixolydian G A B C D E F
A Aeolian A B C D E F G
B Locrian B C D E F G A



All of the above modes are in the key of C major, thus, they all contain the same notes.

Learning how to play the modes is easy. Learning how to comprehend the modes is a little harder. I've sorted out the intverals for each mode so you can go ahead and build your own.






W= whole step H= Half step

(Numbers will refer to the degrees in each scale)

Ionian W W H W W W H
/ \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1



Dorian W H W W W H W
/ \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1



Phrygian

H W W W H W W
/ \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1



Lydian

W W W H W W H
/ \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1



Mixolydian

W W H W W H W
/ \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1



Aeolian

W H W W H W W
/ \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1



Locrian

H W W H W W W
/ \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1



And... Just to show you what the hell all of the above is, here is an example:





Key of G Major

G Ionian Scale

(Remember, the numbers refer to the degree in the scale)

W W H W W W H
/ \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \
G A B C D E F# G
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1




Go ahead a practice building your own scales now. Remember, while it might be easier just to memorize the patterns or pictures of every mode, it is very good practice and a helpful learning aid to memorize the intervals for every mode as well.

Hope this was of some help to you.

Rock on!



Comments:

01
03.09.2010
  Empirism

quick question, when you jamming do you think while jammin like now I play that note, then whole step up then half step up, and so on... I find that exremely difficult at first step.

02
03.09.2010
  Guitarslinger124

No, not at all. If I am really into the groove of what I am playing I don't have to think about what I am playing at all. The notes just come to fingers. But when I am practicing scales and such to refresh my memory, yes I do think about it. Otherwise there wouldn't be much purpose to it.

Like mentioned in the lesson, learning the intervals is a good learning aid. I don't really apply at the theory stuff while jamming. I just play whatever I think will sound good, or like I said above, if I am into it I don't think at all. When I used to be the studio, before I joined the Army, I would apply that knowledge to my rhythm parts. Most of my solo's were improvised though.

03
03.09.2010
  vincejonesiii

when i jam i just ... jam .. like pounding out notes in sequenceing and stuff but i do think about it sometime...

04
04.02.2010
  Israel12

This forum is AWESOME, is the best that i've found!!!! thanks a lot!

05
04.02.2010
  Guitarslinger124

Glad we've been of help!

06
07.25.2010
  guythatwantstoplaygoodguitarguy

That makes more sense that what I would have thought. : )

07
07.25.2010
  nullnaught

Do modes apply to chords as well as scales?

08
07.25.2010
  JazzMaverick

Chords are derrived from scales, check out my lesson to learn a bit more about it dude :)

but basically as an example say we have the C Major chord consisting of C E G - C is the root of the chord / the first. Then E is the 3rd of the C Major scale, so that makes G the 5th.

C - 1
D - 2
E - 3
F - 4
G - 5
A - 6
B - 7

Hope that makes more sense? :)

09
07.25.2010
  nullnaught

What lesson jazzy?

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