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Modes of Major Scales...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by deadweeds, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. deadweeds


    Oct 28, 2002
    Harbor Beach,MI
    Right now I'm learning the scales/modes...I've read jazzbo's intro to scale and chord theory and have a question dealing with it....

    Take Fmaj.....it has one flat...does every mode of Fmaj have one flat as well?...and would every mode of Eb have 3 flats in it because the major scale has 3??....and so on and so on?

    It's just something I can't see too clear for some reason...thanks
  2. Hilly


    Jan 10, 2002
    Ipswich, UK

    One way to think of modes is as the major scale started from a note other than the root. E.g. the F lydian is a C major scale starting on F (the fourth note of the scale):

    F G A B C D E F

    Hope that helps, if not, there are plenty of people around here than can explain it better!

  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    (OK, Hilly. I'll jump in for a more detailed look at the answer, if any is needed.)

    What confused me when I first started learning modes was the fact that the key signature remains the same for each mode, though the mode name is different. That key signature tells you how many sharps or flats if any are in that key.

    F Major has a key signature indicating one flat, which is B flat. That same B flat appears in every mode of F major.

    These are the mode names and "spellings" of each mode of F Major.

    F Major Ionian: F, G, A, B flat, C, D, E, F
    G Dorian: G, A, B flat, C, D, E, F, G
    A Phrygian: A, B flat, C, D, E, F, G, A
    B Flat Lydian: B flat, C, D. E, F, G, A, B flat
    C Mixolydian: C, D, E, F, G, A, B Flat, C
    D Aeolian: D, E, F, G, A, B Flat, C, D
    E Locrian: E, F, G, A, B Flat, C, D, E

    So, by looking at the key signature of the Ionian (or first mode), you can tell how many sharps or flats if any and which ones will appear in each of its subsequent modes. That also shows you why the relative minor (also known as the Aeolian mode) has the same key signature as its major. That was something that confused me in the beginning.

    If all this still isn't clear, please ask for further explanation. Maybe someone else here can do a better job than I did.
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Always a pleasure to help out a fellow Nashvillian. How about those Titans!!:D
  5. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    check out Scott Hubbel's "Fretboard Alchemy" at www.Bassically.net

    good book for this stuff
  6. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Do you have this book? Can you tell me who the publisher is? I'm trying to find it up here in Canada to no avail, and don't wish to buy it online. Thanks!
  7. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    Just go to www.bassically.net

    and click on his (Scott Hubbell) link

    It's available for abt $15:cool:
  8. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I have to, respectfully, but vehemently, disagree with this approach to modes. Technically, of course, you are very correct Hilly, but, in my quite humble opinion, I do not like the approach of "thinking of the mode as a major scale started from another note". The problem with this, is that scales are only effective if you internalize their sound and qualities. Practicing scales all day is only useful when the player develops their ear to know how the major scale sounds, how the fifth moves to the first, how the seventh leads to the one, etc. When you think of modes as a form of a major scale, you are in essence deafening your ear to what the mode truly is, it's own scales. I think of modes like this:

    Ionian: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Dorian: 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 8
    Phrygian: 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8
    Lydian: 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 8
    Mixolydian: 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 8
    Aeolian: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8
    Locrian: 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 8

    In this way, you will develop your ear to understand how the modes sound, as their own scales.
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I second that. Much more useful in the real world, IMHO.
  10. David McCannon

    David McCannon

    Jan 24, 2003
    I understand the concept of modes I just don't understand how to incorporate it into playing. I've seen books that say "use this mode over this chord", is that what you must learn to do? I play mostly top 40 sounding stuff in only major keys. What good will modes do me when major scales seem to do the job? Really fishing for answers. Hoping a light bulb will go on.

  11. CAM


    Mar 10, 2003
    mongo's house
    Ive been told it is a case of "hearing" what should be played but there must be a structure to it as well. Im sure my ear will improve, but for the time being it would be cool to be able to use my brain instead of my ear,



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