stupid question about modes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by melvin, May 20, 2001.

  1. melvin


    Apr 28, 2001
    i know this is a really stupid question but i want to make sure i know this for a fact. a mode is just a scale that certain notes are sharp or flat. am i right or am i horribly wrong? also can a mode start on any note or just c?
  2. A mode is a scale based off a certain scale. It has all the sharps or flats that the scale it's based on has. Which note you start on depends on which mode you want to use. Fill in whatever I missed guys.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    A mode can actually have no sharps or flats, as would be the case with modes built from the C major scale.

    So here's how you figure out a mode. You start with the parent scale. Then you start a "new" scale by starting the scale on a different note of the parent scale.

    I'll do C major as the parent scale to make it simple.

    1. Ionian Mode (Parent Scale): C D E F G A B C
    2. Dorian: D E F G A B C D
    3. Phrygian: E F G A B C D E
    4. Lydian: F G A B C D E F
    5. Mixolydian: G A B C D E F G
    6. Aeolian: A B C D E F G
    7. Locrian: B C D E F G A B

    Modes built on major scales as the parent scale have a formula that applies to that mode and tells you the intervals of the scale used in that mode.


    Ionian: R (root) 2 3 4 5 6 7 Octave
    Dorian: R 2 flat3 4 5 6 flat7 Oct.
    Phyrgian: R flat2 flat3 4 5 flat 6 flat7 Oct.
    Lydian: R 2 3 sharp4 5 6 7 Oct.
    Mixolydian: R 2 3 4 5 6 flat7 Oct.
    Aeolian:R 2 flat3 4 5 flat6 flat7 Oct
    Locrian: R flat2 flat3 4 flat5 falt6 flat7 Oct

    Knowing the intervals of each mode, you can play any mode to any major scale at any place on the fretboard. Other scales besides the major scales have modes too, for example the jazz melodic minor scale and the harmonic minor scale. But just learning the major scale modes will keep you busy for awhile.

    I hope that isn't too confusing. If you have more questions, many folks here can answer you. There is no such thing as a stupid question. People trying to learn something aren't stupid.
  4. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    So is the Ionian scale and the major scale of C the same shape/ pattern with regards to fingering? Also are the subsequent modes the same shape/pattern over the other keys?
  5. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Looking at the intervals another way:

    Ionian: W W H W W W H

    Dorian: W H W W W H W

    Phrygian: H W W W H W W

    Lydian: W W W H W W H

    Mixolydian: W W H W W H W

    Aeolian: W H W W H W W

    Locrian: H W W H W W W

    W = whole step (C to D)
    H = half step (C to C#/Db)

    This illustrates the interval relationship of each of the modes. Start on any note and play the series of whole steps and half steps and you're playing that mode.
  6. melvin


    Apr 28, 2001
    ok that makes a lot of sense. thanks everyone