Blues School: Dorian Scale: Theory & Ear Training


The Dorian Scale is widely-used in minor and minor-ish Blues tonalities commonly found in Blues, rock, pop, folk, and modal jazz…

Here, for example, are the notes in the C Dorian Scale identified by letter name, scale degree, and Solfege syllable…

  1. The scale structure of the Dorian Scale is always 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7-1, no matter what key you are in.
  2. The Solfege syllables of the Dorian Scale are always Do-Re-Me-Fa-So-La-Te-Do, no matter what key you are in.
  3. The only thing that changes when you change keys are the letter names.

Comparative Scale Study

It is musically-appropriate to think of the Dorian Scale as the minor version of the Mixolydian Scale.

Mi gives the Mixolydian Scale a major flavor, while Me gives the Dorian Scale a minor flavor.

The Dorian Scale in Action

Would anyone like Frank to insert audio for these examples?

  • Evil Ways (Santana) : Tonality G Dorian
  • So What (Miles Davis) Tonality: D Dorian
  • Too Late Baby (Carol King) Tonality: A Dorian
  • Riders on the Storm (The Doors) Tonality: E Dorian

Solfege Ear Training

Reading, playing, and singing the Solfege syllables out loud is an extremely effective way to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in the scale.

C Dorian Scale: Linear Ascending…

C Dorian Scale: Linear Descending…

C Dorian Scale: Do-X-Do Ascending…

C Dorian Scale: Do-X-Do Descending…

learn more… Blues School: Mixolydian Scale-Chords: Theory & Ear Training