Dorian Scale: Theory & Ear Training

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The Dorian Scale has a primitive, minorish, sometimes jazzy quality that is widely used in pop, rock, folk, and modal jazz…

Theory

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

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  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.

Solfege Ear Training

Let’s take a moment to talk about how to get the most benefit from the Solfege ear training studies below…

  1. Singing the Solfege syllables out loud is the most effective way to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in any musical scale. Why? Because singing out loud requires you to actively process the sounds at a much deeper level than merely passively listening.
  2. It is absolutely essential that you go slowly enough to allow the unique sound-feeling of each Solfege syllable to make a meaningful impression on your mind’s ear.
  3. This is not interval training. It’s okay if you hear the intervals between successive notes, but your goal is to hear and feel the unique character of each Solfege syllable with respect to the key center DO and to each other.
  4. Solfege ear training generalizes to any key. In other words, if you can hear and feel the unique harmonic pull of Ti towards Do in the key of C, you will be able to hear and feel the unique harmonic pull of Ti towards Do in any key!
  5. At first, it’s quite alright to play each note on your instrument before you sing, but I promise you this: If you do these studies as described above, you will quickly internalize the unique sound-feeling of each Solfege syllable in you mind’s ear without help from your instrument.
  6. In summary… Sing out loud, take your time, and fight for every note. If you do, you will enjoy musical dividends for a lifetime, guaranteed!

C Dorian Scale: Linear Ascending…

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C Dorian Scale: Linear Descending…

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C Dorian Scale: Do-X-Do Ascending…

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C Dorian Scale: Do-X-Do Descending…

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learn more… Lydian Scale: Theory & Ear Training