How to Study-Practice Scales: Modes

Every scale has as many modes as it has notes. Each mode is simply the same notes in the parent scale played starting on each possible note. Such knowledge prepares the way for fluent improvisation… where the ability to see and hear the relationships between chords and their related modes is an important part of your skill set.

Here, for example, are the seven MODES of the Bb Major Scale, a different mode for each not in the scale…


While knowing the names of each mode might be useful for getting good grades on a music theory test, the important thing is to be able to play them on your instrument. This is an especially important skill for jazz improvisation. By the way, do yourself a favor: Do not try to memorize the sequence of half-steps and whole steps for each mode. Simply learn each one directly by its visio-spatial layout and sound!

learn more: C Major Scale, Theory & Ear Training

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