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Scales: Ways to Know a Scale: Modes

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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.

Here, for example, are the seven modes of the Bb Major Scale

Ionian (1st) Mode…

Dorian (2nd) Mode…

Phrygian (3rd) Mode…

Lydian (4th) Mode…

Mixolydian (5th) Mode…

Aeolian (6th) Mode…

Locrian (7th) Mode…

Don’t feel overwhelmed by all this. While knowing the names of each mode might be useful for getting good grades on a music theory test, the important thing is to realize at this point is that you can play a scale starting on any of its notes.

Also, don’t try to memorize the sequence of half-steps and whole steps for each mode. Simply learn each one directly by its visio-spatial layout with respect to the scale each is built from.

By the way, such knowledge and skill helps us to organize our musical thoughts and prepares the way for fluent improvisation.

learn more… A Video Tour or the Major Scale in 12 Keys

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