Scales: Ways to Know a Scale: Modes

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Every scale has as many Modes 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 note in the scale…

Ionian Mode…

Dorian Mode…

Phrygian Mode…

Lydian Mode…

Mixolydian Mode…

Aeolian Mode…

Locrian 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.

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

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