Intro To The Modes

Before getting into modes it is advised that you have a strong knowledge of music theory in regards to the following topics:

  • Full, 7-note, Major and Natural Minor Scales.
  • Relative Major and Minor Scales – can you work out the relative Major scale of any given Minor?
  • Scale Construction – do you know what kind of 6 is in a Minor scale? Do you know what a perfect interval is?

If you’re comfortable discussing those topics please do carry on. If not you’ll be much better off learning about them before you work on The Modes.

Similar to a scale, a mode is a collection of notes from which chords and melodies can be derived. You probably recognize by now that a Major scale sounds generally up-beat and happy, while a Minor scale will be more solemn and moody. Each mode has it’s own distinct feel and it’s pretty important that you decide for yourself what those particular feelings are. For now, get used to playing these shapes as separate and self-contained exercises.

The difference between a mode and a scale is that you probably won’t be writing songs in a mode. It’s more likely that phrases of a mode will be thrown into a Major or Minor song just to add something a bit different.

As mentioned in the video, you should already know the Aeolian and Ionian scales because, to reiterate:
Ionian = Major
Aeolian = Minor

So! You only have 5 new shapes to learn. Below are links to the focus lessons all of which include the tab for that mode, it’s formula, examples of songs and an etude:
Dorian Focus Lesson & Etude
Phrygian Focus Lesson & Etude
Lydian Focus Lesson & Etude
Mixolydian Focus Lesson & Etude
Locrian Focus Lesson & Etude

Happy modings.

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