Music Theory Lesson

Identify Modes - Theory

Difficulty: intermediate

Memorizing the music theory of modes, the patterns relative to the major scale, can give you superpowers when improvisation and songwriting. This knowledge can help you make more interesting melodies and chord progressions.

Let's start with the major scale, which is also the first mode, called Ionian.

Ionian - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Second, is the Dorian mode, which is the same as the natural minor scale, but with a raised 6th note.

Dorian - 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 1

Third, is the Phrygian mode, which is the same as the natural minor scale, but with a lowered 2nd note.

Phrygian - 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 1

Fourth, is the Lydian mode, which is the same as the major scale, but with a raised 4th note.

Lydian - 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 1

Fifth, is the Mixolydian mode, which is the same as the major scale, but with a lowered 7th note.

Mixolydian - 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 1

Sixth, is the Aeolian mode, which IS the natural minor scale. Relative to the major scale, it has a lowered 3rd, 6th, and 7th note.

Aeolian - 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 1

Seventh, is the Locrian mode, which is a diminished mode. Relative to the natural minor scale, it adds a lowered 2nd and 5th note.

Locrian - 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 1