November 2017

Modes of Playing

Entering the modal system is as simple as playing a major scale.

The playlist below features audio for all the examples from our November 2017 feature on the scales within scales known as modes. Here we’re focusing on the seven modes of the major scale, which correspond to the seven notes within that scale. Ionian mode starts with the scale’s first note, Dorian mode starts with the second, Phrygian mode starts with the third, Lydian mode starts with the fourth, Mixolydian mode starts with the fifth, Aeolian mode starts with the sixth, and Locrian mode starts with the seventh. In other words, if you play a C major scale starting from D (its second note) rather than C (its first note), you’re playing in D Dorian mode; if you play the same scale starting from E (its third note), you’re playing in E Phrygian mode; and so on. In Example 1, you’ll hear the seven modes of the C major scale in ascending order. Example 2 also contains all seven modes mentioned above, but in this case each one is starting from the same root note, G.

NotionappClick here to download all these examples for playback on the Notion app.