Modes of the Major Scale: From Bright to Dark

• Video is split into Parts A and B, below. Click the tab to watch
   Part B.

  • Modes-1, Part A
  • Modes-1, Part B


• A good way to develop your ear is to learn to hear how the modes can be arranged from brightest to darkest. I remember being surpised by one aspect of this when I first learned it many years ago.

• A useful way to think of "the modes" is how they compare to either the plain major scale or the plain minor scale.

• "Norwegian Wood" by the Beatles is in Mixolydian mode (though I doubt they were aware of the fact when they wrote it). Mixolydian is the same as the major scale, but with a b7.

• Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" is in Aeolian mode (or, natural minor).

• I think the most useful modes are Ionian (major scale), Aeolian (minor scale), Mixolydian (major with a b7) and Dorian (minor with a major 6th).

• Phrygian, with its b2, sounds Spanish. Since Locrian has a diminished tonic chord, it would be very difficult to use.

• As always, tringy to hum these scales is the best way to assimilate them.

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