Scale of the Week – Modes


With Halloween right around the corner, there isn’t a better time to practice the scary modes! As a classical musician, I’m guilty of not practicing my modes very often, but they are still very important.

What is a mode anyway? One way to look at a mode is to pick a key signature and start on a certain scale degree for a particular mode. Let’s stick with the key signature C Major for the below examples.

IonianStart on the first scale degree (C)

DorianStart on the second scale degree (D)

PhrygianStart on the third scale degree (E)

LydianStart on the fourth scale degree (F)

MixolydianStart on the fifth scale degree (G)

AeolianStart on the sixth scale degree (A)

LocrianStart on the seventh scale degree (B)

Another way to look at modes is to realize that each mode has certain notes flat or natural in their scale. For example, a Dorian scale starting on D would have a flat third (F natural) and flat seventh (C natural).

Still confused? Check out here for more information.

There are also several clever ways to remember the order of the modes. IDPLMAL can be I Dated Pete Last Monday After Lunch or anything you can think of! What creative phrases or sentences did you come up with?

Happy Mode Practicing! 🙂


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