The Sounds Of The Mixolydian Mode, Learn the Chords, Scale, Triads and Arpeggios Built From Mixolydian
The Professor
Mar 5 2013, 02:36 PM
Theory Instructor
Posts: 888
Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
In this series of articles we will be taking a look at the different sounds that you can build from any mode in the Major Scale, in particular the chords, scale, triad and arpeggio that go with each mode in the major scale.

So far we have covered the Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian and Lydian Modes, which you can see linked below, and we are now ready to dig into the 5th mode of the major scale, the Mixolydian Mode.

If you need a refresher on the first 4 modes of the major scale, you can find them here:

The Sound of The Ionian Mode

The Sound of the Dorian Mode

The Sound of the Phrygian Mode

The Sound of the Lydian Mode

In this lesson, we’ll be looking at the chords, scale, triads and arpeggios that are build from the Mixolydian Mode, giving you a full understanding of how this scale works and the different sounds that can be derived from this commonly used major-scale mode.

Here is a quick look at each device from the Mixolydian mode, with further details provided below to read further.

Attached Image

Now that you’ve seen these different sounds on paper, let’s take a deeper look at each one of them, starting with the two different chords that you can build using the Mixolydian Mode.

Mixolydian Chords

As it is one of the most commonly used modes, the Mixoydian is associated with two of the most commonly used chords, the major triad and the dominant 7th chord.

The Mixolydian Mode contains the following intervals, which are explored further in the next section of this lesson.

1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 1

So, when building a triad from the Mixolydian mode you get the intervals 1-3-5, a major triad. As well, when building a 4-note chord from Mixolydian you get 1-3-5-b7, a dominant 7th chord.

Since 7th chords are used in a ton of blues, country, jazz, soul and rock tunes, if you have been playing guitar or 4-5 months or more, you’ve no doubt come across these chords at some point when learning your favorite songs or chord progressions.

Because of this, it is good to understand where the 7th-chord comes from so that you can relate a mode to it in your soloing and melody writing as you progress in your development as a lead guitarist.

Further Reading

How to Build Major Triads


Write out the note for each major triad and 7th-chord in all 12 keys.

Post your answers below and I will correct them and give you feedback if you are having any trouble writing out the notes of these triads and chords.

Mixolydian Scale

As was mentioned earlier, the Mixolydian Mode has the following interval structure.

1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 1

So, one way that you can learn to spell any Mixolydian Mode is to take an Ionian/Major Scale and simply lower the 7th note.

So, if you have a C major scale:


You lower the 7th note, B-Bb, and you get C Mixolydian.

C D E F G A Bb C

The other way that you can think about a Mixolydian Mode, is to take the major scale, and start it on the 5th note.

So, if you have a C major scale:


You start on the 5th note, G, and you then build a G Mixolydian Mode:


Both approaches will work, and as long as you can build and spell a Mixolydian mode, it doesn’t matter which one you use.

Try them both out and see which method is more natural to you, then go with that method as you move forward in your development.

Further Reading

Mixolydian Riffs for Guitar


Write out the notes of the Mixolydian Mode, in all 12 keys.

Post your answers below and I will check them out and post feedback, as well as answer any questions you may have on this scale construction.

Mixolydian Triad and Arpeggio

The last items we’ll look at with the Mixolydian mode are the triad and arpeggios that you can build from this important mode.

Though these melodic devices share the same notes as the 3-note chord and 4-note chord you saw earlier, they are instead “picked” instead of “strummed” to give you material for your single-line playing, as opposed to the chordal playing earlier.

So, this means that the Mixolydian triad is built with the intervals R-3-5, and the Mixolydian arpeggio is built with the intervals R-3-5-b7, just like the chords were.

Having a handle on both the chords and the triad-arpeggio that come from the Mixolydian mode will allow you to bring this sound into your playing at any time from both a harmonic and melodic standpoint.

Further Reading

How to Play Major Triads on Guitar


Write out the triad and arpeggio notes for the Mixolydian mode, a major triad and 7th-chord arpeggio, in all 12 keys.

Post your answers below and I will check your work and help with any issues or questions you may have on this subject.

Learning the structures behind each mode that you are learning on the guitar can help shore up your theory knowledge, as well as make it easier for you to apply these modes to your solos and song writing as you learn to relate them to chords, triads and arpeggios.

If you have any questions or comments, post them below.

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