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Muris, can you please help me understand what the differences are between a mode and a scale?
I've heard the terms Dorian, Mixolidian, etc. referred to as scales, but I thought these were modes and that a mode can be played in any key. It is more of a pattern that can be moved up and down the fretboard to achieve the desired key. A scale on the other hand refers to the notes in a key.

If I'm correct in this assumption, then I'm also confused why there are lessons dedicated to the modes. I've memorized the seven modes (sadly, I have not remembered their names in all my years of playing), but to me I only have a favorite because certain notes are within convenient reach and certain riffs are more easily played from a certain position.

Is this the right way to "think" about modes? huh.gif Or is there more to it than that?
Muris Varajic
Hi James,I see you're new here,so welcome. smile.gif

Church Modes are scales like any other scales,don't be confused by name "mode".
It just old way of recognizing different sounding,7 to be precise.
Each mode has root note,fifth etc,nothing out of ordinary.
Main thing is to understand and hear sound of each mode,
its similarity with minor or major scale,usually easiest if you take a look at third,is it major or minor.

Each mode can be played in any key,just like major,minor and all other scales.

I would suggest you to dive a little into Andrew's theory lessons and search for modes,
you'll find formulas for all modes,how they are constructed etc.

Don't hesitate to ask if you need any further assistance after reading those lessons tho!
You can ask in theory sub-board,in my own sub-board here,in Andrews board etc.
Just ask,we will be glad to help. smile.gif
The primary scales are diatonic and pentatonic.

The diatonic scales are the 7 different modes that you have heard of, which include the major and minor scales (Iolian and Aoelian respectively). The other 5 are Dorian, Phrygian, Mixolydian, Locrian and Lydian. Don't get confused by the word "scale" and the word "mode" - it can all come across as a little complicated.

As Muris suggested, check out the theory lessons for a load of information on it all - it will help you understand a lot.

Thank you both. I'll read up on this in the theory section and then see if I can learn to hear the differences.

Remember that all the boxes actually share the same notes. They're exhibited like that so that you can play all over the neck without really knowing much. However modes, are the same scale, but in another note sequence.

We have major, diminished and minor modes, listing:



Locrian. (the flat5!)

so, 'the D dorian pattern' shows the same notes as the 'C ionian pattern' if you're looking at a scale. However it is the second degree of the scale.
The Major scale's second degree is minor.

So, if you'd want to really play in dorian (which has a flat 3 and 7), you'd have to firstly, change your notes to C D Eb F G A Bb, and secondly change progression of chords to for example Cmin7 F7, or the whole thing, that would be Cmin, Dmin, Ebmaj, Fmaj, Gmin, Adim, Bbmaj.

So again, I would be Dorian, not II. (those are the degrees.)
And a repetition, Dorian would be I II bIII IV V VI bVII.

Hope this helps!
Muris Varajic
Great explanation Kjutte,thanks! smile.gif
QUOTE (Muris Varajic @ Aug 1 2008, 12:42 PM) *
Great explanation Kjutte,thanks! smile.gif

Thanks, and sorry to butt in, but I love theory biggrin.gif
I know this is an older thread but I thought I would add one important thing when thinking about modes. What really makes the modes sound different is the CHORDS THAT ARE BEING PLAYED OVER!! For instance if you play the A major diatonic scale starting from A then play it starting from D you will probably not hear much difference, especially if you are not playing over any chords. If you play the same A major scale but play it over a A maj-D maj-E maj-A maj chord progression it will have that A Major/Ionian sound. If you again play the same A major scale but play it over a D major- E major- C# minor- D major chord progression you will hear what the D Lydian mode sounds like. So what makes a mode a mode is not simply the note you start from but the CHORD PROGRESSION you play the scale over. Chords are key when thinking about modes.

Muris Varajic
Absolutely,you need to follow the root,
both in scale/mode and chord progression in order to get the best from the mode. smile.gif
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