Memorize Order of Modes Mode NameStarting / Ending Notes Key Sig. Trans- position Interval Whole & Half Step Patterns Another way to think of the mode scale I C Ionian C – C C UnisonWWHWWWH (Major Scale) Don’t D Dorian D – DCM2 nd DownWHWWWHW (Natural minor with raised 6 th ) Play E Phrygian E – ECM3 rd DownHWWWHWW (Natural minor scale with a lowered 2nd) Loud F Lydian F – FCP4 th DownWWWHWWH (Major scale with a raised 4 th ) Music G Mixolydian G – GCP5 th DownWWHWWHW (Major scale with a lowered 7 th ) After A Aeolian A – ACM6 th DownWHWWHWW (Natural minor scale) Letterman B Locrian B – BCM7 th DownHWWHWWW (Natural minor scale with lowered 2 nd and 5 th )
To find the notes for any mode scale from the desired starting note, count down by the transposition interval (see chart) for that mode use the major key signature of the resulting note.
Example: to play a Lydian scale on A the lydian transposition interval is a P4th count down a P4th from A, which is E using the Key Signature for E Major, play the scale, starting and ending on A. “A” Lydian: A, B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A
Major Sounding Modes – from Major Scale: L Lydian #4th I Ionian Major Scale M Mixolydian b7th Minor Sounding Modes – from Natural Minor D Dorian #6 A Aeolian Natural Minor Scale P Phrygian b2
Eastern Music – Locrian Mode (Sakura) Jazz – Dorian, Mixolydian, Phrygian, Aeolian Jewish – Phrygian (Hava Nagila) Latin – Mixolydian, Phrygian
LYDIAN - very bright, upbeat. Good for anything very bright and upbeat such as pop, kids music, etc IONIAN - very sweet, happy, bright. Perfect for happy songs, love songs, etc. Used for almost all childrens music MIXOLYDIAN - middle of the road bright scale. Good for light rock, pop, country, etc DORIAN - perfect middle ground. Not too bright, not to dark. Good for country, rock, blues. AEOLIAN - gritty, bluesy, warm sounding rock scale. This is the standard rock and blues scale. PHRYGIAN - dark, classical metal sound. A Randy Rhoads favorite. LOCRIAN - very dark, dissident, brooding. Good for heavy metal, dark classical, etc. Unstable harmonically because it’s chord is diminished
Create chords from the 1,3,5,(7) tones of a mode scale You should also be able to use any of the available notes of the mode scale to find harmony and melody ideas that will work perfectly.
Chord Key Displacement Mode CM 7th CM C - C Ionian Dm 7th CM D - D Dorian Em 7th CM E - E Phrygian FM 7th CM F - F Lydian G Dom7th CM G - G Mixolydian Am 7th CM A - A Aeolian B 1/2 Dim7th CM B - B Locrian
A good exercise would be to play the scale tone 7th chords in your left hand while playing the corresponding modes in the right. Learning these modes for the piano, along with the major scales and arpeggios, is very important in improvising on the piano.
Beginners: Scarborough Fair, any versionDorian Intro Level *Kabalevsky Song Op. 39, #8Dorian *David DukeBear DancePhrygian Level 1 *Pierre GallantInvention No. 6Dorian *David Duke She’s Like the SwallowDorian *David DukeMarchLydian *Paul SheftelIns and OutsModal Level 1-2 KabalevskyWaltz, Op. 39, No. 13Begins in Dorian
Level 2 *Bela BartokLittle Dance in Canon Form D Dorian *Chee-Hwa TanThe Land of NodG Mixolydian From Clark, Contemporary Piano Literature Book 2: Elie SiegmeisterSong of the Dark WoodsDorian ShostakovichWaltzAeolian on A and G Level 3 David Diamond 8 Piano Pieces: Rock-a-Bye Baby Aeolian on D David Diamond 8 Piano Pieces: Jack-a-Dandy Mixolydian on D Level 2-4 Burgess, Marjorie Music a la ModeVarious Modes Level 4 *Arpad BalazsGameD Dorian
Level 5 *Violet ArcherJigDorian Level 6 *Pierre GallantSarabandeD Mixolydian *Paul CrestonPastoral Dance, Op. 24, #4 F Lydian Not in Syllabus: Level 5Kaleidoscope Solos, Book 5 J. George ExoticaPhrygian on C NovelletteAeolian and Dorian Everett Stevens Six Modal Miniatures for Piano (may not still be in print – used to be in syllabus) *From the Celebrations Series: Piano Odyssey