BassWork Home Just Chords IndexPage
BackForward

And now: Modes

Modes, modes, modes ...

You remember the C major scale with its characteristic sequence of whole steps and half steps:

NOTE C D E F G A B C
DISTANCE W W H W W W H

And we said this is the construction rule for all major scales.

But if this is a characteristical feature of the major scale there must be others.

How many scales do exist?

A lot , too many for me to remember even the basic seven. But I can show you how the eight modes for the major scale can be build. The rule is very simple: take the C major scale, take two octaves of it and start a new scale on every note keeping the HS/WS interval structure of the major scale. These seven scales are the seven modes of the major scale. The names are taken from Greek music theory, and two from the seven modes two are very well known. Here is a table with these modes:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
 w w h w w w h
w w h w w w h
Ionian mode, also know as the major scale
D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
 w w h w w w h w w h w w w h
Dorian mode
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
 w w h w w w h w w h w w w h
Phrygian mode
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
 w w h w w w h w w h w w w h
Lydian mode
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
 w w h w w w h w w h w w w h
Mixolydian mode
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
 w w h w w w h w w h w w w h
Aeolian mode, also know as minor scale
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
 w w h w w w h w w h w w w h
Locrian mode

Like for chords the interval structure in a scale makes it sound open and happy, dark or somewhat like an Asian or Arabic scale.

More scales and modes

We want to talk about chords, so here just some comments on other scales.

A scale is not bound to eight notes, the chromatic scale has 12. The pentatonic scales have fives notes in an octave, so a total of 6 notes.

The scales can have very different interval structures. A scale can have an interval structure like:

C D E F# G# Bb C
 w w w  w  w  w
a scale only with whole steps

I think this is the reason why scales and modes are so complicated. It takes a lot of time to get them together and to remember them.

Summary

We will end talking about scales here.

So lets have a more detailed view on Intervals ...