Today we will continue to learn about modes. As we’ve seen in the previous lesson, modes are important skills for any musician and producer as it makes your music more and more interesting.

Remember that to build a mode we are using a major scale as the starting point. Then we lower certain scale degrees and then the mode is ready. As always, the ‘secret’ to master modes (as well as any music theory subject) is practicing.

We’ve already seen the Lydian, Ionian and Mixolydian modes. Let’s continue.

Dorian

We can build a Dorian scale by lowering by a semitone both 7th and 3rd degrees of a major scale. Let’s build a C Dorian scale:

Using the keyboard diagram:

Notice that the Dorian mode keeps the minor 7th from the Mixolydian mode and adds a minor 3rd.

The idea is that each time we lower a scale degree, it will result in a new mode.

The Dorian mode is a type of minor scale since it has a minor 3rd degree.

Let’s now build a G Dorian scale:

Using the keyboard diagram:

Aeolian

The Aeolian mode is built by lowering the 7th, 3rd and 6th degrees of a major scale. A C Aeolian scale would be like this:

Using the keyboard diagram:

The Aeolian mode is also known as the natural minor scale. To illustrate that, let’s build an A Aeolian scale. To do that, we will take an A Major scale and lower its 7th, 3rd, and 6th degrees. Here’s the result:

Using the keyboard diagram:

Notice that it matches the A Natural Minor scale.

 Phrygian

To build any Phrygian scale, we need to lower the 7th, 3rd, 6th and 2nd degrees of a major scale. So, a C Phrygian scale would be like this:

Another way of quickly build a Phrygian scale is to lower the 2nd degree of any natural minor scale.

Using the keyboard diagram:

Let’s see a G Phrygian scale:

Using the keyboard diagram:

The Phrygian is also a type of minor scale.

Locrian

This is the last mode. All we need to do now is to lower the 7th, 3rd, 6th, 2nd and 5th degrees of a major scale. So, here’s the C Locrian scale:

Using the keyboard diagram:

And the G Locrian scale:

Using the keyboard diagram:

As the previous modes, the Locrian is a type of minor scale.

Notice that there’s a pattern from the first mode (Lydian) to the last (Locrian). We just kept lowering scale degrees until we have just the tonic left.

That’s it! Keep practicing other keys as well and soon you will master all modes.

Good productions!