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Memorizing Musical Modes - Part 3

John Chamley (252) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1

#3 Memorizing Musical Modes Part 3 Mixolydian

In #2 of this series we looked at the Ionian & Aeolian modes. The scales played in these modes are the major and natural minor scales respectively. This time we will look at Mixolydian mode.


For this tutorial we will assume that you already know how to play a two octave G major scale in the first position (using open strings), or at the second position (transposable, using all fretted notes). If you have any hesitation playing at least one of these scales ascending and descending, I suggest that you master them first, because they are a good foundation for what follows. You should also know the C scale at either 1st or 2nd position.

Mixolydian - a major scale with a flattened 7th.

The reason I recommended knowing the G & C major scales is because you can think of the mixolydian G scale like a hybrid of the G and C scales. The C scale has no sharps or flats and the 5th note in the C scale is G. If you start to play the notes of a C-scale starting on G, you are playing a G-mixolydian scale. Compare the G-mixolydian with the G-aeolian (G-major) scale and you will notice that the 7th note in a mixolydian scale is flatted.

Take a look at the three scales below to compare them. The notes have been aligned for easy comparison.

G Major Scale
G A B C D E F# G
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

C Major Scale
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
- - - - (underlined C7sus4 chord notes)
G Mixolydian Scale
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
- - - - (underlined G7 chord notes)

Where used?

Since the 7th note of G-mixolydian scale is the "dominant 7th" found in the G7 chord, this scale goes well with the G7 chord.

Also, in a Csus4 or C7sus4 chord where the 3rd(E) is replaced by the 4th(F), this scale works well.

When you get chance, try recording the strummed chords mentioned above and improvise using the G-mixolydian. See you in the next episode with the Dorian scale.
As always, I am full of good intentions and will try to post these tutorials in pdf format on my site when I have time. Guitar-Lessons.us