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Memorizing Musical Modes - Part 4

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

#4 Memorizing Musical Modes Part 4 Dorian
Lunch special! - free minor scales with Dorian

Although we can look at modes in different ways, Dorian can be viewed as a close relative to other minor scales. Let's compare A-minor scales, that are relative to C-major scale with no sharps or flats in the key signature, with Dorian. This allows us to examine the properties of these scales

A-aeolian (natural) minor that we looked at in part 2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

A-harmonic minor (sharp 7th)
A B C D E F G# A
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

A-melodic minor (sharp 6th & 7th, usually played ascending with descending natural minor)
A B C D E F# G# A
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

{Going off on a tangent here, the melodic minor is like a major scale with a flatted 3rd. Key signature for the A-major scale has 3-sharps C#, F# and G#. Notice that one of the sharps is missing in the scale above. A melodic minor has all but one of those - the C#}.

A-dorian minor (sharp 6th. Second mode of the G scale)
A B C D E F# G A
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Notice the note G in both the A-dorian minor and A-natural minor scales are not sharpened. This means that both scales will work with the Am7 chord. However, Dorian has a little sweetner, the major 6th note.

That little sweetner can help to convey mixed emotions in a melody such as the sea shanty, "What shall we do with a drunken sailor".

Now lets compare Dorian and Minor Pentatonic
A-dorian minor
A B C D E F# G A
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Minor Pentatonic

Where Used - Some Ideas
* Try mixing Dorian into your pentatonic runs for a little variety.
**Try using the above scales over Am7 and D7 chords. These are IIm7 and V7 chords so you can of course transpose them.
***A song that you may know primarily using IIm7 and V7 is the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running". Pop in that old CD, LP, tape or mp3 and try playing Dorian over the top.

Have fun and bon appetite. I still plan to compile these lessons into a pdf file and post on my website www.guitar-lessons.us. I'll put a link on the home page when it's done.