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Major Scales, Chords, And Modes

Brian Ritacco (79) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Intermediate · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2

Much, perhaps too much has been written on the topic of modes. I am certainly guilty of contributing to the massive amount of stuff on modes. Perhaps you have read through some of the material and have concluded that 1) the concept of modes just isn't worth learning; 2) you have tried and tried to understand the mode thing and just don't seem to "get it". All I can say is, the concept of modes is worth learning and it took me over a year of struggle to finally develop a tentative grasp on the subject. For those of you who want to understand modes and don't want to spend a year working it out, read on.

The good news is you probably know more about modes than you realize. The great news is you can begin to appreciate the importance of modes by considering some really easy examples. In fact, you can learn about modes without even using the word "mode".

I am going to hold the major scale constant and explore different chords.

First, lets look at the G major scale. I'll lay it out starting on the 3rd fret, low E and 5th fret, low E.



Contained within this humble G major scale is a treasure trove of good stuff. Obviously, the G major chord is contained within the scale. I have removed all the "other" notes to highlight the root (G), third (B), and fifth (D) that make up the G major chord. Play just the chord tones to get a feel for how it sounds. The G major sound is no big deal, and probably no surprise.



Also contained within the G major scale is the A minor chord. I have removed all the "other" notes to highlight the root (A), flat third (C), and fifth (E) that make up the A minor chord. The A minor chord maybe more familiar to you by staring on the fifth fret, low E string. Play just the chord tones to get a feel for how it sounds. Cool, no?





Also contained within the G major scale is the B minor chord. I have removed all the "other" notes to highlight the root (B), flat third (D), and fifth (F#) that make up the B minor chord. Play just the chord tones to get a feel for how it sounds. Cool, no?



Also contained within the G major scale is the C major chord. I have removed all the "other" notes to highlight the root (C), third (E), and fifth (G) that make up the C major chord. Play just the chord tones to get a feel for how it sounds.



Also contained within the G major scale is the D7 chord. I have removed all the "other" notes to highlight the root (D), third (F#), fifth (A) and flat 7 (C) that make up the D7 chord. Play just the chord tones to get a feel for how it sounds. Cool, no? The D7 chord maybe more familiar to you by staring on the fifth fret, A string.



Also contained within the G major scale is the E minor chord. I have removed all the "other" notes to highlight the root (E), flat third (G), and fifth (B) that make up the E minor chord. Play just the chord tones to get a feel for how it sounds. Cool, no?



Alas, also contained within the G major scale is the F# minor 7(b5) chord. Probably of more interest to those Jazz minded individuals than the rocker crowd. I have removed all the "other" notes to highlight the root (F#), flat third (A), flat fifth (C) and flat 7 (E) that make up the F# minor 7(b5) chord. Play just the chord tones to get a feel for how it sounds. Different, no?



Up to this point I have not used the word "mode" and have not used any overly technical music theory to show how many sounds you can get from just one major scale. For those interested, I will delve into some basic music theory and add back in the "m" word to move us forward.