Understanding modes is an essential aspect of becoming a
complete musician. Don't let anybody tell you different. Most
often, the people who say that modes are "no big deal"
are people who don't really understand the benefits of a knowing
what modes are all about.
One of the things that will help you to understand "what
modes are all about" is becoming familiar with the interval
structure of each mode.
I'm assuming that you already know how the modes are derived
from the major scale.
If we take the C major scale as an example, the resultant
- C Ionian
- D Dorian
- E Phrygian
- F Lydian
- G Mixolydian
- A Aeolian
- B Locrian
The next step is to compare each mode to the major scale starting
from the same root as the mode
. This means that the D
Dorian mode is compared to the D major scale
the E Phrygian mode is compared to the E major scale
the F Lydian mode to the F major scale
Compared to the major scale starting from the same root as the
mode, each mode has the following interval structure:
- C Ionian - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
- D Dorian - 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 8
- E Phrygian - 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8
- F Lydian - 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 8
- G Mixolydian - 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 8
- A Aeolian - 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8
- B Locrian - 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 8