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A Quick Modal Intro

David O' Toole (784) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Intermediate · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1

Modes - Quick Intro

A basic understanding of modes can be a great help to any musician or composer. It's like having an Instant Atmosphere Button to switch on and use any time you like. Using this knowledge can boost not only your solo-ing, but also make a dramatic improvement on your composition and song writing skills.
Each mode conjures up a different flavor, style or mood to the music. So a handy way to learn these quick is to think of them as "Mood Creators". Here's a Major scale family of modes and their basic sound description to get you started - hope you enjoy it and are inspired to investigate further.

Spinning Electric Guitar width=60 height=100

btw You can use this info on any scale, which can really open up new ideas.
  • 1 > Ionian mode
  • 2 > Dorian mode
  • 3 > Phrygian mode
  • 4 > Lydian mode
  • 5 > Mixolydian mode
  • 6 > Aeolien mode
  • 7 > Locrian mode

Handy Greek huh? Not ;-)! Here's how I remember them... I D P L M A L

I Don't Play Licks My Auntie Likes.
  • Ionian - Bright sounding and used in almost all types of music - also known as... the "Major Scale" (Doh - Reh - Me...).
  • Dorian - Think Carlos Santana and you're halfway there.
  • Phrygian - A real Eastern vibe from this one - try Al Di Meola.
  • Lydian - This mode is kind of jazzy and used by the likes of the uncanny Jeff Berlin on Bass.
  • Mixolydian - Major-y sounding and often heard used quite effectively in Country and Blues music.
  • Aeolien - The basic Minor scale - think Gary Moore blasting over the classic tune Parisienne Walkways
  • Locrian - a strange mysterious mood - famously utilized by the likes of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.
  • Understanding how these modes are used can really open up your writing and playing opportunities in any style. Recommended to look into for solo-ing AND songwriting - oh and Led Zep's Jimmy Page like's 'em too. Here's a quick demo to finish off featuring the Dorian mode in D.

D Dorian Mode

D Dorian Scale width=572 height=138

See you and thanx - hope you enjoyed and picked up something useful from this quick mini Modal Intro.