Minor Modes

Richards Rock Academy on March 15, 2011

There are three minor modes – Aeolian, Dorian, and Phrygian.  Aeolian is the natural minor scale, so we will use this as our reference point (just like we used Ionian as a reference point for the Major modes).  You can think of Aeolian two ways:

1 – Major scale with a b3, b6, and b7 (c-d-Eb-f-g-AbBb)

2 – Major scale starting on the 6th scale degree (rewriting C Major CDEFGAB as A minor – ABCDEFG.)

We will use A minor as a reference.  The Dorian mode is a minor scale with a #6 (A minor ABCDEFG becomes A Dorian ABCDEF#G).  Another way to think of Dorian is the ii of a Major key.  So, A Dorian is the ii in the G Major scale (GABCDEF# becomes ABCDEF#G).

The Phrygian scale is a minor scale with a b2 (A minor ABCDEFG becomes A Phrygian ABbCDEFG).  Another way to think of Phrygian is the iii of a Major key.  So, A Phrygian is the iii in the F Major scale (FGABbCDE becomes ABbCDEFG).

Play these scales until you can recognize them by ear.

Questions?  Email nate@ultimateguitartraining.com

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