Demonstrating All 7 Modes in Parallel 

Theory Building the modes in parallel (starting from the same root) allows you to see and hear the differences. Learn each mode's unique identity , so you can easily identify it when you hear it, and be able to employ its characteristics when composing. Learning the modes of the major scale is very important, but the topic is often difficult to fully grasp. There are many ways to look at modes, and this video explores each mode in parallel, meaning each mode is played from an unchanging root (in this case, G). Normally modes are taught as being related- C major is the same thing as D dorian is the same thing as E Phrygian, etc. But looking at the modes in parallel like demonstrated here allows a different perspective of why the concept of modes is important.


Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors. However, I do hope you find it helpful. Be sure to check out The Ultimate Modal Poster!

I've worked with a lot of students that already know about the modes of the major scale, but they're having trouble figuring out. Why did they learn the modes of the major scale? What's the point and what are you supposed to do with these so that's really what I want to tackle in this video and I'm going to demonstrate to you each mode. What's the point of each mode? How does it feel? What does it do?

And in my opinion? This is extremely important. It gives you freedom and it gives you options as a lead guitar player to really color the tone of what you're playing over you're not just stuck to sounding bluesy with pentatonic minor or sounding happy with major. You really get some Fans here in some really cool options each one of these modes has its own unique identity and its own unique Flair and being able to access that whenever you want as a lead player or as a composer I feel is invaluable.

So with just a little bit of work with our modes we should be able to kind of harness that energy and apply it where we need. In order to do that though. We will need to have a little bit of theory under our belts.

So in this video, I'm going to start off with a little light theory on how the modes are built then I'll demonstrate to you each mode one at a time so you can really get a grasp of how it And how to identify it then afterward. We'll talk a little bit of the heavier music theory that goes along with playing modes. Like we will be playing them in this video.

Okay, so to get started we really want to know what are the modes of the major scale and here's how I want you to think about it. There's a lot of ways to think about it. But essentially I could make a major scale by following this sequence of half steps and whole steps a half step is just one fret or one note and a whole step is two Frets or two notes.

So I want to start on G. Okay. I'll be playing in G everything today. I'll be in G Major G. Lydian G everything so I'm going to start on G. That's my route. And if I do a travel a whole step another whole step half step whole step whole step half step. It gives me my G Major scale also known as G ionian.

Now if I want the second mode of the major scale, all I have to do is offset this pattern of half steps and whole steps by one and by doing that it will give me a whole different sequence of half steps and whole steps and a whole different sequence of notes. All right to get the third mode of the major scale. All I would do is the same thing just offset. Buy one and I get a whole different sequence of notes keep going through this you'll have all seven modes and you'll notice they all start on G today. I'm setting them all up on G. So you can see the differences between them. Now. If you pay close attention, you'll see that six of these modes contain the notes G and D and the Jam track, I'll be playing over is just those two notes. It's just a G power chord g and D, which means that I can play any of these modes over my Jam track.

However, I cannot play the locrian mode over this Jam track and you probably see why Why in my locrian mode? I only have a d-flat I do not have a denote to play now locrian is its own beast, but there's a lot to talk about regarding locrian because it's kind of the odd man out in the situation.

Alright, so now that we have all of the seven modes there what's important to know is what is the tonic chord in each of these modes? What is the home base scored in each of these keys and it might seem obvious but you just kind of have to look in G major. For example, the first mode of the major scale G ionian all we have to do to figure out the tonic. Word is just look at the first note the second note. I'm sorry the first note the third note and the fifth note by looking at one three and five. It'll tell you the notes of my tonic chord. That is g b d and if I play G's B's and DS 2 G major.

So my tonic chord of G. Major is the G major chord.

However, look at my second mode. All right Dori and you can see that if I look at the first note the third note in the fifth note. I actually get G B flat and D which means the home chord of G Dorian would Be a G minor chord. All right, that's important as I'm going to be soloing and showing you these modes. I'm going to be outlining the tonic chord with my lead guitar. I'm not just going to be playing up and down the scale. I'm going to try to be I'm going to try to highlight the notes of the tonic chord to help really fill in the context of what key. I'm n okay, and that's really important is knowing that each one of these modes has a home cord that you want to focus on and as you can see the home cord of major lydian and mixolydian is a major chord.

The home court of Dorian phrygian and minor is a minor chord. And once again, we have the odd man out. The tonic chord of locrian is going to be a diminished Triad.

So you might be able to guess it's not going to be very harmonic. If you're spending the whole time hanging out on a diminished Triad which kind of you might be getting the problem with locrian already, but we'll talk about that later. Now that we have an idea of the theory behind how I'm building these things up all starting them from the same route all starting them on G. It's time to actually show you what these things. Sound like so once again my Jam track is just playing G and D. That's a G power chord and I want to go through each one of these scales. I'll go up the scale and then I'll do a little bit of improvising so you can actually hear the tone and the color develop for each one of these modes. All right, let's start off with major.

You might be able to hear major is very happy. It's very bright. It's almost sickeningly happy I think of classical music I think of health insurance commercials anything that's supposed to make you feel you know, elated and overjoyed.

Major it gets kind of bland and it takes some work to really sound interesting with major. If you're trying to avoid that really sweet Sakura and sound.

However, if you're looking for a nice Big Melodies and really singable choruses, you're never going to go wrong with major, but you've heard major before so let's go on to something a little bit more distinct and that would be the Dorian scale. Let's take a listen to that one.

So dorian's kind of weird, right? It's not really evil and dark like a minor scale. It's kind of got this kind of smooth silky.

I always think of Carlos.

Anna Carlos Santana's jams and songs. A lot of them are in Dorian and they're minor because they're you know, cool and dark. They're not Overjoyed but they've got a little bit of flair to it a little bit of bite a little bit of spice put into that minor. It's not just a dark and depressing and rocking minor. It's got a little bit more pep to it. So I have to point out that the real important note in Dorian is that natural six note normally in a minor scale. I have have a flat 6 but enduring it's a natural six and it gives it that major lift. It gives it that little bright. Miss that we don't expect and when I'm improvising and Dory and I try to make it a point to get back to that note at just the right times to remind people. Hey, I'm not in minor. I'm in Dorian and it kind of brightens things up a little bit. So let's move on to phrygian.

So that is pretty interesting. You can hear phrygians got a very exotic flavor to it like a middle eastern foreign flavor to it. And that's really potent my Jam track used to be this Bland boring to note thing. But now the Jam track itself actually feels dark and deep kind of mysterious.

Right and that's because the phrygian mode has colored your ear. I've outlined the notes of that minor chord G minor chord and I have this note which is a flat to Ivan a flat in there. So these two notes right next to each other give you a really really dark flavoring, right?

So cool option for soloing over just one note or just a power cord is the phrygian choice and really the note you would want to be Lighting there. Is that flat too.

So going back to something with a major tonality. Let's take a look at the lydian mode.

I'll admit this is my favorite mode. It's very dreamy disoriented disconnected floaty and that comes from the fact that we have a major. Triad a g a b in a d That's our tonic chord, but we also have a tritone which is a sharp for her diminished high and just that combination of notes gives you a very sci-fi kind of Otherworldly feel.

So any time I'm trying to access that kind of emotion. I know that lydian is a good place to start.

Let's take a look at the next one with major tonality. That would be mixolydian.

I do love mixolydian. It's like major but it's kind of watered down. It doesn't have that sickening sweetness of major.

It's much more palatable and it's way more fun and rocking and almost like Irish Flair to it. I found out just this week that the bagpipes are actually tuned to a natural mixolydian scale. So it makes sense that it you know, it reminds me of Irish music because I've heard it so much in traditional bagpipe music.

So the mixolydian scale is pretty much the same thing as a major scale. We've just flatten that 7th note and that takes away the leading tone of major, right? And that was the leading tone right there really pulls us to a route now. We have a flat 7 which gives us kind of a more.

I don't know.

Unexpected feeling right and it definitely dilutes the happiness of my major scale. So once again a very cool option if you're stuck with just jamming over a power cord if major sounding too bright and happy just try bringing in that mixolydian scale instead and you'll get something with a little bit more upbeat attitude and it's still bright and happy but just not dripping with with emotion, you know. All right. Now, let's take a look at the natural minor or aeolian mode.

So you've probably heard stuff like this before this is the foundation of most of our rock and roll music.

It's kind of traditional at this point. I can't really put my finger on it other than its.

But it's important to be able to contrast minor with Dorian.

What's the difference between those two?

Well, I think minor is darker. I think it's sadder. I think Dorian has a little bit more optimism to it. What's the difference between minor and phrygian?

Well, that should be obvious phrygian has a real distinct exotic flare that flat to is extremely dark and it's I think it's much darker than than minor.

So hopefully those kind of words dark and light. I mean, I know they're not physical things but they're the words that pop into my head when I try to compare something like fridge. Ian to minor if my guitar player was jamming over a G power chord, and if I wanted to have an exotic flare, I know that phrygian would be a better choice than minor now lastly. Let's talk about locrian.

Here's the problem if I want to jam in locrian, I'd need to be jamming on the home court of locrian, which would be G diminished.

And hanging out on a diminished chord and pretending like that's going to be your home doesn't usually work out that well, it's you could do it as an academic thing. Right just try to write something and locrian but without a root and a fifth, you know, a root of V. Those are like the two pillars of foundation for any chord. So now we're just left with this movement flattered and this is not stable. So doing anything in locrian is just going to give you something weird. And what's worse is it's not even that weird. There's better weird scales if Looking to sound a tonal and chaotic. I think there's better choices than just locrian.

So to me locrian is like the remainder. It's the leftover stuff from all these awesome modes, you know, you got to have that leftover bad stuff and to me that's locrian that might not be fair to describe the locrian mode that way but I'll be completely honest with you. I haven't found any use for it other than to just goof around with it. And even then like I said if I want to sound Goofy and chaotic, I would rather pick something like whole tone or an OCTA tonic scale or some weird exotic scale like that. So I hope this gives you a little insight into why you might want to learn your modes. You can see I mean over one Jam track. I'm able to sound six different ways. But having access to that means that when I'm composing or when I'm improvising. I have more than just a few choices and I think that's really important as a musician.


It is worth talking about a few other Concepts that kind of dovetail into what we did here. You might hear the word modal interchange or the word modal mixture essentially.

That's what we were doing in this video. We had one tonic we had G the entire time and throughout this video. I In G major, then I was in G Dorian in G lydian in G mixolydian often when you're writing chord changes that borrow from the different parallel modes.

Then you call that modal mixer or modal interchange.

Some people might debate whether this is modal interchange because I didn't include any cords. There was just one, you know power cord the entire time but the scales I'm flying. I'm playing are implying different chord tones, which kind of creates that feeling of motor modal mixture. Also, if you look at all the different modes, I played it contained all 12 different notes of the chromatic scale. And this can be thought of as Polly modal chromaticism accessing all twelve notes by changing parallel modes across one tonic and this idea is very closely related to what you might hear his pitch axis Theory which is the idea of having a stable tonic like G in our case and using different chord tones to kind of launch us into different modes. For example, if I had AG major chord with a sharp for well, I've got my G major Triad and I have a sharp for all of those notes are in G. Lydian. So this would be kind of a launching board to play. In the G lydian key likewise, if I all of a sudden played a G minor 7 chord, all of those notes are in G Dorian or in G minor so I could use a G minor 7 chord too kind of spring into that new mode. The whole idea of pitch axis Theory though is that you are rotating on one tonic just like in this video. So I really hope this clear some things up for you and maybe gives you some inspiration on your own lead writing and your own songwriting as to how to utilize this stuff.

It's really important to learn music theory in my opinion, but it's really important to be able to use it. This stuff isn't for Factoids or for trivia. It's not something, you know recite, you know, just for the sake of having the knowledge its ways of describing things that work and as you can hear all those things work and music theory is just giving me a label to remember a how it worked and how I can recreate it again. So I hope you learned something from this and I hope you enjoyed this video. If you do like this video, please like subscribe, you know what to do and I will see you in the not so distant future.


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