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Modal Theory

Mithun T.
20/01/2017 0 0

Mode formation out of a major scale:

Principle:Constructing a seven note scale out of a major scale(Ionian Mode) by considering every not as the root note.

Example1:Taking a C-Major scale and applying the above principle is a follows:

C          D          E          F          G          A          B          C



Conversion from Major


C – D – E – F – G – A – B - C

Ionian Mode


Happy, Upbeat

D – E – F – G – A – B – C - D

Dorian Mode

(3, 7)

Minor sound, but not as dark as natural minor

E – F – G – A – B – C – D - E

Phrygian Mode

(2, 3, 6, 7)

Spanish feeling, Egyptian styles, Ancient Greek

F – G – A – B – C – D – E - F

Lydian Mode


Dreamy feeling

G – A – B – C – D – E – F - G

Mixolydian Mode


Really happy sounding!, Bluesy

A – B – C – D – E – F – G - A

Aeolian Mode

(3, 6, 7)


B – C – D – E – F – G – A - B

Locrian Mode

(2, 3, 5, 6, 7)

Sinister , Horror


Ionian Mode: Ionian mode is the name assigned by Heinrich Glarean in 1547 to his new authentic mode on C (mode 11 in his numbering scheme), which uses the diatonic octave species from C to the C an octave higher.

Dorian: The Dorian mode is named after the Dorian Greeks.

Phrygian Mode:
The Phrygian tonos or harmonia (Mode) is named after the ancient kingdom of Phrygia in Anatolia.

Lydian Mode:The name Lydian refers to the ancient kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia

Mixolydian Mode:Mixolydian mode may refer to one of three things: the name applied to one of the ancient Greek harmoniai or tonoi, based on a particular octave species or scale; one of the medieval church modes; a modern musical mode or diatonic scale, related to the medieval mode.

Aeolian Mode:The word "Aeolian" in the music theory of ancient Greece was an alternative name (used by some later writers, such as Cleonides) for what Aristoxenus called the Low Lydian tonos

Locrian Mode:The Locrian mode is the only modern diatonic mode in which the tonic triad is a diminished chord, which is considered dissonant. This is because the interval between the root and fifth of the chord is a diminished fifth. For example, the tonic triad of B Locrian is made from the notes B, D, F. The root is B and the fifth is F. The diminished-fifth interval between them is the cause for the chord's dissonance. Although in some practices, the fifth may be omitted from the tonic chord.

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