Determining modes in a minor Key?



Asked by: Brandon Dunnigan

Are there modes for minor keys?





There are four minor modes (those with minor 3rds), and we have already seen one of them, Aeolian. Since we are familiar with Aeolian—we know the scale by its other name, natural minor —we will use it as a point of reference.

How do you use modes in a minor key?

So just like the major scale has a series of modes. So does the melodic minor scale now the only difference as you can probably see between a major scale and a melodic minor scale is a flat.

How do you identify different modes?

Identifying modes

  1. Identify the quality of tonic. Listen for the tonic pitch. …
  2. Listen and look for ^7 . Compare the ^7 to the leading tone a half-step below tonic that we typically hear in minor and major songs. …
  3. Listen and look for other raised color notes—^4 in major, and ^6 in minor.


Are modes major or minor?





You’ll have noticed that each mode can be described as major or minor, depending on the presence of a major third or a minor third interval. The Ionian, Lydian, and Mixolydian are the major modes, while the Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian, and Locrian modes are minor.

Do modes apply to all scales?

What are modes? Modes are alternative tonalities, also known as scales. They can be derived from the familiar major scale by just starting on a different scale tone. Modes are named after the ancient Greek modes, although they do not share an actual similarity.

What mode is C minor?

A note on mode names:

Mode Position Scale Spelling Related Major Mode
C melodic minor: “Parent” scale/mode or “root mode” C D Eb F G A B C Dorian
C melodic minor played from D D Eb F G A B C D Phrygian
C melodic minor played from Eb Eb F G A B C D Eb Lydian
C melodic minor played from F F G A B C D Eb F Mixolydian

Can you use modes on minor scale?

The harmonic minor and melodic minor scales are not modes of the natural minor scale. A mode is a very specific idea in music where you start building a scale on another note of the scale. For example, A minor consists of the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A and it’s built using the scale pattern W-H-W-W-H-W-W .

How do you know what mode a song is in?

Finding What Musical Mode a Piece Is in



  1. Find out what the tonic major key is by looking at the key signature.
  2. Find out what the lowest starting note is in the first downbeat in the left hand, ignoring any upbeat/anarcrusis.
  3. How many notes up is this from the original major key?

What are the modes of harmonic minor?

Modes of harmonic minor scale

Mode Name of scale Notes (on A)
1 Harmonic minor (or Aeolian ♯7) G♯
2 Locrian ♮6 A
3 Ionian ♯5 (or augmented major) B
4 Ukrainian Dorian scale C

Which modes go with which chords?

Major chords follow the formula 1-3-5-7. Both Ionian and Lydian modes contain these notes; therefore either mode can be used.



Seventh Chords and Modes.

Chord Quality Mode
Major, Major 7 Ionian, Lydian
Minor, Minor 7 Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian
Major, Dominant 7 Mixolydian
Diminished, Minor7b5 Locrian




How do you establish a mode?

The basic idea on how to establish a mode is make the tonal center of the progression and melody center the tonic (or home note) of the modal scale and use harmony that signifies the mode you are in. For example this progression would signify C major.

Does every scale have 7 modes?

The major scale contains seven modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian. Modes are a way to reorganize the pitches of a scale so that the focal point of the scale changes.

How do you memorize musical modes?

I like to say: In-Door Pools Lose Money And Licences to represent the order, Ionian-Dorian-Phrygian-Lydian-Mixolydian-Aeolian-Locrian.



Let’s try some funky sentences:

  1. Losing In Minecraft Doesn’t Affect People Lol.
  2. Luxury Is My Desire And Pink Lakes.
  3. Let In My Dog And Pet Llama.




Is Dorian minor or major?

minor modes

The Dorian scale and the natural minor scale (known as Aeolian in modal parlance) are both considered minor modes. In major scales, the interval between the root and the third note is a major third (a distance of four semitones).

Is Mixolydian major or minor?

Mixolydian is the fifth mode of the major scale on the guitar — when the 5th scale degree functions as the tonic. It centers on a major chord, so it’s considered a major key. It’s also called the dominant scale because the 5th degree of the major scale is named the dominant pitch and forms a dominant 7th chord.

When should I play Dorian mode?

The Dorian mode is commonly used to solo over minor 7th chords, applicable to the ubiquitous II–7 V7 I progression, and a creative substitute, or expansion, of the minor pentatonic scale used in blues and rock.



When should I play Mixolydian mode?

Mixolydian is used extensively when improvising over the 12 bar blues, other I-IV-V chord progressions, and more generally chord progressions featuring dominant seventh chords.

What mode is blues scale?

Heptatonic. One heptatonic, or seven-note, conception of the blues scale is as a diatonic scale (a major scale) with lowered third, fifth, and seventh degrees, which is equivalent to the dorian ♭5 scale, the second mode of the harmonic major scale.

What scales to play over a blues?

The scales used most often for soloing in blues-influenced music are minor and major pentatonic. As its name implies, a pentatonic scale consists of five tones, as penta means ‘five’ and tonic means ‘tone’.

What is Mixolydian mode used for?

The Mixolydian mode is widely used in jazz and blues music for improvising over dominant chords. It is one of the most important scale to know.