Modal Scales. If you are a music theory novice, the modes are a great place to start. Consider to key of C Major (A minor). This would entail only the White keys on a piano. A monkey could play the piano all day with out a single wrong note as long as he/ she does not strike a Black key-- this is because our primate friend is in keeping with ‘Diatonic Harmony’. That is, all tones being ‘performed’ belong to the same family of notes (thus the term-- ’key’). What the monkey cannot do is organize the notes and chords in a discernible and/or repeatable pattern. The ability to do so IS Music Theory! Our discussion will skip centuries of music history and explain the Modes as most of us utilize them today…….
C Major scale (beginning on C and ending one octave higher) is known as the Ionian Mode
C Major scale beginning on D and ending one octave higher is known as the Dorian Mode ( the
Dorian Mode is a Natural minor scale with a raised 6th, in this case starting on D).
SO…………….E Phrygian is a C major scale starting on E and ending an octave higher. The Phrygian Mode is a Natural minor scale with a lowered 2nd. ……SO………
Lydian mode- C Major starting on the 4th degree; major scale with a raised 4th.
Mixolydian mode- major scale starting on the 5th degree; major scale with a lowered 7th.
Aeolian- natural minor (known as the ‘Relative minor’)
Locrian- built on the 7th degree; minor scale with a lowered 2ndand lowered 5th.