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Scales and Modes

Scales are the building blocks of all music. From them we get melodies, harmonies, chords, bass lines and more.

Modes are the scales within a scale. Hence there are only 7 modes, one for each note of the scale.

The Ionian Mode is the normal scale beginning on the 1st / Tonic / Naming note.
The Dorian Mode uses the same notes as the Ionian but begins on the 2nd / Super-Tonic note.
The Phrygian Mode uses the same notes as the Ionian but begins on the 3rd / Mediant note.
The Lydian Mode uses the same notes as the Ionian but begins on the 4th / Sub-Dominant note.
The MixoLydian Mode uses the same notes as the Ionian but begins on the 5th / Dominant note.
The Aeolian Mode uses the same notes as the Ionian but begins on the 6th / Sub-Mediant note.
The Locrian Mode uses the same notes as the Ionian but begins on the 7th / Sub-Tonic / Leading note.

14 thoughts on “Scales and Modes

  1. This looks like a comprehensive assessment of scales and modes. But after more than 35 years of research and development it should be!!

  2. Thanks for this easy to understand explanation of modes… always confused me but now I get it!!
    The Ionian is the “mode” we always play in, but I were to write a song using for example the 4th chord as 1 (the Lydian Mode) then the sound will be different and unique… I like it.

  3. when will the books on improvisation be published

    1. At last we have been able to upload The Occidental Handbook, however none of the books on improvisation will ever be available in main stream publishing.

      The only way you can acquire these books is by downloading them from our website.

    2. The 3rd and final Complete Handbook has now be published here.
      Now the entire collection of “The Principles of Improvisation” is available from The Introduction, through the 7 Modes Companions to the Complete Occidental (western), Oriental (eastern) and Chromatix Handbooks.

  4. Loving all your YouTube videos and the free charts that go with them. All well explained and demonstrated.
    Can you go through in more detail the improvisations you have done on the first 4 bars of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, particularly the 8 to 1 improv?
    Thanks – Marcel from the UK

    1. Hey Marcel, thanks for you comment. We have this in planning and hope to upload it again with more details of how I improvised around the Cycle of Keys and the Cycle of Modes in the coming weeks.
      Timothy – productions and development

  5. Loving all your video especially the Advanced Improv Hints with soo many unique chords and progressions. Looking forward to watching again with a copy of “Occidental Handbook” so I can refer to the mentioned altered scales.

    Keep up the great work on improvisation.

    1. Thanks Patrick for your support. All the best with your improvisation and compositions too.

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  7. There as certainly a lot to know about this topic. I love all of the points you have made. Emma Kilian Jenine

    1. Thanks Emma. Hope you keep learning via our eBooks and Videos.

  8. I read a great article with pleasure, I hope it will continue

  9. Wow, great blog article.Really thank you! Really Great.

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