## Monday, January 05, 2009

### Learning Modes - Finding the Relative Major

In my last article on modes we discussed how you can find a given mode by playing a major scale at a given interval from the original note.

First take a look at this slightly confusing table.

 Mode Tonality Steps Down 1/2 Steps Down Interval Down 1/2 Steps Up Interval Up Ionian (Major) Major 0/12 Unison/Octave 12/0 Unison/Octave Dorian Minor W 2 Major 2nd 10 Minor 7th Phrygian Minor WW 4 Major 3rd 8 Minor 6th Lydian Major WWH 5 Perfect 4th 7 Perfect 5th Mixolydian Major / Dom WWHW 7 Perfect 5th 5 Perfect 4th Aeolian (Minor) Minor WWHWW 9 Major 6th 3 Minor 3rd Locrian Diminished WWHWWW 11 Major 7th 1 Minor 2nd (Ionian) Major WWHWWWH 12/0 Unison/Octave 0/12 Unison/Octave

If you look at this chart you will get a quick reference to where you will find the scale you are needing.

Lets take a example:

Say we are playing a G major chord, we have 3 mode options that might sound good with it. Ionian, Lydian and Mixolydian since they are the 3 "major" tonality modes (that is the 3rd is a major 3rd in the mode). So how do we get to G Ionian, G Lydian and G Mixolydian? I always have an easier time going up an interval rather than down so in the chart above, I have converted the intervals down from the WWHWWWH pattern we talked about in the previous article to ascending intervals.
• G Ionian = G Major, since Ionian = Major
• G Lydian is the major scale starting a perfect 5th above the scale in question. So a perfect 5th above G is D. So G Lydian = D Major
• G Mixolydian is the major scale starting a Perfect 4th above the note in question which is C, so G Mixolydian = C Major.
How about minor? If we are playing an F minor chord and want F dorian, F Phrygian or F Aeolian, then we find
• A minor 7th above F is Eb. Eb Major is F dorian
• A minor 6th above F is Db.Db Major is F Phrygian
• A minor 3rd above F is Ab. Ab Major is F Aeolian
Now something you may have noticed is that if we are playing F minor, why don't we play an F minor scale? We actaully do!. When we play Ab major as F aeolian, we are playing F minor. Since Aeolian is the same as natural minor.

So now we can grab a mode from a given chord.