Music Theory – Modes

In Music Theory by phoenixgreen2 Comments

Understanding various scales is a fundamental part of being a great performer or composer. The easiest to understand are the modes, which are taken directly from the major scale and use only the major scale notes, just starting from a different position. For instance the key signature of a piece could be C major but the melodic sequence starts and ends on the D note suggesting that the key is in fact D Dorian. The modes taken from the C major scale are:

C – Ionian (or C Major)

D – Dorian

E – Phrygian

F – Lydian

G – Mixolydian

A – Aelonian ( or relative minor)

B – Locrian


When trying to work out the mode always start with the key signature and then work out the mode. For more information on working out key signatures refer back to the circle of 5ths post.

For more information on modes have a look at the following website:


  1. My gosh and I thought we’d learned all the scales we needed to know! I’m not sure how to even pronounce half of those names!

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