Major Scale Notes and Patterns Also Other Modes

Major Scale Notes and Patterns Also Other Modes

Major Scale Notes and Patterns Also Other Modes

The notes and patterns of C major are also D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian, G Mixolydian, A Aeolian (natural minor) and B Locrian. Modes are determined by which note, or chord, is functioning as the root in a progression.

For example, the guitar solo to “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin (5:56 in the video) uses the notes of C major but the Am is functioning as the root. So you’d call it A Aeolian (or natural minor). Most players would play the scale around Am chord shapes.

The guitar solo to “Your Body is Wonderland” by John Mayer (2:51 in the video) uses the notes of C major but the Dm is functioning as the root. This would be called D Dorian. Most players would play the scale around Dm chord shapes.

Notice how the same C major scale notes sound different in each song example above. When you shift the tonal center of the major scale the sound takes on different characteristics. In the first example your ear is hearing everything revolve around the sixth major scale degree. In the second example your ear is hearing everything revolve around the second major scale degree. In each case the interval structure ends up being a little different, which effects the sound.

This is all covered in my book Fretboard Theory chapters 7 and 8. I also teach it in my DVD Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music.

Guitar Theory

To learn more about music theory for guitar, including scales, chords, progressions, modes, and more, sign up for a free preview of my Fretboard Theory books and DVDs by using the form on this web page.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: https://www.guitarmusictheory.com
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Comments ( 4 )

  • Yep. It’s pretty good to be able to play around with the pentatonics for soloing, but eventually you’lll want to go beyond that and learn the modes to add some “flavor” to your leads. Fretboard Theory would be a good way to do it 🙂

    ~Johnny

  • Aaron

    I’m trying to wrap my head around modes and scales. Would it be accurate to say that we can think of scales as (musical) languages and modes as accents of those languages?

    This all makes my head hurt sometimes.

  • Frank

    I was totally confused with modes too until I watched Desi’s DVD…this DVD gives you a SOLID understanding of what modes are…as a matter of fact if you already know the major scale patterns, you already know the modes.

    All you’ll need is Desi’s magic explanation to understand how to use them!

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