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Thread: Modes

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2002


    hi everyone. i have a question about modes. the other day i spent 4 hours writing up all the major and minor scales in all combinations. i ended up with 13 minor and 13 major scales from no flats and sharps to 6 flats and sharps. i have enlarged it as a poster and hung it in my practise room. now i want to do the same for the modes from dorian through to locrian. but because these modes are derived from the major scale will the ROOT of each scale only be a natural note,A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A- (no accedentals).in other words is there such a thing as a Eb,F#etc; dorian,mxolidian etc; scale.
    thanks again

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    Don't forget, there are keys with 7 sharps and 7 flats (C# and Cb respectively).

  3. #3
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Hi Peter,

    I hope Iīm understanding your question right.

    Take i.e. the C Major Scale. You can derive the modes from it, ending up like that:
    C Major- D Dorian- E Phrygian- F Lydian- G Mixolydian- A Minor- B Locrian

    Well, letīs start with the key of E Major...
    The notes are E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-E
    Of course you can derive the modes from those notes:
    E Major- F# Dorian- G# Phrygian etc.

    Or take Bbmajor: Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G-A-Bb
    Bb Maj- C Dorian- D Phrygian etc.

    So yes, there are keys like F# Dorian, Bb Mixolydian etc.

    Hope this answers your question.
    Warm regards

  4. #4
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Jackson MS

    Quicker Method

    I am quoting one of my earlier posts
    because you said it took 4 hours to do this.
    This method will help you do it in a few minutes.

    When you have finished this just write out the Modes of each of the 12 unique Major scales by starting with each scale degree and going up one octave.

    To Create the Melodic minor Flat the 3rd of each Major Scale.
    So changing E to Eb makes C major into C Melodic Minor.
    To Create the Harmonic Minor # the 5th and start on the 6th of each major scale. So changing G to G# makes A natural Minor ( Aeolian or 6th Mode of C Major) A Harmonic Minor.

    You can create the modes in the same way for the minor scales, look the names up on the net.

    Actually this is real easy if you have EXCEL or some other spreadsheet program, maybe 10 minutes.

    The chromatic scale has twelve unique tones, and each one can be the starting note of a major scale, we must have twelve unique major scales.
    Looking at the interval spacing, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, we can make it 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1 by raising (sharping) the fourth degree (fourth scale tone) a half step, now the fifth degree becomes the new root (note from which the new major scale takes its name and begins on).

    By a similar, but inverse, process we can make the interval spacing 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2 by lowering (flatting) the seventh degree a half step, the new root becomes the fourth degree.

    Notice in the first example we sharped the fourth degree and started on the fifth degree, and in the second we flatted the seventh and started on the fourth.
    This produced two new major scales which each differ from the first by one altered (sharped or flatted) tone.
    These two processes can easily be shown to be inverses of one another by observation of the intervals (sharping the fourth tone F in C major we get G major, by flatting the seventh tone F# in G major we get C major).
    By continuing each of these processes seven times starting with C major, we can build a structure called the circle of fifths which contains all seven sharp scales, all seven flat scales and C major. Notice that this adds up to fifteen and we know there should be twelve, this is due to enharmonic spelling of three of the scales (C flat=B, G flat=F sharp, D flat=C sharp).
    When building the scales it is important to remember the guidelines ; each letter name must be used exactly once ; only one type of accidental (sharps or flats) allowed per scale ; no note can have more than one accidental.

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