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Major Scale Modes

Here is an outline of the major scale modes with their related chords. The formula of the scale describes how and where the scale differs from the major scale. For Example, D Dorian  1  2  b3  4  5  6  b7 compared to  D major  1  2  3  4  5  6  7 has a flattened 3rd, which defines it as minor, and a flattened 7th.

C Ionian Scale

  • Notes:      C   D    E    F   G    A    B
  • Formula : 1    2    3    4     5     6    7
  • Related chord : Cmaj7
  • Use : on major chords

D Dorian Scale

  • Notes:      D    E    F    G     A    B    C
  • Formula : 1    2    b3    4     5     6    b7
  • Related chord : Dm7
  • Use : on minor chords
  • Distinguishing features: minor scale with a natural 6th

E Phrygian Scale

  • Notes:      E     F    G     A     B     C     D
  • Formula : 1    b2    b3    4     5     b6    b7
  • Related chord : Em7, Esusb9
  • Use : on minor chords (this one has a Spanish flavour and is one of the guitar scales frequently used in flamenco)
  • Distinguishing features: minor scale with a flattened 2nd

F Lydian Scale

  • Notes:      F    G   A     B    C    D    E
  • Formula : 1    2    3    #4     5     6    7
  • Related chord : Fmaj7, Fmaj7#11
  • Use : on major chords
  • Distinguishing features. major scale with a sharp 4th (or 11th)

G Mixolydian Scale

  • Notes:      G   A    B    C    D    E   F
  • Formula : 1    2    3    4     5     6    b7
  • Related chord : G7
  • Use : on dominant (7 as opposed to major 7) chords (Great for Blues)
  • Distinguishing features: major scale with a flattened 7th

A Aeolian Scale

  • Notes:      A     B    C    D    E      F    G
  • Formula : 1    2    b3    4     5     b6    b7
  • Related chord : Am7
  • Use : on minor chords
  • Distinguishing features: otherwise known as natural minor (notice the flat 6th)

B Locrian Scale

  • Notes:      B    C      D    E      F      G     A
  • Formula : 1    b2    b3    4     b5     b6    b7
  • Related chord : Bø  (Bm7b5)
  • Use : on half diminished chords
  • Distinguishing features: plenty of flattened notes here, importantly, the flattened 5th making it suitable for half-diminished chords (AKA- m7b5)