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Modal Scales

Of the fourteen chord scales listed in the chord-scale


chart, seven stand apart because of their whole-step/
half-step relationship. These are called modes. A piece
of music can be based around one tone with all the
chords (harmonies) gravitating towards this tone, or
tonic. This central tone establishes the modality of
the piece. To further a study of modes, refer to Twen-
tieth Century Harmony, by Vincent Persichetti.
Modal music is quite common in jazz. A good
example is the tune "So What" recorded by Miles
Davis on the album Kind of Blue.
The seven modal scales are as follows (arrows in-
dicate the characteristic tone of each mode):

Mixolydian (Basic Major scale lowered 7th


Ionian (Basic Major scale) with lowered 7th)
e A
-eo .!
o '1 " a
" II
" II

raised 6th
Dorian (Natural Minor scale Aeolian (Natural Minor scale) lowered 6th
with raised 6th) l (.a)
a
e "
II "
D " II
"
Phrygian (Natural Minor scale with lowered 2nd) Locrian (Natural Minor scale with
lowered 2nd and lowered 5th)
09- .a.
e Q
a
tJ: " o
"
f
(lowered 2nd)
II e

lowered 2nd lowered 5th


II

Lydian (Basic Major scale. raised 4th


with raised 4th)
08- (.a.)
00&-'1.
a
II

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