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Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian Modes

The Dorian mode, Aeolian and Phrygian

Listen to this same melody played in three different modes.

  • The Aeolian Minor Mode
  • The Phrygian Minor Mode
  • The Dorian Minor Mode

All these three modes create a minor feel but each has its unique sound.

Don-t you think so? Listen to the songs and try to describe the differences  between them, make a note of images and feelings that come to your mind.

Differences in feel between Aeolian, Dorian and Phrygian Modes

This analysis is subjective and different to every individual. We probably all hear the music in the same manner but what we feel is based upon how we have lived and dreamed.

Personally It is an extremely satisfying experience to be able to relate feelings to knowledge in music. The knowledge of harmony has allowed me to uncover hidden corners of my inner self and bring them to life . As a  consequence the more I know the more I can express and the better I feel when I  sharing my music with you

How did I compose these 3 versions

Would you like to know how I composed on the guitar these 3 different versions?

First of all the most important part of any composition is the melody. Therefore , I first came up with the melody on the guitar.

Once I had it down I then asked myself what key it was in.I sung the resting note of the melody and it gave me a D. I then asked myself if the feel was that of a minor or of a major key. My reply was that of a minor,

Then I analysed the melody, its notes and saw I was using  the D, F,A and C notes.

4 notes common to 3 scales

As you will learn in my level two courses of The Creative Guitar  Academy, these notes are common to three scales:

The Bb scale

Bb C D Eb F G A 

The F scale

F G A Bb C D E

and the C scale

C D E F G A  B

The Dm is found in 3 scales

Each of these 3 scales have a Dm chord that is created within:

The Dm chord is the second chord of the C scale. 

C Dm Em F G Am Bdim

The Dm chord is also the IIIm of the Bb scale .

Bb C, Dm Eb F Gm Adim

 And the Dm chord is also the VIm of the F scale. 

F Gm Am Bb C Dm Edim

Next step: Harmonise the melody

I then decided to harmonise the melody with the chords derived from each of the scales but of course targeting the tonal center of D.

The Dorian Minor Mode

For the first take I choose from these chords Dm Em F G Am Bdim C which are those derived from the C scale.

Of course the final chords I selected had to sound good with the melody and help create the feel of the Dm as the tonal center.

And,  if the D is the tonal center it feels great to use as a contrast in the harmony,  a chord with the B note.

And I chose this progression of chords.

Dm | G

And I created this accompaniment based upon the skills you will learn in  Level 4 course of The Creative Guitar Academy.

This example sounds minor. This color of minor is called the Dorian mode.

The Phrygian Minor Mode

For the second take I chose from these chords:

Dm Eb F Gm Adim Bb C

which are those derived from the Bb scale.

Of course the final chords I selected had to sound good with the melody and help create the feel of the Dm as the tonal center.

In this case since the D is the tonal center, it feels great to use as contrast  in the harmony of a chord with the Bb and Eb note.

Why?

If I use chords with the Bb and Eb notes,  I am clearly telling the listener that I am using the Bb scale but of course targeting the Dm.

Therefore I choose this progression of chords.

And I created this accompaniment based upon the skills you will learn in the Level 4 course of The Creative Guitar Academy.

This example sounds minor. This color of minor is called the Phrygian mode.

The Aeolian Minor Mode

For the third  take I chose from these chords

Dm Edim F Gm Am Bb C which are those derived from the F scale.

Of course the final chords I selected had to sound good with the melody and help create the feel of the Dm as the tonal center.

In this case if the D is the tonal center it feels great to use as contrast in the harmony,  a chord with the Bb and E note.

Why?

If I use chords with Bb and E notes,  I am clearly telling the listener that I am using the F scale and not the Bb nor C, but of course I need to be targeting the Dm.

Therefore I choose this progression of chords.

And I created this accompaniment based upon the skills you will learn in the Level 4 course of The Creative Guitar Academy.

This example sounds minor. This color of minor is called the Aeolian  mode.

Listen to the three guitar examples once again.

Conclusion

The knowledge of harmony opens a world of fun and expression.

Each of these three modes have a unique character and feel to it. They are all minor.

The next time you want to write a minor feel for your song think of the 3 colours you can now use.

Experiment with all the 3 colours of minor and as a consequence you will expand your ability to be more creative in your guitar playing.

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