7 Modes of the Major Scale

    🤹‍♂️ An easy reference for the scales in the 7 modes of the major scale: Ionian (major), Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian (minor) and Locrian. You'll notice that they are organized by fifths, as with the circle of fifths, to help visualize the relationship between keys.

    You might like this chart that illustrates the mode relationships to the major scale.

    Ionian Mode

    1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

    The ionian mode is the same as the major scale. In other words, it's the major scale, unmodified.

    IiiiiiIVVvivii°I
    CDEFGABC
    GABCDEF♯G
    DEF♯GABC♯D
    ABC♯DEF♯G♯A
    EF♯G♯ABC♯D♯E
    BC♯D♯EF♯G♯A♯B
    F♯G♯A♯BC♯D♯E♯F♯
    D♭E♭FG♭A♭B♭CD♭
    A♭B♭CD♭E♭FGA♭
    E♭FGA♭B♭CDE♭
    B♭CDE♭FGAB♭
    FGAB♭CDEF

    Dorian Mode

    1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7

    minor sounding; Smooth/Jazzy

    From the major scale, the dorian mode is created by flattening the 3rd and flattening the 7th. Or, just like the natural minor scale, but with a raised 6th scale degree.

    iiiIIIIVvvi°VIIi
    CDE♭FGAB♭C
    GAB♭CDEFG
    DEFGABCD
    ABCDEF♯GA
    EF♯GABC♯DE
    BC♯DEF♯G♯AB
    F♯G♯ABC♯D♯EF♯
    D♭E♭F♭G♭A♭B♭C♭D♭
    A♭B♭C♭D♭E♭FG♭A♭
    E♭FG♭A♭B♭CD♭E♭
    B♭CD♭E♭FGA♭B♭
    FGA♭B♭CDE♭F

    → full Dorian mode reference


    Phrygian Mode

    1 - b2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7

    minor sounding; Eastern/Spanish/Latin

    From the major scale, the phrygian mode is created by flattening the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th. Or, just like the natural minor scale, but with a flattening 2nd scale degree.

    iIIIIIivVIviii
    CD♭E♭FGA♭B♭C
    GA♭B♭CDE♭FG
    DE♭FGAB♭CD
    AB♭CDEFGA
    EFGABCDE
    BCDEF♯GAB
    F♯GABC♯DEF♯
    D♭E♭♭F♭G♭A♭B♭♭C♭D♭
    A♭B♭♭C♭D♭E♭F♭G♭A♭
    E♭F♭G♭A♭B♭C♭D♭E♭
    B♭C♭D♭E♭FG♭A♭B♭
    FG♭A♭B♭CD♭E♭F

    → full Phrygian mode reference


    Lydian Mode

    1 - 2 - 3 - #4 - 5 - 6 - 7

    major sounding; Dreamy/Ethereal

    From the major scale, the lydian mode is created by raising the 4th scale degree.

    IIIiiiiv°VviviiI
    CDEF♯GABC
    GABC♯DEF♯G
    DEF♯G♯ABC♯D
    ABC♯D♯EF♯G♯A
    EF♯G♯A♯BC♯D♯E
    BC♯D♯E♯F♯G♯A♯B
    F♯G♯A♯B♯C♯D♯E♯F♯
    D♭E♭FGA♭B♭CD♭
    A♭B♭CDE♭FGA♭
    E♭FGAB♭CDE♭
    B♭CDEFGAB♭
    FGABCDEF

    → full Lydian mode reference


    Mixolydian Mode

    1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7

    major sounding; Smooth/Bluesy

    From the major scale, the mixolydian mode is created by flattening the 7th scale degree.

    Iiiiii°IVvviVIII
    CDEFGAB♭C
    GABCDEFG
    DEF♯GABCD
    ABC♯DEF♯GA
    EF♯G♯ABC♯DE
    BC♯D♯EF♯G♯AB
    F♯G♯A♯BC♯D♯EF♯
    D♭E♭FG♭A♭B♭C♭D♭
    A♭B♭CD♭E♭FG♭A♭
    E♭FGA♭B♭CD♭E♭
    B♭CDE♭FGA♭B♭
    FGAB♭CDE♭F

    → full Mixolydian mode reference


    Aeolian Mode

    1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7

    minor sounding; Sad

    The aeolian mode is the same as the minor scale. It's obtained from the major scale by flattening the 3rd, 6th and 7th scale degrees.

    iii°IIIivvVIVIIi
    CDE♭FGA♭B♭C
    GAB♭CDE♭FG
    DEFGAB♭CD
    ABCDEFGA
    EF♯GABCDE
    BC♯DEF♯GAB
    F♯G♯ABC♯DEF♯
    C♯D♯EF♯G♯ABC♯
    G♯A♯BC♯D♯EF♯G♯
    D♯E♯F♯G♯A♯BC♯D♯
    B♭CD♭E♭FG♭A♭B♭
    FGA♭B♭CD♭E♭F

    Locrian Mode

    1 - b2 - b3 - 4 - b5 - b6 - b7

    diminished sounding; Unresolved/Strange

    From the major scale, the locrian mode is created by flattening the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th scale degrees. Or, starting from the minor scale, the locrian is obtained by flattening the 2nd and 5th scale degrees.

    IIiiiivVVIvii
    CD♭E♭FG♭A♭B♭C
    GA♭B♭CD♭E♭FG
    DE♭FGA♭B♭CD
    AB♭CDE♭FGA
    EFGAB♭CDE
    BCDEFGAB
    F♯GABCDEF♯
    D♭E♭♭F♭G♭A♭♭B♭♭C♭D♭
    A♭B♭♭C♭D♭E♭♭F♭G♭A♭
    E♭F♭G♭A♭B♭♭C♭D♭E♭
    B♭C♭D♭E♭F♭G♭A♭B♭
    FG♭A♭B♭C♭D♭E♭F

    → full Locrian mode reference


    piano samples

    The piano samples used here are from “Salamander Grand Piano V3” by Alexander Holm, licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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