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The scales

The scales and the modes

1. The chromatic scale

As the main scale of western music, the chromatic scale is coming from the « cycle of fifths »:
F C G D A E B F # C # G # D # A#.

Chromatic scale:
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B (Octave divided into 12 equal parts).

 

 

2. The diatonic scale

This scale comes from the first seven sounds of the cycle of fifths:
F C G D A E B.

Diatonic scale:
C D E F G A B C (5 tones + 2 semitones).

 

 

3. Modes

Seven additional scales called 'modes',  come from the diatonic scale:

Ionian mode

 

C D E F G A B C

Dorian mode

 

D E F G A B C D

Phrygian mode

 

E F G A B C D E

Lydian mode

 

F G A B C D E F

Mixolydian mode

 

G A B C D E F G

Aeolian mode

 

A B C D E F G A

Locrian mode

 

B C D E F G A B

 

 

 

4. The «Ionien» major mode

It includes 8 degrees having a specific name:


1er degré   Tonic
2ème degré   Super-tonic
3ème degré   Mediant
4ème degré   Sub-dominant
5ème degré   Dominant
6ème degré   Sub-mediant
7ème degré   Leading tone
8ème degré   Octave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. The tetracords

The diatonic scale is divided into 2 « tetracords » of similar composition (2 tones + 1 diatonic semi-tone).

Lower: Tetracord   C D E F
Upper: Tetracord   G A B C


 

 

 

6. The other major scales

The diatonic major scale can be transposed to the degrees of the chromatic scale:
we obtain 15 new major scales:

Scales with sharps (#)

 

C major

 

C D E F G A B C

 

No accidentals

G major

 

G A B C D E F# G

 

1 #

D major

 

D E F# G A B C# D

 

2 #

A major

 

A B C# D E F# G# A

 

3 #

E major

 

E F# G# A B C# D# E

 

4 #

B major

 

B C# D# E F# G# A# B

 

5 #

F # major

 

F# G# A# B C# D# E# F#

 

6 #

C # major

 

C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C#

 

7 #

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scales with flats (b)


Fa major

 

F G A Bb C D E F

 

1 b

Si b major

 

Bb C D Eb F G A Bb

 

2 b

Mi b major

 

Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb

 

3 b

La b major

 

Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab

 

4 b

Réb major

 

Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db

 

5 b

Solb major

 

Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb

 

6 b

Dob major

 

Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb

 

7 b

 

 

 

 

7. Structure of the modes


Each of the greek modes has a specific color:

 

Ionian Mode

major 3rd + major 7th

Dorian Mode

minor 3rd + major 6th

Phrygian Mode

minor 2nd + perfect 5th

Lydian Mode

major 3rd + augmented 4th

Mixolydian Mode

major 3rd + minor 7th

Aéolian Mode

minor 3rd + minor 6th

Locrian Mode

minor 2nd + diminished 5th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Application of the modes


In order to recognize these colors, we transpose these modes on a same tonic (eg. on C):

 

Ionian Mode C D E F G A B C
Dorian Mode C D Eb F G A Bb C
Phrygian Mode C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C
Lydian Mode C D E F# G A B C
Mixolydian Mode C D E F G A Bb C
Aéolian Mode C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
Locrian Mode C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Mixed modes


For each mode, the «modal» notes (2nd, 3rd, 6th & 7th degrees), can be modified :
Eg.     C – D or Db – E or Eb – F – G – A or Ab – B or Bb – C

The changings are : b2 – b3 – b6 – b7
Notice : a combination b3 and b7, with he 2nd and 6th degrees deleted, gives the blues scale


modes mixtes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue this lesson !

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