Seven Modes And Seven Positions - Playing The Modal Scales

Ok, I know some of you have been waiting for this one so here it is. On this page, you'll see all of the modes as you would play them on your guitar to make up a certain key.

I am going to show all of the modes in the key of E Aeolian first since it is a popular scale for blues, rock, and many other styles of music. I am not going to explain how the diagrams work here as you should understand them by the time you get to this lesson. If you do not understand the diagrams, there is a lesson on them in the first section.

So without further delay, here is the complete key of E Aeolian:

e aeolian scale

If all of these notes are played using the E as your root note, then you will be playing E Aeolian.

As we talked about in the previous lesson, every modal scale you play actually contains seven different scales in seven different keys. Notice how the first note of Ionian falls on the G note. That would make that position G Ionian, and if you played all of the same notes for E Aeolian but used the G note as the root, the whole entire thing would become G Ionian. So what we have here is E Aeolian and six other modes that fall into different keys.

So E Aeolian actually includes these seven scales in thier respective keys:

  • E Aeolian
  • F# Locrian
  • G Ionian
  • A Dorian
  • B Phrygian
  • C Lydian
  • D Mixolydian

Now lets look at the individual positions:

ionian scale
1. Ionian
dorian scale
2. Dorian
phrygian scale
3. Phrygian
lydian scale
4. Lydian
mixolydian scale
5. Mixolydian
aeolian scale
6. Aeolian
locrian scale
7. Locrian

Notice the optional notes, you must choose one or the other. The notes with the dots in them are NOT the root notes, but rather "optional" notes. There are two in each position and they are the exact same note, so you must choose the one that is more comfortable for you and not play the other.


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