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The major scale and its scales and chords

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Jonian:
The major scale is also known as the Jonian mode. The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th note create a major7 chord with the structure 1-M3-5-maj7, here Cmaj7. The tensions are 9, 11 and 13.
The 4th note, the 11 - here the F -, is in the classical major II-V-I progression the forbidden note as it would anticipate the root note of the subdominant.

Dorian:
Starting the major scale from its second note gives a minor scale, the so-called Dorian mode. The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th note create a minor seventh chord with the structure 1-m3-5-7, here the Dm7. The tensions are 9, 11 and 13.
The sixth note, the 13 - hier the B -, is in the classical major II-V-I progression the forbidden note as it would anticipate the third auf the following dominant chord.

Phrygian:
Starting the major scale from the third note gives again a minor scale, the so-called Phrygian mode. The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th note create a minor seventh chord with the structure 1-m3-5-7, here the Em7. The tensions are b9, 11 und b13.
The second note, the b9 - here the F - is in a classical major II-V-I progression the forbidden note as it would anticipate the root note of the subdominant chord.

Lydian:

Starting the major scale from its 4th note gives a major scale, the so-called Lydian mode. The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th note create a major seventh chord with the structure 1-M3-5-maj7, here the Fmaj7. The tensions are 9, #11 und 13.
The Lydian mode has no forbidden notes as it typically stands at the end of the classical cadence.

Playing the #11 instead of the fifth, the tension between the #11 and the root note (tritone) characterizes the special sound of the Maj7#11 chord.

Micolydian:
Starting the major scale from its fifth note gives a dominant scale, the so-called Mixolydian mode. The 1st, 3rd, 5h and 7th note create a dominant seventh chord with the structure 1-M3-5-7, here the G7. The tensions are the 9, 11 and 13.
The M3 and 11 must not be played at the same time. Within a sus4 chord the M3 is a forbidden note and also, within the dominant seventh chord the 11 is a forbidden note.

Aeolian:
Starting the major scale from its sixth note gives a minor scale, the so-called Aeolian mode. The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th note create a minor seventh chord with the structure 1-m3-5-7, here the Am7. The tensions are 9, 11 and b13.
The sixth note, the b13 - here the F -, is in the classical major II-V-I progression the forbidden note as it would anticipate the root note of the subdominant.

Locrian:
Starting the major scale from its 7th note gives a half diminished minor scale, the so-called Locrian mode. The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th note create a half deminished minor seventh chord with the structure 1-m3-b5-7, here the Bm7b5. The tensions are b9, 11 and b13.

Résumé

  • The following modes are derived from the Jonian major scale:
    • Jonian (tonic)
    • Dorian (subdominant)
    • Phrygian (tonic)
    • Lydian (subdominant)
    • Mixolydian (dominant)
    • Aeolian (tonic)
    • Locrian
    These scales and their corresponding chords are widely spread and the most important ones. What´s missing? The altered, diminished and augmented chords cannot be created from those scales so we need further scales to create those.

  • The terms tonic, dominant and subdominant will be explained in the chapter major harmonies and progression.