Comparing modes in terms of tetrachords

Find previous blog posts covering tetrachords in part 1part 2 and part 3 of this tutorial.

 

Modes and tetrachords | Root note C

Comparing modes in terms of tetrachords

 

Comparing modes in terms of tetrachords helps you to get familiar with

  • the structure of scales
  • the fingerings of scale patterns
  • the sound of modes
  • the brightness and darkness of modes

 

C Lydian Scale

The C Lydian Scale is a combination of the C whole-tone tetrachord and the Gmaj tetrachord separated by a minor second (b2).

Comparing modes in terms of tetrachords - The C-lydian-scale

 

C Ionian Scale

The C Ionian Scale is a combination of the Cmaj tetrachord and the Gmaj tetrachord separated by a major second (2).

Comparing modes in terms of tetrachords - The C-ionian-scale

The Gmaj tetrachord is the upper tetrachord of the C Lydian Scale as well as the C Ionian Scale.

The C Lydian Scale and the C Ionian Scale differ in their lower tetrachords: #4 → 4

 

C Mixolydian Scale

The C Mixolydian Scale is a combination of the Cmaj tetrachord and the Gmin tetrachord separated by a major second (2).

Comparing modes in terms of tetrachords - The C-mixolydian-scale

The C Ionian Scale and the C Mixolydian Scale  differ in in their upper tetrachords: 7 → b7

 

C Dorian Scale

The C Dorian Scale is a combination of the Cmin tetrachord and the Gmin tetrachord separated by a major second (2).

Comparing modes in terms of tetrachords - The C-dorian-scale

The Gmin tetrachord is the upper tetrachord of the C Mixolydian Scale as well as the C Dorian Scale.

The C Mixolydian Scale and the C Dorian Scale  differ in in their lower tetrachords: 3 → b3

 

C Aeolian Scale

The C Aeolian Scale is a combination of the Cmin tetrachord and the G phrygian tetrachord separated by a major second (2).

Comparing modes in terms of tetrachords - The C-aeolian-scale

The C Dorian Scale and the C Aeolian Scale  differ in in their upper tetrachords: 6 → b6

 

C Phrygian Scale

The C Phrygian Scale is a combination of the C phrygian tetrachord and the G phrygian tetrachord separated by a major second (2).

Comparing modes in terms of tetrachords - The C-phrygian-scale

The G phrygian tetrachord is the upper tetrachord of the C Aeolian Scale as well as the C Phrygian Scale.

The C Aeolian Scale and the C Phrygian Scale  differ in in their lower tetrachords: 2 → b2

 

C Locrian Scale

The C Locrian Scale is a combination of the C phrygian tetrachord and the Gb whole-tone tetrachord separated by a minor second (b2).

Comparing modes in terms of tetrachords - The C-locrian-scale

The C Phrygian Scale and the C Locrian Scale  differ in in their upper tetrachords: 5 → b5


Exercise: Play easy children’s songs (The Alphabet Song, Alle meine Entchen, etc.), add diatonic notes such as the 7th, optionally modify the rhythm and practice the songs in the order

  • C Lydian (bright)
  • C Ionian
  • C Mixolydian
  • C Dorian
  • C Aeolian
  • C Phrygian
  • C Locrian (dark)

It may sound strange first, but by and by you’ll get the idea of the quality of modes (download PDF with C ionian, C dorian and C phrygian examples)

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