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Golden Goddess Guitar Leaderboard

Intermediate Modal Scales w/ Unique Cadences

Intermediate Theory

David Puthoff

Garage band Groupie
Nov 11, 2019
Hey everyone, so I've been thinking about this idea more and more after teaching a few students the Major Modes. One of them raised a question (and I agreed), that when learning these modes in order, harmonically, they all tend to just sound like an unfinished version of the root position scale, Ionian (Major).

Instead of playing the individual modes back and forth, up and down. Pick an individual one to work on for the day, and when you get to the end of it, create your own unique cadence of chords to finish off the passage, acting as if the note you started on is the new root, but still within the mode... theory lol. It has seemed to really help my students get a better ear for the uniqueness of each mode, myself included. Backing tracks on the internet are a gift and I definitely still use them, but it's crazy how much more involved I am in my own playing now that I took the time to construct my own progressions for a specific "modal cadence?"

This is just an example of some I've been experimenting with... they're not all the best sounding in the world, but there's definitely that uniqueness.
*Uppercase - Major, lowercase - minor

F Major (cause you know our man Syn knows some FM/dm)
F Ionian (Major) F - Bb - C
g Dorian (#6) g - C - d - F
a Phyrgian (b2) a - Bb - edim
Bb Lydian (#4) Bb - d - edim - F
C Mixolydian (b7) C - d - Bb - F
d Aeolian (N. minor) d - C - g - a
e Locrian (b2, b5) edim - F - d - C

I would love some input and tips on this, or maybe even questions. I'm always trying to improve myself as a teacher along with the guitar playing, so I want to make sure I'm doing this right.