# Working Through The Seven Modes With A Diatonic Progression

So how are those modes going? Good, I hope. I've received a lot of questions concerning how to apply the modes to chords, so here goes. First, let's choose a key. This time let's use C Major (also known as C Ionian), since it has no sharps or flats. Example 1 shows the C Ionian/Major scale. Let's also number the notes, C=1, D=2, E=3, F=4, G=5, A=6, B=7 and C=8 or 1 again.

#### Example 1:

```C Ionian/Major

Notes:   C  D  E   F  G  A  B   C
E      |----------------------------------------------|
B      |----------------------------------------------|
G      |-----------------2--4---5---------------------|
D      |-------2---3--5-------------------------------|
A      |-3--5-----------------------------------------|
E      |----------------------------------------------|
Numbers: I  II III IV V  VI VII VIII or I

```

In Example 2 we build out first chord off the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the C Major scale, giving us the C, E and G, forming a C major triad.

#### Example 2:

```C Major Chord: C Ionian/Major Scale

Notes:   C E   G    C maj
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
B      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
G      |-------0--|---0---|-------------------------------------|
D      |---2------|---2---|-------2---3--5--3--2----------------|
A      |-3--------|---3---|-3--5------------------5--3----------|
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
Numbers: I III V

```

Next, in Example 3, we build our chord with the 2nd, 4th and 6th notes of the C Major scale, forming a D minor chord with D, F and A. Now improvise with the D Dorian mode over this chord.

#### Example 3:

```D Minor Chord: D Dorian Scale

Notes:   D  F  A    D min
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
B      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
G      |-------2--|---0---|--------------2----------------------|
D      |----3-----|---2---|----2---3--5-----5--3--2-------------|
A      |-5--------|---3---|-5------------------------5----------|
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
Numbers: II IV VI

```

In Example 4, we'll build off the 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of the C Major scale (the E, G and B notes) creating an E minor chord. Now solo with the E Phrygian over this chord.

#### Example 4:

```E Minor Chord: E Phrygian Scale

Notes:   E   G B    E min
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
B      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
G      |-------4--|---4---|-----------2--4--2-------------------|
D      |-2---5----|---5---|-2---3--5-----------5--3--2----------|
A      |----------|---7---|-------------------------------------|
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
Numbers: III V VII

```

Example 5 builds the F Major chord out of the 4th, 6th and 8th (or 1st) of the C Major scale, which will be the F, A and C notes. Try playing the F Lydian mode over this chord.

#### Example 5:

```F Major Chord: F Lydian Scale

Notes:   E   G B    F maj
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
B      |----------|---1---|-------------------------------------|
G      |----2--5--|---2---|-------2--4--5--4--2-----------------|
D      |-3--------|---3---|-3--5-----------------5--3-----------|
A      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
Numbers: IV VI I

```

In Example 6, we'll derive the G Major chord from the 5th, 7th and 2nd notes of the C Major scale (G, B, D). Play the G Mixolydian scale against this chord.

#### Example 6:

```G Major Chord: G Mixolydian Scale

Notes:   G B   D    G maj
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
B      |-------3--|---3---|-------------3-----------------------|
G      |---4------|---4---|----2--4--5-----5--4--2--------------|
D      |-5--------|---5---|-5-----------------------5-----------|
A      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
Numbers: V VII II

```

Example 7 will build off the 6th, 1st and 3rd notes of the C Major scale, A, C and E, yielding the A minor chord, which is perfect for the A Aeolian/Minor mode.

#### Example 7:

```A Minor Chord: A Aeolian/Minor Scale

Notes:   A  C  E    A min
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
B      |-------5--|---5---|----------3--5--3--------------------|
G      |-2--5-----|---5---|-2--4--5-----------5--4--2-----------|
D      |----------|---7---|-------------------------------------|
A      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
Numbers: VI I III

```

Finally, we'll take the 7th, 2nd and 4th notes of the C Major scale and build a B diminished chord with B, D and F. Now try playing the B Locrian over this chord.

#### Example 8:

```B Diminished Chord: B Locrian Scale

Notes:   B   D  F   B dim
E      |--------1-|---1---|-------------1-----------------------|
B      |-----3----|---3---|-------3--5-----5--3-----------------|
G      |-4--------|---4---|-4--5-----------------5--4-----------|
D      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
A      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
E      |----------|-------|-------------------------------------|
Numbers: VII II IV

```

Notice the pattern of major, minor, minor, major, major, minor and diminished chords, all built off the notes of the C Major scale. Practice these daily with a tape recorder or a friend. Also, try building more chords using a different scale as a starting point, and that will yield progressions in different keys. Don't be afraid to experiment, always keep an open mind, remember to say the notes and above all, have fun! Good luck!

Tony Young is a self-taught guitarist from Michigan and currently teaches guitar and theory.

He was interviewed in Guitar Nine's April, 1997 Interviews column.

His latest project is "Saturn Five", a self-produced instrumental guitar CD release.