Learning the Mixolydian Modes with A Mixolydian


This page will present a BASIC approach to learning the Mixolydian mode. No licks nor songs but a general approach that will enable you to understand some of the musical theory that supports the Mixolydian mode and a method to acquire proficiency with regard to scale, arpeggios, and chord shapes.

The Biggest Misconception in All of Modal Land

Hey, if I'm playing A Dorian than I must be playing in the key of A.
or
Hey, if I'm playing A Mixolydian than I must be playing in the key of A.
and
Hey, if I'm playing in A YOUR MODE HERE than I must be playing in the key of A.

Well, sorta


Know this!

Relative Mode
A relative mode ONLY uses notes from the selected Major scale. You are essentially playing within the Major scale of choice, but starting on a different note as required by the mode selected.
If you are playing B Dorian as a relative mode you are playing A Major. Sorta. No notes outside of the notes natural to A Major are used.

You play A to A - Ionian
A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A
You play B to B - Dorian
B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B
You play C to C - Phrygian
C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C
…and so forth…
…The notes are ALL the same, just using a different note as the starting point…


All notes are the same.


…And know this!

Parallel Mode
A parallel mode uses notes that are not found in the selected Major scale. If are playing A Dorian as a parallel mode you will have some notes not found in the A Major scale. Dorian indicates the 2nd position in a Major scale. The A note is in the 2nd position of a scale only in the G Major scale.
G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G
A is the second note of the G Major Scale. A is the second note (Dorian) ONLY in the G Major scale.
When you play A Dorian in parallel form you are actually playing the G Major scale.
…but…
You are emphasizing - tastefully - that A note, 'cuz if you weren't you would just be playing the G Major scale.
so…
A Dorian in parallel mode form is only found in the G Major scale
&
When you play A Dorian in parallel form you accentuate - tastefully- the A note.

Too many words huh? And why is that?


Well, here are two diagrams that show you why!

These diagrams demonstrate the musical theory behind the Relative mode system, and the Parallel mode system.


Relative Mode

Stacks Image 65

Parallel Mode

Stacks Image 63

Minimal Modal Requirements
✔︎Know the patterns and positions of the Major scale
✔︎Know the arpeggios within the Major scale
✔︎Understand the concept of Parent Scale
✔︎Know the note or notes of modal significance within the Mode
& you can play those modes