Parallel Modes

Books on Modes




The following diagram shows the parallel mode forms for A Major.

  • The parent scale of Ionian form of the parallel mode for A Major is A Major as A is the root note of A Major.
  • The parent scale of Dorian form of the parallel mode for A Major is G Major as A is the second (Dorian) note of G Major.
  • The parent scale of Phrygian form of the parallel mode for A Major is F Major as A is the third (Phrygian) note of F Major.
  • The parent scale of Lydian form of the parallel mode for A Major is E Major as A is the fourth (Lydian) note of E Major.
  • The parent scale of Mixolydian form of the parallel mode for A Major is D Major as A is the fifth (Mixolydian) note of D Major.
  • The parent scale of Aeolian form of the parallel mode for A Major is C Major as A is the 6th (Aeolian) note of C Major.
  • The parent scale of Locrian form of the parallel mode for A Major is B Major as A is the 7th (Locrian) note of B Major.

Two notes:

Essentially you can play the G Major scale to produce the A Dorian mode, the F Major scale to produce the A Phrygian mode and so on. You should emphasize the A tonal center to ensure you are not simply playing the G Major scale or the F Major scale (although you actually are.)

Please notice the difference between parallel mode forms and relative or derivative mode forms. With relative mode forms you are always playing the same notes as the Ionian form only starting from different notes within the scale. No so with Parallel forms.


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This series of diagrams shows the parallel forms for the modes. All of these diagrams are based on the 6th string Root in the E form of the Caged system. The parallel mode model builds all of the modes off of the same root note and, unlike the derivative or relative mode model, has notes not found in the Ionian mode.