Jul 23, 2008

Mixolydian Mode

Its time for another little round of musical theory, and today we're going to take a look at the Mixolydian mode, which is the 5th mode in the order of modes. That's great, because that means that we only have two left!

After we get through all of this talk of scales and modes, we'll actually be able to sit down and fine-tune our musical theory, and put it into action.

This mode should be fairly easy to learn, because its practically identical to the major scale. The only difference is that the sixth note is flatted, which naturally causes the 7th note to turn into a whole step. That is to say, the 6th note that comes right before the 7th note is flatted, which automatically puts a whole-step space in between. It looks like the 7th note has been sharped, but it actually hasn't because the 6th note's alteration changed the modulation between both notes. Take a look below to see what I mean. Compare the last 2 notes of both formulas.



Click To Enlarge

Mixolydian is an ok mode. I had rather just play straight out of the major scale or Lydian, but it definitely has its own place, and its seems that a lot of guitarists find a special musical connection with a couple of modes.

I would like to suggest that you make the effort to try and find a connection with a few modes, other than the major and minor pentatonic scales.

Back in Black by AC/DC, Taxman by The Beatles, The number of the beast by Iron Maiden and Sweet Child o' Mine by Guns N' Roses, are just a few examples of where the Mixolydian mode has been used.

As I usually mention, practicing modes going over the 2 octave structure of all 6 strings, using alternate picking, is an exercise in itself. However, modes are more for the development of musical diversity and creativity, and I know that it seems so simple that you may be having trouble understanding it, but while you're in the process of learning a scale or mode, take the notes and rearrange them. There is no formula for writing music, only experimentation. See what kind of chords you can make out of the notes that you chose, and also see what riffs you can come up with. This will also help you to memorize the mode, itself. I'm out.

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