So far we’ve looked at the major modes, and the natural minor (Aeolian mode) diatonically which means we’re using those same five CAGED shapes in the key of C to check out the following modes: C Ionian, F Lydian, G Mixolydian, A Aeolian. Up next are the diatonic minor modes D Dorian and E Phrygian. If you’ve been following this series of posts you’ll have noticed that your 5 CAGED shapes in the key of C spawn the diatonic modes of C major (C Ionian, D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian, G Mixolydian, A Aeolian, B Locrian). It should also have dawned on you that these 7 modes contain the exact same set of notes, the only thing that changes is the root note. If you look at the CAGED system from a scalar point of view, it’s difficult to see this information; but if you bring in the triads we’ve been looking at you now have a very accessible reference point to get into the mode you wish to use instead of tearing your hair out, or trying to use those clunky CAGED chords.
The Dorian mode is a VERY useful scale to know as it features in a hell of a lot of rock and blues playing, as well as jazz. The most interesting intervals in the Dorian mode are the 6 and the b7. So let’s start with some triads:
Remember these are only a fraction of the possible variations of a Dm triad. At some point you should explore the other possibilities, as we did in this article, and locate the juicy Dorian mode notes as follows.
Here’s a grooving backing track to practice the Dorian mode over.
If you know the infamous 5 CAGED patterns in the key of C let them appear around the triads but remember to refer back to the triads instead of running up and down the scale as you’ll be able to come up with much better, more melodic lines.
You may be a little annoyed by the fact that you have to slow down a little with this change of perspective but believe me, it’s worth it in the long run as when the melodic stylings of triads become second nature, you’ll be able to go further than you ever would have gone by simply blowing up and down the scale.
In Part 6 we’ll look at the Phrygian mode.
Go to: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 6