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Modal Relationships and Their Inversions

We touched upon the subject of Modal Relationships a while ago when we were looking at the Modes of the Major Scale. We have covered quite a few other modes since then, so it’s time to revisit.

It can be an interesting exercise to look at the modes ‘in reverse’.

If we look at our old favorite, the Major Scale, we know that it is spelled:


These intervals can be done for each of the modes of the Major Scale:


If we take the Major Scale and play the intervals backwards – 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 we can see that this gives us the Phrygian Scale!

If we repeat this process we find –


If we look at Dorian, it is a bit of a musical palindrome, it is the same whichever way you play it!! Inverting a melody would keep the same interval relationship!

If you have been following my articles you may remember we ranked the modes of the Major Scale from ‘brightest to darkest’.

Modes can be thought of being ranked from ‘brightest/happiest’ to ‘darkest/saddest’.


If you look at this table you can see that the inverted scales match up top to bottom. Lydian/Locrian, Major/Phrygian, Mixolydian/Aeolian. Dorian being the palindrome in the middle.

We will use this technique in the next couple of articles to discover even more scales that we can use. For now, invert those modes!!



-Duncan Richardson - MU Columnist


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