Chords and Modes – How They Work Together

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Over the last couple of articles we have looked at Diatonic Chords and Modes.

These two subjects go hand in hand. Each Mode starts on a different scale degree and can be summarised as follows:


This table can help us to decide what scale to use for a melody if we are given a chord sequence, or enable us to write a chord sequence in a given mode.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Major Scale sequence of chords is M7, m7, m7, M7, 7th, m7, dim7. If we follow the table, a sequence in Dorian would start on II and would therefore be m7, m7, M7, 7th, m7, dim7, M7.

So, if you work out what notes are in a Mode you can also work out the corresponding chords.

Previously we worked out that starting from C the notes in the Modes would be:


So a sequence in C Dorian would be made up of the following chords:

Cm7, Dm7, EbMaj7, F7, Gm7, Adim7, BMaj7

Mixolydian would start on V and follow the pattern 7th, m7, dim7, M7, m7, m7, M7. So those chords would be: C7, Dm7, Edim7, FMaj7, Gm7, Am7, BbMaj7.

Try and follow this through for the other modes, as practice always helps this make a bit more sense!!

So until next time, keep practicing those modes!!



-Duncan Richardson - MU Columnist


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