In this lesson we introduce the basic idea of modes and talk through what a modal scale is. Modes are one of those subjects that is often over complicated in books and magazines, but is actually very simple once you get past the initial concept, which we cover in this lesson!

Summary: What is a mode?

A mode is quite simply starting and resolving to a note other within a scale. In this course we are dealing with the major scale modes, which are scales based off of each individual note in the major scale. Let's use an example to clarify this:

There is our simple C major scale. If we choose to start and resolve to a different degree of the scale (different note) then we will be playing a mode of the scale. For example:

Ready to move on? Remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

Ionian Mode

We kick off our modal quest with the Ionian mode, which is the mode based on the first degree of the scale. The cool thing is, you will already know how to play the Ionian mode, and have probably been playing it for years!