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I'm a beginner guitar player and I just started learning music theory. I've been going back and forth into scales and modes but I have little to zero knowledge of how they work, mainly knowing about the "Whole Step/Half Step" diagram.

What are the differences between a dominant scale VS a mode? Ex: Aeolian Dominant Scale VS Aeolian Mode; Phrygian Dominant Scale VS Phrygian Mode

Side note: I've been playing around with Phrygian Dominant Scale on my guitar and it sounds more "middle east"'ish than the Phrygian Mode. Are there other Scales/Modes like this?

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3 Answers 3

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Basically, modes come from a major scale, also known as the Ionian mode. This is your TTSTTTS spacing, note by note, as in Cmaj: CDEFGABC.Starting on the 2nd note, and rising to an octave above it, you get the Dorian mode.The next starts on the 3rd note, E in this scenario.It's the Phrygian mode. The 4th degree start gives the Lydian, the 5th Mixolydian.Start from the 6th (A) and it's the Aeolian, leaving an odd sounding set of notes, not used too often, called the Locrian mode.

Each of these modes contain the same notes, as seen above, but they work because each 'centres' around its start note e.g. G mixolydian has G as its root.That's why it sounds dominant - it has a flattened 7th compared with the major scale, which is used as our datum point.

Going back to that major scale - if we flatten just the 3rd note, we get an ascending melodic minor.This can then be used to make a new set of modes, each one starting on a different scale note.

Start on the 5th degree of this melodic minor scale, and you've found your Aeolian Dominant.A.K.A. Mixolydian b6, Hindu and Aeolian #3, amongst others.

More importantly, and more advanced, are the chords that each degree of any scale will provide.As triads, the major scale will give, in turn, maj, min,min, maj, maj,min,dim.

Take this on to the Aeolian Dominant, and it gives: maj,dim,dim,min,min,aug,maj.Obviously these chords will give a very different flavour to a song containing them compared with the set used for major/Ionian.

The Phrygian Dominant you mention is similar in that it takes its notes from the Harmonic minor, starting at the 5th degree, but the mixes of notes to give the chords are different.

All this is really not starter theory, but I hope it answers your question.As to why it's called Aeolian, which is the 6th degree of the major, don't know yet.

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So if I transpose the Ionian mode to the root of D I'll get DEF#GABC#D, am I right? If so, what would I be playing? Just "D Ionian mode"? Edit: All of this took loads of effort to understand. As I said, I'm just starting in music theory. Should I leave modes/dominants for later and keep focusing on the major + minor scales itself? –  TonySniper Sep 20 '13 at 19:20
    
You're spot on ! That's Dmaj./D Ionian, which is why it has 2#s. To understand this, you've done well!!Get to understand the major set up, as well as the 3 minors, and all this will be a breeze for you.Also have a look at the pentatonics, because on guitar they are pretty simple patterns to use, and will always sound great, as in playing them, you miss out the 'iffy' notes that don't always fit in an ad hoc solo. –  Tim Sep 20 '13 at 21:04
    
Historically, modes do not come from a major or minor scale, rather it's the other way around. –  reinierpost Mar 20 at 11:56

The dominant scale is a mode. It is one of the seven modes that you can get from a major key. So, your question is not phrased correctly. The dominant scale = dominant mode. No difference.

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The only mode that sounds dominant is the Mixolydian. OP is asking about Aeolian dom. Very different, and not got from a major key. –  Tim Sep 21 '13 at 12:21
    
@Tim. Since the OP is a beginner, it's doubtful he's asking about anything other than standard modes and chords taken from the major key. (Or if he is, he shouldn't be!) So let's get back to the basics first, and then later on someone can get into the non-standard stuff if they choose. –  Michael Martinez Sep 23 '13 at 16:15
    
I'm only answering the OP's question. What happens after, I have no jurisdiction over. There are beginners and beginners... –  Tim Sep 24 '13 at 10:31

I this picture you can see the Mixolyidan mode is the fifth mode of the major scale.

There are different dominant scales. To be considered dominant the scale must have a major third (3) and a minor seventh (b7).

I this picture you can see the Mixolyidan mode is the fifth mode of the major scale.

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This is based on F maj/Ionian.Thus it will spawn G Dorian, A Phrygian, Bb Lydian, C mixolydian, D Aeolian, and E Locrian. Assuming the guitar is at concert pitch. –  Tim Sep 29 '13 at 16:03

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