Given a C major Scale, with C as root:


now make the 7th. step minor, and keeping C as root (not switching to F Major)

C D E F G A Bb

What is the term / name for this key?

  • 3
    Thanks for adding a question and an accurate answer! I’m voting to close this question for the future, just because it's a basic piece of reference knowledge that can be obtained elsewhere with more context. I hope you stick around, and check out the topics covered here. Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 15:58
  • 1
    Check out my animated mode wheel here: b-p-thomas.github.io When this first displays it shows C Ionian, but if you click the [>] button once, it will flatten the B to Bb, and indicate that you're now playing C Mixolydian instead of C Ionian. Enjoy. Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 11:51
  • Brian, that animated mode wheel app works fantastically. very illustrative - understanding by geometry makes it so much easier. Thanks a bunch! Greetings & Happy Jamming!
    – Hartmut
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 16:05

4 Answers 4


Yes it is C mixolydian.

The formula for mixolydian scales is WWHWWHW, so if you put it on c it wI'll be like that. Hope this helps.


What is the term / name for this key?

The key is C major, because the chord built on the first step is C major. Or to be more specific, it's most probably C major, as I presume in your composition C major chord would function as a tonic chord, the chord resolving the tension.

The scale, as the others said is C mixolydian.

As you noticed C mixolydian has the same notes as F major scale. It is a called a mode of F major. As the F major scale has 7 notes, it has seven modes: F ionian (same as F major scale), G dorian, A phrygian, Bb lydian, C mixolydian, D aeolian and E locrian.


Modes work from parent keys/scales. The parent for that set of notes is F major.

The 5th mode of F major, using C as the root, is the Mixolydian of F, more often called C Mixolydian. Not so much a key (as you thought), but as a 'scale', properly known as a mode.


Now I think the answer is:

It is C Mixolydian.

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