0

So I got more serious about guitar recently and I learned the major scale and all of the modes.

My question is, what is the difference, assuming you’re in the key of G major, in playing A Dorian, and playing G Dorian?

As best I can remember both sounded good but a bit different. What’s happening here?

2
  • 2
    "G Dorian" ... did you mean G Ionian perhaps? Jan 21 at 14:15
  • I assume you mean G Ionian. No difference as this is the same set of notes. If you literally play A Dorian scale in the key of G then you are still effectively use Ionian mode but play the sequence starting from the second degree of the scale
    – Jarek.D
    Jan 22 at 20:18

1 Answer 1

1

The factors which determine keys and modes are not only the notes involved, but targeting the root, or tonic. In your example, G major (parent) and A Dorian both contain G A B C D E and F♯. Playing in G means G notes will feel like 'home', often heralded by the appearance of the dominant D chord. Whereas playing in A Dorian has the tendency to use A and A minor as the 'home' places.

G Dorian, though? Its parent key is F major, with F G A B♭ C and D. So it's slightly different, in that F/F♯ and B/B♭ are changed over.

Don't get confused with labelling: G Dorian is not the same as the Dorian of G, a simple mistake we can make.

I used to sometimes play an accompaniment in A major, often using 7ths, while a student used the notes from G major - a similar sort of thing that you're finding. Although at the end of the day, as I very often say, any note, in any key, can be made to fit anywhere.

1
  • 2
    @rcd To be clear: I could say “this song contains this set of notes; what key or mode is it in,” and you can’t know the answer with only that information. Jan 21 at 16:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.