If I want to play G/A... I find the Note 'A' and think in 'Mixolydian Scale intervals. (i.e.) as if the, 'A' is the, 'G'. G,A,B,C,D,E,( flat the,7th ).IF:I think the 'Tonal Centre' is the key of 'A, however, the 'A' becomes the 'Ionian Mode Major', the '3rd, is Phrygian, and the '5th, becomes 'Mixolydian. the Question is... Is this an acceptable theoretical Solution?

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    What's G/A? Generally, it's the name of aG major chord with an A bass note, not a mode at all. Perhaps you mean the G scale notes, but homing to A. This would be the Dorian of G, or A Dorian, mode-wise. Mixolydian is recognised as a mode rather than a scale. The question needs re-phrasing, I think, to get some helpful answers.
    – Tim
    Nov 4, 2016 at 16:04
  • "user33232" / I was thinking 'G Mixolydian Mode, starting in the Key of 'A Major... thus : 'G over 'A. From there, if I wanted the 'Em chord, I would reach for the 3rd, and proceed to grab the, 'Phrygian intervals, which is a 'minor. (?) My thinking seems to work on 'backing tracks'. Nov 4, 2016 at 21:20
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    @DonnGoodside this still doesn't make much sense as you write it. It sounds like you're trying to use the parallel minor of A major (A minor) to play over something in A major. I still don't see the need to bring all the different modes you mention in as they seem irrelevant to what you want to do.
    – Dom
    Nov 5, 2016 at 14:04
  • Dom ___ Assuming we all undestand that Modes are both, in Series and in Paralell... etc.., C Ionian, C Dorian, D Dorian ( vs. ) C - Ionian, D - Dorin, E - Phrygian. To my understanding, 'Any Key can play any Mode, F# Locrian, Bb Dorian, Db Mixolydian... True? Dec 4, 2018 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


I think you're over complicating the modes. This is how I remember them: Take C Major, the easiest of all. If you've learnt scales properly, with all notes following the circle of fifth, you've be been practising the Ionian mode. C major start on C and finishes on C and the notes are C,D,E,F,G,A,B and C to make the octave. However, you can start the C major scale on the next note which is D. When you start the scale on the second note of the Ionian scale, it becomes the Dorian scale. It's no longer C Ionian, it is D Dorian using all the notes of the C major Ionian from D to D, creating a different sound. You can apply this on all "basic" scales you learn as a beginner. The Ionian mode is the base for all scales and what we learn first. Hopefully it's clear so far. If you continue the line of thought, and start your C major(Ionian..remember) but start it it on the 3rd note, E in this instance, you are now using the Phrygian mode, E Phrygian and so on. This is true for all Scales. If you know your Ionian scale in all keys, you can follow the rule. If you have trouble remembering the names of the modes, they are: Ionian Dorian Phrygian Lydian Myxolidian Aeolian Locrian The mnemonic is: I Don't Play Lousy Music Any Longer ..... If you understand the above, you'll find that that the aeolian mode is also the relative minor if that major... Good luck!

  • If you know your Ionian scale in all keys, you can follow the rule : I always found that the easiest way is to let the key signature be your guide: To play any mode, start on the scale degree for that mode and use the key signature of the base key to tell you which notes are available - where to put the half steps.
    – Stinkfoot
    Jul 23, 2017 at 9:38

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