I'm getting introduced to modes and got a small homework assignment to identify the modes of some short melodies. The problem is I'm not sure that I'm following the guideline correctly, and I can't ask my teacher because he's currently on a leave and I have to upload the solution to the school's website. enter image description here

I solved it as if the last note, B flat, was the "root" of the mode and find its relations with the other notes, which would mean the first melody (I think) is in Dorian mode. Am I doing it correctly? In general does "do" represent the root/tonic of a scale or a mode?


You're doing it 100% correctly, yep!

"Do" is just a solfége term for tonic, so in this case this is a B-flat mode. Since we have Df and Af, we're looking at B-flat Dorian.

  • I was taught that "Do" corresponds to the C note and it's not just a term for tonic. – zeukin Nov 9 '16 at 1:42
  • 5
    There are basically two systems. In fixed systems, "do" is always C. In movable systems, "do" is always the tonic. – Richard Nov 9 '16 at 1:47
  • ok that makes sense wasnt aware of the movable system – zeukin Nov 9 '16 at 2:00
  • There's Bb and Eb in there too, making the parent key Ab, (four flats) thus Bb Dorian. But I guess with Ab and Db in there, these two are a given. – Tim Nov 9 '16 at 3:52

It's in Dorian correct. The G note gives it away.

here are the degrees also.


  • How does the G note give it away? – Tim Nov 9 '16 at 3:46
  • Presumably because Gf would mean it was just natural minor/Aeolian. – Richard Nov 9 '16 at 4:39
  • Only insofar as 6 rises to ♭7. ♭6 was standard ficta for Dorian mode. – user16935 Nov 9 '16 at 23:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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