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?

2 Answers 2


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, 2016 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, 2016 at 1:47
  • ok that makes sense wasnt aware of the movable system
    – zeukin
    Nov 9, 2016 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, 2016 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, 2016 at 3:46
  • Presumably because Gf would mean it was just natural minor/Aeolian.
    – Richard
    Nov 9, 2016 at 4:39
  • Only insofar as 6 rises to ♭7. ♭6 was standard ficta for Dorian mode.
    – user16935
    Nov 9, 2016 at 23:16

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