Finding the notes of G Phrygian. The ‘Phrygian Mode, is the third mode along from the Ionian, Major - of which major scale is G the 3rd note?". The answer is E flat major. So, G Phrygian has the same notes as E flat major, but, starting on the 3rd note (G). ( G Ab Bb C D Eb F G )...

Is this correct?

Parent Major Scale ?

Time to test yourself...

It's really important that you guys test yourself. Here are some Q'and A's, to get you started...

  1. What is the PMS for G Dorian?
  2. What is the PMS for C# Phrygian?
  3. What is the PMS for B Locrian?
  4. What is the PMS for E Mixolydian?
  5. What is the PMS for A# Mixolydian?
  6. What is the PMS for D Aeolian?
  7. What is the PMS for Bb Dorian?
  8. What is the PMS for Ab Lydian?
  9. What is the PMS for G# Dorian?
  10. What is the PMS for Eb Mixolydian? Answers...

  11. F Maj - 2. A Maj - 3. C Maj - 4. A Maj - 5. D# Maj -

  12. F Maj - 7. Ab Maj - 8. Eb Maj - 9. F# Maj - 10. Ab Maj.

3 Answers 3


This can be a matter of preference, but it may be easier to get the notes of a given mode by knowing the alterations to either a major or minor scale.

Phrygian is (like) a minor scale with a lowered ^2 degree.

So G minor uses a Bb and an Eb, just add the lowered ^2 Ab to get the G Phrygian mode.

  • I agree, the first thing that came to my mind was this other approach, which I think is more appropriate and simpler, in general...
    – coconochao
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 17:30
  • @coconochao, an additional thought: the way most seem to get introduced to modes - permutating the modes of the major scale - sort of leaves a sense of plain diatonic sound. It's like a big melodic sequence of the major scale. When you keep a tonic fixed and then add the accidentals to create all the modes I think you get a better sense of the darkening/lightening character of each mode. Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 17:53
  • It can help when people talk about 'the Phrygian' for example in regard to "Phrygian cadence' or the Neapolitan chord has a 'Phrygian' color, or why people talk about the Mixolydian in a blues context, etc. Those involve an alteration of the key or scale where the tonic is fixed, not a permutation of the scale. Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 18:11

Yes, that's the way it works. Take, for instance, G Dorian. Dorian is based on the second note of the major scale, so that scale is F. Therefore G Dorian has Bb in it.


I'll just add another possible way of getting there.

I like to think of modes in the C major scale, maybe because I can very easily picture it on a keyboard. So, thinking of Phrygian, I would think of the scale beginning on E, then I would either:

  • look at the intervals (S-T-T-T....) and apply them starting at G;
  • compare it with E minor scale (it's almost the same thing, but with F instead of F#) and conclude the same as Michael Curtis: "Phrygian is a minor scale with a lowered ^2 degree." Then apply the lowered 2 degree to G minor.

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