The song 'Aero Zeppelin' by Nirvana (see here for Youtube video link) begins with a calmer introduction that has a 'creepy' feeling, due to the occurrence of the tritone. I have tried to analyse the mode the song is in, and I think it is in D# Locrian based on the notes I can hear (all the notes seem to fit in the Locrian D# scale). But I am not familiar enough in music theory to be sure whether that is correct. I was looking for examples of songs that used the Locrian mode and I thought this could be a possible candidate.

So is this part of the song really in Locrian, and if not, what mode is it in?

  • Be careful how Locrian (or any other mode) is labelled. D# Locrian is a different set of notes from the Locrian of D#. So in fact, Locrian D# is confusing! D# Locrian uses the notes from the E major key, whereas the Locrian of D# uses those from Cx. Confusing? A little...
    – Tim
    Apr 30, 2019 at 7:46
  • most songs are not "in" modes. Unless you're talking about 500 year old church music or folk music played on instruments that don't have a full chromatic scale, you'll rarely find music that is "in" one specific mode in the way you mean here, that's not the way 99% of western music works; we use all the notes to create different musical effects.
    – Some_Guy
    Apr 30, 2019 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


It's in Eb (D# will do, but Eb is easier to work in!), probably due to down-tuning to Eb. The 'odd' note is b5, as used in Blues. So, rather than being modal, it just incorporates a blue note - that note in question being Bbb or A natural. I'd put it in Eb blues.

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