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Earlier today I was working on mode utilizations, and as I was making a circle of fifths, here's what I got:

  • C Ionian mode: C - F - Bdim - Em - Am - Dm - G - C (I - IV - viio - iii - vi - ii - V - I)
  • D Dorian mode: Dm - G - C - F - Bdim - Em - Am - Dm (i - IV - VII - III - vio - ii - v - i)
  • E Phrygian mode: Em - Am - Dm - G - C - F - F7(b5) - Em (i - iv - vii - III - VI - II - Fr. 6/i - i)
  • F Lydian mode: F - Bdim - Em - Am - Dm - G - C - F (I - ivo - vii - iii - vi - II - V - I)
  • G Mixolydian mode: G - C - F - Bdim - Em - Am - Dm - G (I - IV - VII - iiio - vi - ii - v - I)
  • A Aeolian mode: Am - Dm - G - C - F - Bdim - Em - Am (i - iv - VII - III - VI - iio - v - i)
  • B Locrian mode: Bm(no5) - Em - Am - Dm - G - C - C7(no5) - Bm(no5) (i(no5) - iv - vii - iii - VI - II - It. 6/i - i(no5))
  • C Ionian mode: C - F - Bdim - Em - Am - Dm - G - C (I - IV - viio - iii - vi - ii - V - I)

Like this:

Is this practical?


However, I think I have heard that circle of fifths progressions are basically tonal and not modal. Are they practical for modes or not?

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    Write the list in a circle, and you'll see that each list starts on a different part of that circle. All you've done is repeat the pattern (with a couple of spurious chords). C Ionian has the same stuff as D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian, etc. – Tim Jun 14 at 8:56
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    E Phrygian with F7b5. And a dom 7 chord isn't the same as a Fr/ItGer6th. And Locrian doesn't work too well in this (or many other) situation. – Tim Jun 14 at 12:45
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    What do you mean by practical? Are you doing composition, or analysis of existing music? – benwiggy Jun 14 at 16:26
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    What makes a sequence of chords practical? Do you like the way it sounds? If you do, what could be more practical? – David R. Polk Jun 15 at 7:15
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    In historical use such progressions would have had more chromatic alteration (for example, a raised leading tone on the penultimate chord whenever it has a minor third, for example in the Dorian). These chromatic alterations were a big part of what led to the development of tonal music. I suspect that illustrating that is one of the points of doing an exercise like this. – phoog Jun 15 at 19:46
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I would say that a circle of fifths progression in modal music is just as practical, or impractical, as in tonal music. The effect of motion is similar, and runs the same risk of getting boring if carried too far.

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