While learning more about music theory, I started diving off into the world of musical modes and Locrian mode stood out like a sore thumb with a flat 5th. This was intriguing so I am trying to find modern songs that use Locrian mode.

The problem is that all of the songs I have found seem to be either in Phrygian (natural 5th) and are using a flat 5th to accent the song in some way, or are quite deceptively accenting Locrian with a natural 5th from Phrygian which gives a more natural tone.

I did find a YouTube video discussing this topic during my Google searches which was quite entertaining, but only lead to more deception. It covered three songs in particular:

  1. Army of Me - Bjork
    • The bass line is in C Locrian, but the vocals accent this by avoiding the flat 5th and sticking to C Phrygian.
  2. Juice Box - The Stokes
    • The base line is in Locrian but is accented by a natural 5th in the guitar piece.
  3. Master of Puppets - Metallica
    • The first bar of the intro is in A Locrian, but the rest of the song is in E Phrygian.

I've also found another example called Dust to Dust by John Kirkpatrick but I can't seem to find an audio copy that I can listen to.

Are there any modern songs (1950's and up) that use true Locrian from start to finish?

  • By true Locrian I mean that they do not accent it in any way.
  • I am having trouble hearing how Phrygian helps with Locrian's b5. Help! – Tim Sep 12 '19 at 17:07
  • 2
    The four "real" modes (Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, and Mixolydian) and their plagal counterpoints (Hypodorian, Hypophrygian, Hyopolydian, and Hypomixolydian) were identified to describe existing musical practice. Two more (Aeolian, Ionian) were later additions to accommodate changes in existing musical practice. Locrian, however, is just a logical extension of the system that isn't particularly useful or particularly frequently used. – phoog Sep 12 '19 at 20:15

Saying out of humor you can say that "Pi" by After The Burial is in Locrian because it's one note as a messed up breakdown.

I wanted to say that Locrian is often used in lots of Slam and Deathcore, but the problem is that it's often replaced by Diminished because it has extra dissonance.

I can't name a song that is PRECISELY in Locrian (that isn't Doom Metal and that would be cheating to include someone like Sunn O))) hello Lisp) but the good pretenders would be:

In The Forest by Gojira (live version):

Wisdom Comes by Gojira (pretty close):

Combustion by Meshuggah:

Rational Gaze by Meshuggah:

Meshuggah is probably the closest to Locrian here however there still is some chromaticism happening from time to time which is out of bounds of Locrian mode. Actually Master Of Puppets is not fully in Phrygian as well, because when James plays a slow solo it's in E natural minor and when Kirk plays his solo he occasionally uses chromaticism and F# note.

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  • Feel free to use doom metal if necessary. I'm more into the metal-core and melodic metal, but I'll give anything a listen at least once. :) – Emma - PerpetualJ Sep 12 '19 at 22:13
  • @PerpetualJ Pisschrist by Fear Factory would also be a good contender (youtube.com/…) but that melodic F# Phrygian Dominant section spoils the whole song Locrian progression (with key signature changes however because it's toggling between C# and D# Locrian). – Eugen Eray Sep 13 '19 at 9:59
  • Hello Lisp haha – Eric O Sep 18 '19 at 22:16

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