Metal For Life: Modal Citizen — Examining Five Essential Minor Mode Scale Patterns
The following content is related to the July 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
This month, we will continue our modal study by focusing on two essential minor modes, Dorian and Aeolian. Both of these modes can be looked at as “extensions” of the scale that is used most prominently for soloing in metal, minor pentatonic. A scale well familiar to most rock, blues and metal players, minor pentatonic is a five-note scale, spelled 1 f3 4 5 f7, in terms of its interval structure.
Both the Dorian and Aeolian modes are seven-note scales, and in each case two scale degrees are added to minor pentatonic. Dorian adds the major second (2) and major sixth (6) degrees, resulting in an intervallic structure of 1 2 f3 4 5 6 f7. Aeolian adds the major second and minor, or “flat,” sixth (f6) scale degrees and is spelled 1 2 f3 4 5 f6 f7.
Let’s focus on the Dorian mode first, using the key of G minor. In FIGURES 1–5, I progress through five fretboard positions of G Dorian (G A B f C D E F), first hitting a G5 power chord in order to strengthen our connection to the key of G.
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