We're sorry, but
this video lesson is no longer available.
The Mixolydian Mode
View the digital version of the article by clicking the
"DIGITAL" link above
from Bruce Arnold’s Total Modal
When it comes to modes, the Mixolydian and Aeolian are very important to know. Mixolydian is our first mode that works over dominant chords, which are commonly found in blues and contemporary chord progressions. The Mixolydian mode can be used over a dominant seventh chord or over a dominant 7sus4 chord.
The Mixolydian scale is a seven note scale whose interval pattern is: whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step. It is used over a dominant 7th or dominant 7sus4 chord. The C Mixolydian scale contains the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb, and if we play this scale up and down the A string it would look like the chart below. It is sometimes easier to think of the Mixolydian scale as a major scale where the 7th has been flatted, rather than strictly committing the interval pattern to memory.
It is important to know the scale in two ways. First, memorize its interval pattern or what alterations it has in comparison to C major. You want to develop the ability to hear Mixolydian as its own key. Second, memorize which major scale a particular mode comes from. In this case C Mixolydian is the 5th degree of F major; this method allows you to group similar scales together.
Keep in mind that in some of these scales, like the Mixolydian mode or the major mode, also contain the major pentatonic scale (C major pentatonic: C, D, E, G, A). There will be smaller scales contained within the bigger scales, and that’s one reason why I instruct many of my students to learn the bigger scales first.
The most common use for the Mixolydian mode that you’ll encounter, as far as soloing over chords, would be a I chord dominant vamp – it will often be during a bluesy jam. But as we just discussed, the major pentatonic is part of the Mixolydian mode, so it can be very complimentary to dip into both scales during your solo. When you use a Mixolydian mode over a 7th chord, the 4th is the “avoid” note, so listen for how it wants to resolve. You can also use the mode over a 7sus4 chord – when you do, there are no “avoid” notes.
Check out TrueFire's Interactive Video CD-ROM Library
Learn more about subscribing to TrueFire's All-Access
- over 3,500 video lessons online