We're sorry, but
this video lesson is no longer available.
View the digital version of the article by clicking the
"DIGITAL" link above
from Bruce Arnold’s Total Modal
When it comes to being a well-rounded musician, an important place to start is by knowing your theory. You should learn all 19 scales in all 12 keys – we suggest beginning by learning all the scales in C then moving to other key centers. By learning your modes in all keys you will be equipped to play any song in any key and play over any chord in any key. It will also help you to know your guitar fretboard better and make you a better musician.
Try to complete one key for all 19 scales in a two week practice period. Remember to recall the note names or the degrees of the scales as you play them. I would suggest alternating days of thinking note names and scale degrees. Also play the modes over vamps in order to hear them in a musical situation.
This month, we’re going to look at the Dorian scale, beginning in C. The C Dorian scale would be used if you’re improvising over a minor chord, but you could also use it over a dominant chord such as a C7sus4, or a Csus4 chord. It’s a very useful scale and one of the most commonly utilized in improvising and in composition. Now let’s take a closer look.
The Dorian scale is a seven note scale whose interval pattern is whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step. A C Dorian scale would contain the notes C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb. If we play this scale up and down the A string it looks like the example below.
It is sometimes easier to think of the Dorian scale as a major scale where the 3rd and the 7th have been flatted rather than memorizing the interval pattern. It should also be pointed out that if we play a Bb major scale starting on the 2nd degree (C) we will be playing a C Dorian scale.
It is important to know each scale in two ways: first, memorize its interval pattern or what alterations it has in comparison to C major. In this case, C Dorian has a flatted 3rd and 7th. You want to develop the ability to hear Dorian as its own key. Second, memorize which major scale a particular mode comes from. In this case, C Dorian is the II degree of Bb major. This second method allows you to group similar scales together.
Check out TrueFire's Interactive Video CD-ROM Library
Learn more about subscribing to TrueFire's All-Access
- over 3,500 video lessons online