Deepening music theory

It’s been more than 10 years after I decided to choose guitar as my musical instrument. I’ve been playing intermittently for these years learning by myself without any strong foundation of music theory.

In the past 2 years here in Japan, I’ve done around 10 shows (including guitar solo and with the band). Suddenly I’m not only play for myself but for the audience too, And suddenly I felt that I need to deepen my musical theory comprehension, hence I wrote this article.

Modern Music Scale Modes

To make things simple I will use C major scale as an example, so the note will go like this

c  d  e  f   g  a  b


do re mi fa sol la ti

if you remember the basic music class then you will know that the major interval is

w w h w w w h

and the minor is

w h w w h w w

(w is whole step and h is half step)

so here we go

1.Ionian mode A.K.A Major scale
c d e f g a b

2.Dorian mode

d e f g a b c

3.Phrygian mode
e f g a b c d

4.Lydian mode
f g a b c d e

5.Mixolydian mode
g a b c d e f

6.Aeolian mode A.K.A Minor scale
a b c d e f g

7.Locrian mode
b c d e f g a

can you see the pattern here ?

1. c d e f g a b
2. d e f g a b c
3. e f g a b c d
4. f g a b c d e
5. g a b c d e f
6. a b c d e f g
7. b c d e f g a

for the interval it will go like this

1. w w h w w w h
2. w h w w w h w
3. h w w w h w w
4. w w w h w w h
5. w w h w w h w
6. w h w w h w w
7. h w w h w w w

(note that from b to c and e to f are always half step)

now let’s call 1 as 1st degree and so on

interesting observation

1st degree is major scale and 6th degree is minor scale so every major note from 1st degree will resonance with minor note from 6th degree

for example C major will resonance with A minor because A is the 6th degree in C major

c d e f g a b
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

since we know 1st and 6th degree are important, let’s see more, 3rd and 7th degree mode is the only mode that start with half step, so if you combine them together.

1 6 3 7 –> this is the most used verse pattern ever in pop and or rock song

my music teacher once said that you only need to know C F and G to make a song. I finally understand what he want to said because F and G are 4th and 5th degree of C major

I found out that every 4th and 5th degree from a note will make a wonderful chorus chord.

since we know that 1 3 4 5 6 7 are important note. where is the 2nd ? well it turned out that the second degree note of every scale is the most unimportant note.

There is alot more to cover but for now I will end this article at this point.