Dorian Mode in Thirds and the fab Flat 5

Dorian Mode in Thirds for Guitar
  • The Dorian Mode is the second mode of a given Major Scale.
  • The Dorian Mode is a minor mode.
  • The Dorian Mode uses a major 6th note, unlike the natural minor scale.
  • Formula for the Dorian Mode:
    whole-step, half-step, whole-step,whole-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step,
  • Music is good for the soul!

The Dorian Mode for Guitar.

The Dorian mode is the second of the seven modes, which are all derived from the Major Scale. If the concept of the Major Scale is foreign to you, please read my article on How to build a Major Scale.

Once we have a Major Scale we can construct 7 modes and 7 diatonic chords (1 for each scale tone). In the key of G – for example, the 2. chord tone would be A (after G) which houses the A Dorian mode, as well as an A minor chord. FYI: the second mode in any key is ALWAYS minor, as is the chord built. The Dorian Mode is widely used in pop, rock, blues and also jazz. It has a minor sound due to a flat 3 and flat 7 and is very similar to the natural minor scale, but employs a major 6, giving it a particular sound.

And check out this cool version of the Dorian Mode. Here we add a flat 5 note to the mode as you can see in the below image. This gives it a somewhat bluesy sound.

Dorian Mode with flat 5 note

But now onward to the Dorian Mode in thirds. After all that’s what this post is all about. What we have here are 3 Dorians i.e. in Fm, Ebm and Dm. I had this cool little jazzy backing track and constructed a repetitive motive in thirds that is identical for all 3 minor chords. It uses the ‘inside strings’ i.e. A to B strings. Below is a sound sample, as well as an image with tab/fingerings/notation.

Dorian Mode in Thirds

gif of Dorian Mode in Thirds

This can be played in dozens of different ways, i.e. start the Dorian Modes on the low E string and harmonize in thirds all the way up to the high E string. Or harmonize in thirds on only two strings, up and down the neck and so on. Enjoy this fun little Dorian Mode exercise and stay tuned for many more to come.

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