MEAT & POTATOES: IONIAN MODE

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Matt Bellamy

Matt Bellamy

Matt Bellamy is the guitarist and singer/songwriter with band Muse who originate from the English County of Devonshire.

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B locrian mode box shapes

CAGED octaves logo

The table that follows lists previous BLOGoZON issues where the MAJOR SCALE MODES have been detailed:-

BLOGoZON ISSUE No.
MODAL FORMULA
MAJOR SCALE MODE NAME
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Ionian
1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
Dorian
1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Phrygian
1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
Lydian
1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
Mixolydian
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Aeolian
-
1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7
Locrian

This issue demonstrates the final mode of the major scale - the LOCRIAN MODE. The underlying triad for this mode is the DIMINSHED CHORD - Formula = 1 b3 b5 - not to be confused with the diminished seventh chord - Formula = 1 b3 b5 bb7 ( bb7 is often incorrectly written as 6 which is its enharmonic equivalent).

Although the underlying LOCRIAN modal triad is diminished it can also be played over minor chords to produce an ANGRY MINOR sound - it also has the blues note i.e. the b5.

In the key of C major (or A minor) the SCALE chords built starting on the seventh note (B natural) are listed in the next table:-

CHORD SYMBOL
CHORD NAME
FORMULA
Bdim diminished 1 b3 b5
Bm7b5 minor seventh flat five 1 b3 b5 b7
Bm7b5b9 minor seventh flat five flat nine 1 b3 b5 b7 b9
Bm11b5b9 minor eleventh flat five flat nine 1 b3 b5 b7 b9 11
Bm11b5b9b13 minor eleventh flat five flat nine flat thirteen 1 b3 5 b7 b9 11 b13

The reason this mode works over these chords is that they are both essentially derived from the same thing i.e the Em11b5b9b13 chord is the LOCRIAN MODE stacked in thirds.

The easiest example of the LOCRIAN mode is rooted on B natural - as it is really the C major scale re-arranged so that it starts with the seventh note (B) rather than the first (C).

Hence the CAGED octaves sequence is shown for B natural in the diagram that follows:-

CAGED octaves B natural

GuitarPro6 B natural octaves

The diagrams that follows show all of the B locrian mode notes plotted over the 6-string guitar's fretboard in both the Guitar Pro and CAGED octaves styles:-

GuitarPro6 fingerboard

CAGED octaves B locrian notes

As always a more long term solution to fretboard navigation is to see scales/arpeggios as INTERVAL shapes rather than note names - as these are universal to all scales, arpeggios and chords rather than specific to one particular root note - with this in mind the intervals for the B locrian mode are detailed below in the
CAGED octaves manner:-

CAGED octaves B locrian intervals

The table and tabbed panel below details all five box shapes for the B locrian mode in the CAGED octaves style.


CAGED octaves - B locrian mode box shapes

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5Cm2 pdf
5Am3 pdf
6Gm3Gm1 pdf
6Em4Em1 pdf
4Dm2 pdf
5Cm2 at 12 pdf

  • 5Cm2
  • 5Am3
  • 6Gm3Gm1
  • 6Em4Em1
  • 4Dm2
  • 5Cm2 at 12

5Cm2 B locrian box

5Am3 B locrian box

6Gm3Gm1 B locrian box

6Em4Em1 B locrian box

4Dm2 B locrian box

5Cm2 at 12 B locrian box


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