harmonized major scales with modes chart

Posted: June 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

MODES and the Harmonized Major Scale

first off, learn the 5 essential major scale patterns .

one caveat with that video is that his # names for the patterns are not the same as they teach at M.I.  (musician’s institute)

what he is calling a pattern 1 is what most people , myself included , call pattern 3

what he is calling a pattern 2 is what most people , myself included , call pattern 4

what he is calling a pattern 3 is what most people , myself included , call pattern 5

what he is calling a pattern 4 is what most people , myself included , call pattern 1

what he is calling a pattern 5 is what most people , myself included , call pattern 2

So….watch that video above….BUT write these scales out and Label them like i do and like M.I. does, otherwise this will get really confusing….

trust me, it’ll be worth the effort.

you can transfer that knowledge to all of this modes stuff,

instead of learning like 7 modal scales in 5 different ways,

you just learn 5 scale patterns and can use those scale patterns for all of the modes all over the fret board.

so unless you’ve got a photographic memory,

i’d say memorize those 5 patterns and let your muscles do the memory work.

the Harmonized Major Scale is

the Major scale with harmonies [adding a 3rd, 5th, and sometimes a 7th]…

for example,

if you added the 3rd and 5th notes of the major scale to each note of the C major scale, you’d get

C major scale starting on  the   1= C,D,E,F,G,A,B

C major scale starting on the 3rd= E,F,G,A,B,C,D

C major scale starting on the 5th= G,A,B,C,D,E,F

C major scale starting on the 7th= B,C,D,E,F,G,A

look at how they line up vertically,

those are the triads of the C Harmonized Major Scale:

if you play C,E, and G together it’s a C major chord (1,3,5), add the B and it’s a C major 7

if you play D,F, and A together it’s a D minor chord (1, b3, 5), add the C and it’s a D minor 7

if you play E,G, and B together it’s an E minor chord (1,b3,5), add the D, and it’s an E minor 7

if you play F,A, and C together it’s a F major chord (1,3,5), add the E and it’s a F major 7

if you play G,B, and D together it’s a G major chord (if you add the 7th degree of the scale [F], you’d have a G dominant chord (also known as G7) (1,3,5,b7) because in the G major scale the F is an F#, but in the C scale the F is F natural, so to G it’s a flatted 7th

if you play A,C, and E together it’s an A minor chord (1,b3,5), if you add the G, you’ve got A minor7

if you play B,D, and F together it’s a B diminished chord (if you add the 7th degree of the scale [A], you’d have a Bmin7b5 (1,b3,b5,b7)

but wouldn’t it be great to have a chart with all of these chords

for all of the scales, so you always knew the chord qualities and what modes they can represent…

that’s the chart below

but in case the word MODEs is scary to you…let’s demystify it a little bit:

check out this video on the MOdes by Vinnie Moore—


this guy breaks it down pretty well in my opinion, it’s a 3 part video,

so click on the other parts too.

here’s another regular guy on youTube explaining the modes too,

very similar to Vinnie Moore, but never hurts to hear it another way

playing modes is just playing a major scale over a different chord to produce a different musical flavor:

C ionian is playing C major scale over a C chord (sounds nice and happy)

D dorian is playing C major scale over a D minor chord (sounds jazzy bluesy)

here’s a dorian example with modes explained this way by outstanding guitarist

E phrygian is playing C major scale over an E minor chord (sounds spanish and metal-esche with distortion)

F lydian is playing C major scale over a F major (sounds steve vai, joe satriani ish)

G mixolydian is playing C major scale over G7 (sounds like a happy blues)

A aeolian (natural minor scale) is playing C major scale over A minor (sad)

B Locrian is playing C major scale over Bmi7b5 (jazzy, sometimes metal)

here’s a cool Locrian mode video…to explore the jazzier side of the Locrian mode

there are a lot of kinds of major, minor, and dominant chords that you can play – like if you play a C major scale over an Fma7#11

it will be F Lydian and you’ll sound super jazzy.  which can be fun every now and then.

try Phrygian mode….

many times in metal, songs are in the key of E minor,

and guitarists solo over them with notes from the C major scale which yields the “Phrygian Mode”, refer to the harmonized major scale chart.

another trick with Phrygian mode is to listen to the sound of the C major scale over an E minor chord,

you will hear a distinctive spanish sound.

another scale to mention is the

Harmonic Minor Scale (which is natural minor scale with a raised [instead of natural] 7th).

so like an A harmonic minor scale would be A, B, C, D, E, F, G#,

just like the C major scale, except that it’s written as starting on the A note, and then the 7th note (G) would be sharped.

the A phrygian scale would be A, Bb, C, D, E, F, G

watch this video and look at the chart

…he goes through several different modes but you can understand what he’s talking about if you use the chart below.

you can hear what each mode sounds like…to get a feel for the flavor of each mode.

he starts on E and plays E ionian mode, which is just the E major scale.  then he moves to E dorian,

if you look for E in the Dorian (handwritten) column below, you will see that the home key is D,

so you’d play notes of the D major scale but usually, starting and ending on E

…E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D.  he plays E phrygian after that, which, if you look in the Phrygian (handwritten) column below and find E, you’ll see that the home key is C.  so you’d play the notes of the C major scale, starting and ending on

E…E, F, G, A, B, C, D.  then he plays E Lydian, again, look down the Lydian column and find E, you’ll see that the home key is B –

therefore, you’ll play notes of the B major scale but begin and end on E…E, F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#.  see if you can figure out the rest by watching and using the chart….

harmonized major scales063

in the context of a song, some call the harmonized major scale a  “scale-wise progression“:
go up the major scale with the chords from the chart above.  you can hear this in songs like  “here there every where”  – beatles, “lean on me”  –  bill withers, “like a rolling stone” – bob dylan
some IMPORTANT SUBSTITUTIONS for the harmonized major scale chords:
often times the iii is replaced by a I / III   (1,3)for example, in the key of C, you would have C/E instead of an E minor as the 3rd chord in the C harmonized major scale.  and oftentimes, the 7th degree of a harmonized major scale, rather than being diminished will also be replaced by a “slash” chord, in this case will be a V/vii, (5/7), for example, in key of C, the 7th chord in the harmonized major scale would be G/B.
NOTE: also, don’t be confined by the harmonized major scale, you can always breakout of it and should do so.  but many times, you will be a few steps ahead of anyone you are accompanying by being familiar with the harmonized major scale.  switch keys, and get crazy and create something original.  however, it will serve you very well to know the harmonized major scale for it will be applied in most every western hemisphere song you ever play. if you play music written in India, Japan, China, this won’t necessarily help you ;p
if you study Jazz at all, you’ll hear in tunes like “ain’t misbehaving”  “tip toe through the tulips”, “glory of love” and many tunes by mills brothers will include some in-between steps (which are just diminshed chords) – I, #I dim, ii, #ii, i/iii  or I, #I dim, ii, V,
in C, you would hear C, C#dim, Dmi, D#dim, C/E    or C, C#dim, Dmi, G7
the ending of that 2nd change there is Dmi – G7 and leads back to C, now that’s called a ii-V- I, a very popular jazz motif, using the ii, V, and I from the chart above.
  1. […] a couple examples…[for more, just check out my lesson on the Harmonized Major Scale]   (it’s lined up a lot better than the […]

  2. The author talked about some engaging things on this page. I found this article by using Google and I’ve got to confess that I am currently subscribed to the site, it’s very fine (;

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s