Dorian mode theory lesson

Dorian Mode | Theory Lesson

By Devlon Horne
In March 10, 2017
238 Views

The Dorian scale because of its b3 interval is also a minor scale. so all that we have to do is take our minor pentatonic scale and add the intervals that make up our Dorian scale. They are the major 2nd interval and then for this specific mode’s sound instead of adding the b6 that we add to the natural minor scale we now add a natural or raised 6th interval.


Remember we said that the intervallic structure between notes of a scale gives us a specific sound or flavour of that scale. The intervallic structure of this scale is almost exactly like a minor scale but with a raised 6th degree giving us that specific Dorian sound.

Let’s compare the scale formula of the minor pentatonic and the Dorian scale.

The minor pent consist of:
1 | b3 | 4 | 5 | b7

The Dorian scale consists of:
1 | 2 | b3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | b7

As we can see we have the b3 and b7 of the minor scale and the natural 6th degree were in a minor scale it should be a b6. So the only difference between a major scale and the Dorian scale is 2 notes and the difference between it and a minor scale is 1 note, namely the b6.
Let’s put these intervals and notes on the fretboard building the pentatonic from the note C.
Let’s add these notes to our pentatonic shape that we know best and then to the subsequent patterns to get the new Dorian mode pattern shapes starting on the note C.
If we focus on these notes mainly the 6th tone and then the subsequent b3 and b7 taking into consideration the root always, we will be able to get the specific Dorian sound that has hailed so many guitar players in the past.
Remember we can think of the Dorian scale as a scale in its own entirety which it is. It has its own intervallic structure from starting note/root note to end note.

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*Has over 10 000 hours teaching experience *He has played locally and abroad for original & cover bands *Has biceps 3 times the size of an acoustic guitar's fretboard radius *Graduated top of his class at Damelin Contemporary School of Music

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