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Music Theory for Guitar - Mixolydian Mode

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Previous page: Music Theory for Guitar - Modal scales and harmony - Phrygian Next page: Music Theory for Guitar - Lydian Mode

A Mixolydian Mix -The Mixolydian Mode

The mixolydian mode or mixolydian scale is a major scale, which means that is has a major third. The difference between a normal major scale and mixolydian, is that the mixolydian scale has a lowered 7th. This means that it does have a low leading note, which again means that it does not give as strong lead back to the root as the major scale.

If you start from the notes of a major scale, you will get the mixolydian scale if you are playing from the fifth to fifth. To put it in other words, it is the scale with the dominant as the root. Some call the scale the dominant 7th, or just the 7th scale. If we use the C-major as the basis scale, then you get a mixolydian scale if you are playing from G to G. (This is much easier to explain and to understand if you also play some keyboard: If you are playing on the white keys from G to G, then you get a mixolydian scale.)

The diatonic chord on the fifth of a mixolydian scale will be a minor chord. If the song is in G-mixolydian (no sharps of flats), the 5th chord will be Dm. But the v-I relationship does not establish a key in the same way as the V-I relation. To establish the tonal center and by that the key, we have to rely on other chord changes.

Many songs based on the mixolydian scale has the basic chord progression I-bVII. Or if you start from the other side: Songs with the chord progression I-bVII is usually based on the mixolydian scale.

You may also use the mixolydian scale to play over a standard blues progression. It will give you more of a major sound, compared to the pentatonic minor or the blues scale. But it still sound bluesy. B.B. King often play the mixolydian blues.

Some mixolydian progressiona are:

  • I-bVII
  • I-VIIb-VIb-V
  • I-IV-v
  • v-ii-IV-I
  • ii-VIIb-I
  •  

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    Previous page: Music Theory for Guitar - Modal scales and harmony - Phrygian Next page: Music Theory for Guitar - Lydian Mode