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Modes of Limitless Inspiration - Part 1    Page 1 2 3 4
a Stickschrift for Emmett Chapman about his "Offset Modal System" by Sean Malone

The two remaining modes, Ionian and Aeolian, have names that are more familiar. The Ionian mode is not only like a major scale, it is the major scale, or as we say, the major "mode." Similarly, the Aeolian mode is not only like a natural minor scale, it is the natural minor scale, or the minor "mode." Confused? Let’s look at another way of identifying modes to help clear things up.

Starting with the major scale as our point of reference we can create the modes by rotating through each scale degree. Below are the scale degrees for a C Major scale along with the pitch names:

Instead of ordering the pitches from C to C (1 to 1), let’s order them from D to D (2 to 2):

Ordering things this way, we could say that this is a C Major scale; only it’s D to D instead of C to C. In other words, this is a "manner" of expressing the C Major scale, or better put, this is a mode of the C Major scale. This means we can order all of the modes based on each successive scale degree of one "parent" scale—the major scale—that is why we call them the "modes of the major scale."

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