If you've been going through the guitar modes
series, you'll hopefully
be getting used to the lesson structure, so I'll use the same
for Mixolydian if that's ok with you! We'll start with the theory, then
we'll look at the Mixolydian mode on the guitar fretboard, then we'll
get a chance to
experiment with it over the jam tracks.
Mixolydian is the 5th
mode of the major scale. Therefore, Mixolydian begins on
the 5th degree
major scale. Firstly, I
just want to move your attention away from the peculiarity of the names
of these modes. You can learn all about their semantic origins on sites
wikipedia. For now, let's just get
to know the sound of Mixolydian.
Don't know what the W's
mean? These are intervals. Spend some time studying fretboard
if you're unsure.
Look at the intervals above - seem familiar? Mixolydian is exactly the
same as Ionian, except for one tone - the 7th. Ionian includes
in its natural position (the major 7th, a semitone/half step below the
whereas the 7th in Mixolydian is flattened one semitone to a minor 7th (b7).
So if you've been through the Ionian mode lesson, there's not
much more to learn, apart from how that new minor 7th interval changes
flavour of the scale and which chords it'll work over.
using the flat 7th in combination with the other intervals,
you can get a very bluesy, country sound.
Also, the flat 7th is seen as a staple tone in jazz music,
which makes frequent use of dominant
Try building small phrases around the scale, making sure to include
that flat 7th, so you
can get some idea of the mode's flavour. For example:
Just like in the previous mode lessons, let's first look at Mixolydian
in its first position "boxed" pattern (which spans just 5 frets):
So depending on where that root note (1)
lies, that will be the key of
the scale. For example, if the root note lies on the note G,
play the scale around that position, it would be G Mixolydian.
Let's look at the standard fingering for this boxed pattern:
As mentioned earlier, apart from the minor 7th, Mixolydian uses exactly
same intervals as Ionian/major scale. Therefore, rather than me
lot of what
was covered in the Ionian lesson, I'll just focus on
the main difference - the flat 7th.
flat 7th over major chords
The flat 7th is naturally a part of dominant
7th chords (major chords with a flat 7th - 1 3 5 b7).
First, it's important to make clear in your mind the
a major 7th, used in Ionian and Lydian modes, and the flat 7th used in
Mixolydian. Take a
by simply flattening the 7th just one fret/semitone, we create a very
different sound. You need to really get to know this difference,
as they both work over different types of chords and will sound
incompatible if you play, for example, a major 7th over a dominant 7th
chord, or a flat 7th over a major 7th chord.
Right, let's experiment with some of our own ideas over the G Mixolydian backing
around with different phrases from Mixolydian, trying that flat 7th in
different places and sequences with the other tones in the scale.
skipping across the strings rather than just playing it in sequence
from 1 to b7. Your ear will eventually pick up which phrases compliment
the chord/progression most effectively. Think about starting notes and
landing/finishing notes for your mini-phrases. I know - a lot to think
about! Just give it your time and patience.
So, as this first track is in G major, our Mixolydian root note will
lie on the note G.
Using the pattern below, the low E string root note will be at the 3rd
fret and an octave higher at the 15th fret.