A mode is a scale. A scale which produces a distinct and recognizable sound. We can ‘create’ them in different ways. One way is to think in terms of a parent key; from where it can be derived. Another is to use a common shell and add tones. Even another is to use paralleling.
- Modes are portable. We can use any where they fit [even outside their key center], and also think in different ways to organize them and apply them to the fretboard.
- We can play music [a song] that is based in a mode other than Major (or typical minor). Songs can be based in D Dorian, etc.
- The number of tones in a scale is the number of modes it can produce [7 tone scales mean that there are 7 modes – each tone can be a ‘starting point’]. So, the minimum number of names that a scale can have is the same as the number of tones in the scale. If a scale has 7 tones, it has a minimum of 7 names [just as the pentatonic has minimum of 5 names]. Sometimes, scales have more than one name [C Major is C Ionian – same thing, two names].
- Mode names follow Greek tribal names (not necessarily that each tribe played the mode as its trademark sound). They are Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian.