This article assumes that you already know what modes are, so today I’d like to discuss two important concepts for learning and studying modes; Derivative Modes and Parallel Modes.
Derivative would include all the modes that come from a single Parent scale (C major is the parent of D Dorian, E Phyrgian, F Lydian, etc.). Parallel would be building all the modes starting on a particular note and understanding which “parent” scale they come from; C Dorian comes from the parent Bb Major, C Phrygian comes from the parent Ab Major, etc.
And of course knowing ALL the intervals and the characteristic notes of each mode is essential; Dorian being like a Minor scale with nat. 6, Phrygian is like Minor with b2, Lydian is the Major with #4, Mixolydian is the Major with b7, Aeolian is Nat. Minor. Locrian is like Minor with b2 and b5 but is rarely used as a mode, for reasons I don’t really want to get into right now.
But probably MOST important is to understand that the “mode” is not constrained by two end points, but is simply a “sound.” To really “get” it, you have to know something about the harmonic characteristics of each one, and while you might think “just build a chord up in thirds from the root note” it doesn’t always work exactly that way, and for a lot of the modes it’s often best to play a characteristic cadence.
Here are some examples:
C Ionian (major) = C69, G11
D Dorian = E-7sus4 D-7sus4 (the “So What” chords)
E Phrygian = Esus4b9 (E x F A B E) the “Phrygian chord”
F Lydian = G/F F (Lydian Triad Pair)
G Mixolydian = G7 or triads G F G
A Aeolian = Am F/A
B Locrian = Bm7b5