Diatonic Scales

The diatonic scales (also known as musical modes) are the different modes starting from each note in the major scale. Most songs are in one of the modes and there are some unique characteristics to each one. These also correspond to the diatonic chords. Note that these are all based off the major scale which is the Ionian mode, but you can also create diatonic scales in relation to a melodic minor scale, a harmonic minor scale, and a major #5 scale. That's where some of the more advanced jazz scales come from. Here are the 7 diatonic scales to C major:

diatonic scales, music modes, dorian, lydian, aeolian, phrygian, locrian, mixolydian

Note that this is all in the key of C major but can be transposed to all 12 keys. For example, C Dorian would be the key of Bb major because C is the second note of a Bb major scale, or C Mixolydian would be the key of F major because C is the 5th note of a F major scale. Here are some details about each scale which is also known as a "mode":

Ionian Scale -this is the modal name for the major scale
Dorian Scale
Phrygian Scale
Lydian Scale
Mixolydian Scale
Aeolian Scale -this is the modal name for the natural minor scale
Locrian Scale

go back to Music Scales or return to The Jazz Resource Homepage