Music Theory for Recorder: Scales/Modes

This page discusses the various series of notes that we call scales or modes. We start off with the 'modern' major and minor scales, but then go back in time to the earlier concept of modes.  We will also examine some alternate scales: pentatonic, chromatic, whole-tone, and other unusual note-series. 
 
It is highly recommended to work your way through this page starting at the top, as each installment builds on the previous one. It is also recommended that you consult the NOTES where you will find more detailed information regarding these topics.

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How to Build Music Scales

YouTube Video: Music Theory Crash Course

Defines half steps, whole steps, and major, minor, and chromatic scales.

The Three Flavors of Minor Music Scales

YouTube Video: Music Theory Crash Course

Defines melodic, harmonic, and natural scales.

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C Major/A Minor Scales

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F Major/D Minor Scales

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G Major/E Minor Scales

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B Flat Major/G Minor Scales

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D Major/B Minor Scales

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Major Key Exercises - NA

Score and Audio Files

For Sopranino and Alto recorders. Exercises in the Major Keys of C, F, G, D and B flat - extending the scales and introducing thirds and the tonic chord.

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Major Key Exercises - ST

Score and Audio Files

For Soprano and Tenor recorders. Exercises in the Major Keys of C, F, G, D and B flat - extending the scales and introducing thirds and the tonic chord.

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Major Key Exercises - BC

Score and Audio Files

For Bass and Contrabass recorders. Exercises in the Major Keys of C, F, G, D and B flat - extending the scales and introducing thirds and the tonic chord.

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Major Key Exercises - G

Score and Audio Files

For Great Bass recorders. Exercises in the Major Keys of C, F, G, D and B flat - extending the scales and introducing thirds and the tonic chord.

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E Flat Major/C Minor Scales

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A Major/F Sharp Minor Scales

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A Flat Major/F Minor Scales

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E Major/C Sharp Minor Scales

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Enharmonic Keys Part 1

Score and Audio Files

D Flat Major/B Flat Minor Scales
C Sharp Major/A Sharp Minor Scales

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Enharmonic Keys Part 2

Score and Audio Files

B Major/G Sharp Minor Scales
C Flat Major/A Flat Minor Scales

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Enharmonic Keys Part 3

Score and Audio Files

F Sharp Major/D Sharp Minor Scales
G Flat Major/E Flat Minor Scales

Both MP3s can be used for both scores.

What is a Mode?

YouTube Video: Jesse Strickland

A quick explanation of the modes.

Intro to Medieval Modes

YouTube Video: Paige Garwood

A college lecture that lays out the basics of medieval mode theory. The lecture starts at 3:30.

Understanding Modes

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Introduction to Modes

YouTube Video: PianoPig

This presenter gives modern numbers to the modes that are not to be confused with the medieval Church Mode numbers mentioned in the NOTES.

Modes in the 16th and 17th Centuries

YouTube Video: Early Music Sources

This is a detailed historical presentation of the history of modes and how  the major minor scale system came to replace them. 

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C Modes

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C Modes "Greensleeves"

Score, Audio Files, and YouTube Video: diemauerdk

Here is the well-known melody, "Greensleeves", originally in a modified AEOLIAN mode, in all seven modes. Each mode gives the melody a distinctive sound - some sad, some happy, and some just weird.

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F Modes

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F Modes "Scarborough Fair"

YouTube Video: Bollywood-Hollywood

Here is the well-known melody, "Scarborough Fair," originally in the DORIAN mode, in all seven modes. Each mode gives the melody a distinctive sound - some sad, some happy, and some just weird.

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G Modes

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G Modes "Joy to the World"

Score, Audio Files, and YouTube Video: Megan Smith

Here is the well-known melody, "Joy to the World," originally in the IONIAN mode, in all seven modes.  Each mode gives the melody a distinctive sound - some sad, some happy, and some just weird.

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D Modes

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D Modes "Springfield"

Score, Audio Files, and YouTube Video: Megan Smith

Here is an adaptation of a well-known TV melody, "Springfield," originally in the LYDIAN mode,  in all seven modes.  Each mode gives the melody a distinctive sound - some sad, some happy, and some just weird.

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A Modes

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A Modes "She Moves through the Fair"

Score, Audio Files, and YouTube Video: Megan Smith

Here is the well-known melody, "She Moves through the Fair," originally in the MIXOLYDIAN mode, in all seven modes. Each mode gives the melody a distinctive sound - some sad, some happy, and some just weird. 

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E Modes

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E Modes "Es woll' uns Gott"

Score, Audio Files, and YouTube Video: Megan Smith

Here is the beginning of the Lutheran hymn "Es woll' uns Gott," originally in the PHRYGIAN mode, in all seven modes. Each mode gives the melody a distinctive sound - some sad, some happy, and some just weird.

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Pentatonic Scale Piano Made Easy

YouTube Video: Steve Nixon

A presentation of Pentatonic scales by a jazz pianist. You'll be astonished what he can do with this super simple scale pattern.

Pentatonic Note Set Found in Different Cultures

YouTube Video: Pentatonic Theory

The pentatonic scale is found all over the world. This video demonstrates how widespread this musical concept is.

Pentatonic Scales

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Chromatic Scales

YouTube Video: musictheoryguy

Exploring the Whole Tone Scale

YouTube Video: Berklee Online

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Symmetrical Scales

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How to Really Improvise Using the Blues Scale

YouTube Video: PianoPig

How to Make Music with the Hungarian Minor Scale

YouTube Video: MusicTheoryForGuitar

Unusual Scales: Blues and Hungarian Minor

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