Lesson 14 – 12 Notes: Phrygian Mode Basics


This was originally posted on ”12 notes”, a page on this website dedicated to guitar music and lessons.  So, for the more musically inclined, here is my fourteenth guitar lesson to you:   Phrygian mode basics.  If you run into any problems, drop me a line and let me know, and thanks for reading! 

Enjoy!

_________________________________

Lesson 14:  Phrygian mode basics.  The Phrygian mode is the mode that begins, and ends, with the third tone in the major scale.  Think of it like this, the scale shown below is the Phrygian mode in the key of E. If you look at it, you will also notice that it is exactly the same as the C major scale.  The only difference is the fact that the scale begins and ends on the third note of the C major scale.   E-F-G-A-B-C-D instead of C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.  The root note, E , is in boldface. 

0 -1 -3 -5 -7 -8 -10 –12 -13 -15 -17 -19 -20 -22 –24 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-0 -1 -3 –5 -6 -8 -10 -12 -13 -15 –17 -18 -20 -22 -24 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-0 -2 -4 -5 -7 –9 -10 -12 -14 -16 – 17 -19 –21 -22 -24 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-0- 2 -3 -5- 7 -9 -10- 12 –14 -15 -17 -19 -21 -22 -24 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-0 -2 -3 -5 –7 -8 -10 -12 -14 -15 -17 –19 -20 -22 -24 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
0 -1 -3 -5 -7 -8 -10 –12 -13 -15 -17 -19 -20 -22 –24 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

______________________________________

To start off, let’s play a four note per string Phrygian scale, just to get it under our fingers.  Here in the key of F.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -11-13 -14-16-
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 9- 11 -13 -14 – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -6 -8 -10-11 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -4 -6 -8 -10- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – -3 -4 -6 -8 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-1 -2 -4 -6 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

_____________________________________

I use the Phrygian mode a fair bit in practice.  It was the first of the modes that I learned, in large part because it is the easiest to play in the open position, and still holds a prominent place in my practice repertoire to this day, over a quarter of a century later.   This one is in the key of E . 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -12 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-9 -7 -7 -9 -10 -12 -14 – – – – – – – – – -9 – 7- 7- 5- 4- – – – – – – – – – – – 0- – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -12 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 7- 5- – – – 3- – – – – – – –
-7 – – -8 – – -12 – – -15 – -15 – – – – – -7 – – – 8- – – 5- – – – – – – – – – – – -0 – – – –
-0 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -0 – – – 0- – – – – – – – – – – – -7 – – – – 1- – – – – – –

______________________________________

That last one was a fun little riff, but I have to admit, it doesn’t sound great when you try to play it distorted.   Let’s try something a little simpler, and heavier.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
 – – – – – –2 – – – – – – – – – – – – 2- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – –20 – – – – – – – – – – –2 0- – – – – – – – -10 -10 -10 -7 -10 -9 – – – – – – –
– – –3 – – – – –2 – – –2 – – –3 – – – – – – -2 -2 -2 -7 – -7 – -7 – -7 -7 – -7 – – – – – – –
1 – – – – – – – – –3 – – –1 – – – – – – – – 0- 0-0 -0 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – -8 – – – -10 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 
-9 -9 -10 -9 -7 – -10 – – – -9 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-7 -7 -7 – 7- 7- 7- 7- – 7- -7 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Play the opening notes, the F, C, E, D5 bit (In boldface), freely.  I repeat that opening bit twice when I play this, but only put the riff in once, for brevity and spaces sake.  Play the rest of the riff with straight 4/4 time, and play it fast

________________________________________

 The last riff of the night is a simple little Phrygian power chord riff, this time in A.  This mode lends itself to Metal, with it’s minor tonality and the power chords that are within easy reach of the root note.  Observe, and play very VERY fast.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-7 -7 -7 -7 -8 -8 -5 -5 -8 -8 -8 -8 -10-10-8 -8 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -6 -6 -6 -6 -8 -8 -6 -6 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-7 -7 -7 -7 -7 -8 -7 -5 -10 – 10- – 9- 9- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -8 -8 -8 -8 -7 -7 – -8 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 
 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

_________________________________________

The Phrygian mode is an easy alternative to playing in minor mode, and is easy to master.  Give it a shot, and keep on jammin!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s