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MODES

by Jerry Rockwell

In this article I will give you some D-A-D fingerboard charts for the four most common modes used in folk music:

All of these modes will be accessible on your D-A-D tuned dulcimer, so they will be the modes RELATIVE to D Major (D Ionian):

B Aeolian is also called the natural minor or "pure minor" scale. You also might hear the term "Relative Minor" for this key:

By extension, we can also use this same terminology to define our modal relationships:

ALL of these modes share the same key signature of two sharps.

SCALE-DEGREE FINGERBOARD SURVEYS for Tuning: D-A-D

D IONIAN (D Major):

1|---------2|-------3|---4|------5|-----6|--|-7|-1|---2|--3|-4|
5|---------6|-------7|---1|------2|-----3|-4|--|-5|---6|--7|-1|
1|---------2|-------3|---4|------5|-----6|--|-7|-1|---2|--3|-4|

E DORIAN:

b7|---------1|-------2|--b3|------4|-----5|--|-6|b7|---1|--2|
.4|---------5|-------6|--b7|------1|-----2|b3|--|-4|---5|--6|
b7|---------1|-------2|--b3|------4|-----5|--|-6|b7|---1|--2|

A MIXOLYDIAN:

4|---------5|-------6|--b7|------1|-----2|--|-3|-4|---5|--6|b7|
1|---------2|-------3|---4|------5|-----6|b7|--|-1|---2|--3|-4|
4|---------5|-------6|--b7|------1|-----2|--|-3|-4|---5|--6|b7|

B AEOLIAN:

b3|---------4|-------5|--b6|-----b7|-----1|--|-2|b3|---4|--5|
b7|---------1|-------2|--b3|------4|-----5|b6|--|b7|---1|--2|
b3|---------4|-------5|--b6|-----b7|-----1|--|-2|b3|---4|--5|

APPLICATIONS

Now.....getting right to the heart of the matter, which is how you actually USE this stuff:

With the E DORIAN -----> Suppose we wanted to get the sound, the color and the "vibe" of the Dorian mode. Here are a few options:

  1. Slap your capo on the first fret and use the dronal sound of the capoed frets -- acting as open strings -- to support our E DORIAN as it moves up and down all 3 strings.
  2. Using the regular D-A-D dulcimer: Emphasize the 1 and 5 (root and fifth) by FRETTING these notes as a "base position," or Reference Structure, while you move the successive degrees of the Dorian mode THROUGH this root and fifth drone.

It is this second option we will explore here, via an arpeggiated TAB that you can flatpick or fingerpick your way through:

USING THE FIRST 3 FRETS:

   Em7   /     /     /       /     /     /     /      
D|-1-----2-----3-----------|-1-----------1-----1-----|
A|----------1--------0-----|-1-----2-----1-----1-----|
D|----1-----------1-----1--|-------------0-----1-----|

using the base position, or dronal reference structure:

T--1--
A--1--
B--1--

.....which is simply E, B, E -- or Root, 5th, Root.

USING FRETS 3 --> 8:

   Em7   /     /     /       /     /     /     /      
D|----5-----5-----5--------|-5-----------5-----5-----|
A|-4-----5--------------4--|-4-----------6-----6-----|
D|-------------3-----4-----|-5-----6+----7-----8-----|

using the base position, or dronal reference structure:

T--5--
A--4--
B--5--

.....which is simply B, E, B -- or 5th, Root, 5th.

To be continued soon.....

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