Modes confuse plenty of guitar and piano players. But ultimately, Mixolydian mode and other modes just offer new and exciting ways to use the notes of the major scale. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at E Mixolydian mode.
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What’s E Mixolydian Mode?
You might already know that Mixolydian mode is considered to be the fifth mode of the major scale. And the way the notes connect to the major scale is simple. To find the notes in the scale, we need to find which major scale has E as the fifth note. That scale is the A major scale:
A – B – Db – D – E – Gb – Ab
So to properly write the E Mixolydian scale, we need to make E the first note:
E – Gb – Ab – A – B – Db – D
Not too confident in your knowledge of major scales? No problem. You can also use a whole tone/semitone (or whole step/half step) formula to discover the notes you need.
Just follow W – W – H – W – W – H – W, where W = whole step and H = half step, starting from E. When we do this, we get the same scale as above.
What About Chords?
Using the scale above might be able to help you devise a melody, but what if you’re mainly looking for a chord progression? Luckily, when you look at this scale (or any Mixolydian scale) by scale degrees, you can quickly build the chords you need. Here’s a breakdown of what chords are based on which scale degrees:
So if you’re looking for the chords based on E Mixolydian, here they are:
If you create chord progressions using these chords and their respective degrees, you’ll be creating what is essentially an E Mixolydian chord progression.
Why Explore Modes?
Learning about the Mixolydian mode, Dorian mode, and other modes might seem boring or overly technical at first. But as you’ll see, opening up this world can really revolutionize your playing. It might take some time to get the hang of scales and modes, but it’s worth it!
Still have some questions on Mixolydian mode?
If you hear a guitar or piano player reference “Mixolydian chords,” they likely are referring to the chords built from the different degrees of a Mixolydian scale. These are chords that sound right with Mixolydian notes in the relevant key.
Technically, it is in its own key, but it has the same key signature as A major. That’s because E Mixolydian is a mode of the A major scale and contains all the same notes.
To play in this mode, you use the A major scale but effectively change the root notes. When you play in this mode, you solo or improvise using the scale E – Gb – Ab – A – B – Db – D.
As a mode of the major scale, the Mixolydian mode is used to add a distinctive sense or flavor to a given piece of music. This mode does well with building and resolving tension, so you can hear it used in blues, jazz, pop, rock, and more.