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Mode Construction | Mixolydian Mode (5 of 7)

The Mixolydian mode may be built off of the fifth scale degree of a corresponding Major scale.

For example, by looking at the notes of a C Major scale we can see that the fifth note in the scale is the note G.

Knowing this, if we play all of the notes in the key of C Major from the fifth scale degree G to the octave above that note we will be playing all of the notes of G Mixolydian.

In that same respect, the fifth scale degree of an F Major scale is the note C natural.

Playing all of the notes in the key of F Major from C natural to C natural would result in a C Mixolydian scale.

Similar to the Lydian mode which we discussed in the previous video, the notes of the Mixolydian mode are almost identical to the notes of a Major scale. However, compared to the notes of a Major scale, the seventh scale degree of the Mixolydian scale is flattened by one half step. This gives it a very distinctive tonal characteristic which blends both Major and minor.

Here are the notes of a C Major scale.

We can see that the seventh scale degree, or the seventh note in the scale, is the note B natural. If we flatten the note B natural one half step to the notes B-flat we will have changed the scale from C Major to C Mixolydian.

This same method may be applied to any Major scale. For instance, the seventh scale degree of a G Major scale is the note F-sharp.

If we lower the note F-sharp one half step to the note F natural we will have changed the notes of the scale from G Major to G Mixolydian.

Each scale, Major, minor, or otherwise, can be constructed and identified by its unique pattern of steps. To construct a Mixolydian scale above any given note, follow this pattern of steps: whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step.

Let's use this pattern of steps to construct a D Mixolydian.

Starting on the note D, one whole step takes us to the note E. A whole step above E is the note F-sharp. A half step above F-sharp is the note G. G to A is a whole step. A to B is another whole step. A half step above the note B is the note C. And finally, C to D is a whole step.

This pattern of steps may be used to construct the Mixolydian mode above any note.