Aeolian Mode

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[C major modes intro] [ C Ionian ] [ Dorian mode ] [ Phrygian mode ] [ Lydian mode ] [ Mixolydian Mode ] [ Aeolian mode ] [ Locrian mode ]

Basic major scale fingerings ] [ F major modes ] [ G Modes ] [ Constructing Scales ] [ Key Signatures and constructing major scales ] [ Modulation, cadence, progressions ]

The Aeolian mode and the modes in the key of C major

In this lesson we will be covering the Aeolian mode. The Aeolian mode is the 6th mode in the Major key. In the key of C, the Aeolian mode will be the sixth note in the major key. It is constructed from A to A in the key of C Major. The Aeolian mode is one of my favorite modes and the most important to learn.

The Aeolian mode is also referred to the natural minor or relative minor scale. This is because it shares the same notes as the major scale. A Aeolian is related to C major and has the exact same notes and chords. It is also referred to by the natural minor or relative minor. This is basically in my opinion, one of the most important modes to learn.

So far we have covered the C Major or Ionian mode. The Dorian mode or Dm mode, the E Phrygian or Em mode, the F Lydian mode and the G Mixolydian Mode.

  • Now we will learn the A Aeolian mode.
  • The notes of the Aeolian mode are shown below.
  • Try to memorize all the notes in the Am chord.
  • Also, try to memorize all the notes that make up each chord. Remember, each section to the left has the notes of each chord in the key of C major.
  • The notes for the Am chord are A, C and E.

The A Aeolian mode is also called the A natural minor or A relative minor in the key of C major. The Aeolian mode shares the same key signature as C major; there are no sharps or flats in the A Aeolian mode. If you were to play lead using the Aeolian mode, you could play it over the Am chords or an Am progression such as Am F and G. You can use the A Aeolian mode to play over all the chords in the key of A minor or C major.

Look at the illustration below, this is the A Aeolian mode at the 5th fret position, and the 17th fret position . The notes of the A Aeolian mode are A, B, C D, E, F and G. Notice there are no sharps or flats. Also notice that the 5th fret position and the 17th fret position are the same. All notes repeat after 12 frets.

Find the fingering pattern above in the illustration below. You should be able to see each of the different modes in the image below. It’s a good idea to visualize each mode and each position. You can play all the modes in any position of the fret-board, but you need to learn each mode first. For example, you can see each A note has been colored. You can start on any one of those notes and play in the key of A minor. But you can see the pattern staring on the 5th fret would be easier to finger as you can play each note with the 1 finger in the 5th fret and really burn up the fret-board.

The image below shows the notes of the A minor pentatonic scale at the 5th fret. If you add the F and B notes to the A minor pentatonic scale you would have the A Aeolian mode. The Am pentatonic scale has the notes of A, C D, E and G. Compare the images of both of these scales and notice you just add the F and B notes.

The tablature below illustrates how to play the Aeolian mode at the 5th fret.

Play the Am F and G progression and give this mode a try. Fingers to use to play the mode.

You can play the same Aeolian mode slightly different and the tablature below shows you how to do this. It’s highly recommended to learn both fingering patterns. You would play from the A note Low E string 5th fret to the A note high E string. The tablature for the A Aeolian mode is illustrated below.

 Here’s another way to play the A Aeolian mode.


The image illustrated below shows the notes of the A Aeolian mode. The notes that make up the Am chord are filled in, the yellow notes are the A notes, the blue notes are the C notes and red notes are the E notes. Try to play each note in the order as shown in the image below. Don’t forget to use the proper fingering pattern. Move around the fret-board and start with the 1 finger on the yellow note, then switch in up and start on a different A note with the 2 finger and so on.

a_aeolian mode 5th fret position

The last mode we need to learn is the Locrian mode. The Locrian mode is a diminished mode.

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