This blog is for advanced students who are ready to learn or want to get better at modal scales. In this blog, I would like to recommend singing modal scales to get familiar with the sound of each modal scale. Modal scales are 7 different scales that start from 7 different step degrees (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII) of any major scale. Below are 7 different modal scale names and where they start from.
- Ionian (starting from the 1st note of a major scale for 8 notes)
- Dorian (starting from the 2nd note of a major scale for 8 notes)
- Phrygian (starting from the 3rd note of a major scale for 8 notes)
- Lydian (starting from the 4th note of a major scale for 8 notes)
- Mixolydian (starting from the 5th note of a major scale for 8 notes)
- Aeolian (starting from the 6th note of a major scale for 8 notes)
- Locrian (starting from the 7th note of a major scale for 8 notes)
Now, if you already know about and use solfege in your practice, please sing "Do - Re - Mi - Fa - Sol - La - Ti - Do," right now from any pitch (key). If you pick a "C" note as the 1st note, "Do" will be C. That would be Ionian. Then, you can sing "Re - Mi - Fa - Sol - La - Ti - Do - Re" from a note "D." That would be Dorian. Then, you can sing "Mi - Fa - Sol - La - Ti - Do - Re - Mi" starting from a note "E." That would be Phrygian. And do that all the way to Locrian. This is actually easy to do for most people if you already use solfege regularly.
Let's take it farther, though. My recommendation is to practice it as follows. Sing "Do - Re - Mi - Fa - Sol - La - Ti - Do," from C, which is Ionian again (if you are using C as the 1st note of the Ionian scale). Then, sing "Re - Mi - Fa - Sol - La - Ti - Do - Re" from a note "C" also, but not D. And sing "Mi - Fa - Sol - La - Ti - Do - Re - Mi" starting from a note "C" again. This is not easy at all. This is a lot harder than the way you do it described in the last paragraph. But if you become capable of singing this way, it means that you really mastered all 7 modal scales. You'll be able to improvise using modes, for example. Or for whatever that you are trying to do with modes by getting familiar with each modal scale, you'll be a lot more comfortable and confident.
I've inserted a recording of how each modal scale sounds like starting from the same note here. Please listen to it and sing along with it. Eventually, you'll be able to sing all modal scales without the recording. The key is to automate them in your mind by singing them. In the recording, I'm using the note "C" as the 1st note of Ionian mode. After you get comfortable singing along with this recording, try starting from a different note/key as the 1st note of Ionian mode. If you have a perfect pitch, you may have a harder time than people without a perfect pitch. Either way, be patient.
Good luck, and enjoy practicing it.