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Exploring Mixolydian Modes: A List of Unique Sounds

Introduction to Modes

When it comes to learning music theory, modes can seem like a daunting topic to tackle. However, once you understand what a mode is and how to explore them, you’ll be on your way to adding a unique sound to your music.

In this article, we’ll explore the Mixolydian mode, one of the more popular modes used in popular music. What are Modes?

Modes are a set of diatonic scales that have a unique sound and feel. The most common mode is the Major mode, which is used in most Western music.

Modes are created by starting on a different note of the diatonic scale and using the same scale to create a new sound. The modes have a formula that allows you to recreate them on any key.

How to Explore Modes as a Beginner

Before we dive into the Mixolydian mode, it’s important to understand how to explore modes as a beginner. The easiest way to explore modes is by using the white keys on the piano.

You can start on any white key and move up using the diatonic scale. This will give you the Major mode.

To explore other modes, start on a different white key and move up the diatonic scale using the same formula.

Mixolydian Mode

Definition and Formula

The Mixolydian mode is the 5th mode of the Major scale. It has a unique sound that makes it a popular choice in pop, jazz, and blues music.

The formula for the Mixolydian mode is as follows: 1-2-3-4-5-6-b7. This means that you start on the 5th degree of the Major scale and move up using the above formula.

Degrees of the Mixolydian Scale

The Mixolydian scale has the following degrees: 1-2-3-4-5-6-b7. The b7 is what gives it the dominant sound, making it a popular choice in blues and jazz music.

Music Written in the Mixolydian Mode

The Mixolydian mode has been used in countless popular songs throughout history. Some of the best-known examples include “So What” by Miles Davis, “Low Rider” by War, and “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The mode’s unique sound and versatility make it a popular choice in various genres of music.


In conclusion, exploring modes is an essential part of music theory, and the Mixolydian mode is the perfect place to start for beginners. By understanding the formula and degrees of the Mixolydian scale, you can create a unique sound that will enhance your compositions.

With popular songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Low Rider” using this mode, it’s clear that it has stood the test of time and will continue to be a popular choice in music for years to come.

List of Mixolydian Modes

In our previous article, we explored the Mixolydian mode and its formula, degrees, and use in popular music. In this article, we’ll dive into a list of Mixolydian modes, including the notes for each mode.

The Mixolydian modes are a set of modes that are created by using the Mixolydian formula and starting on a different degree of the Major scale. The modes have a unique sound and feel and are used in various genres of music.

Here’s a list of Mixolydian modes, along with their notes:

1. Ionian (Major) Mode

Notes: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C


Dorian Mode

Notes: D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D

3. Phrygian Mode

Notes: E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E


Lydian Mode

Notes: F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F

5. Mixolydian Mode

Notes: G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G


Aeolian (Minor) Mode

Notes: A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A

7. Locrian Mode

Notes: B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B

Each of these modes has a unique feel and sound, depending on the starting note.

The Ionian mode is the Major scale and has a happy, bright sound. The Dorian mode has a jazzy feel to it, and the Phrygian mode has an Eastern-sounding quality.

The Lydian mode has a dreamy, floaty feel and is used in movie soundtracks and sci-fi themes. The Mixolydian mode is the dominant mode and has a bluesy, rock and roll sound, making it a popular choice in those genres.

The Aeolian mode is the natural minor scale and has a melancholic, sad sound. The Locrian mode has a mysterious, almost eerie quality to it and is not used as frequently as the other modes.

When using the Mixolydian mode, it’s essential to keep in mind the starting note and how it affects the overall sound of the composition. Using the Mixolydian mode on a different starting note can create a completely different sound, adding a unique flavor to your music compositions.

In conclusion, exploring different modes is an exciting way to add a unique sound and feel to your compositions. The Mixolydian mode and its corresponding modes offer endless possibilities for musical creativity.

By understanding the notes for each mode, you can start to explore the different sounds and feelings that each mode has to offer, elevating your music compositions to the next level. In this article, we explored a list of Mixolydian modes and their corresponding notes.

Each mode offers a unique sound and feel, depending on the starting note, and can add a distinctive flavor to musical compositions. The Mixolydian mode is particularly popular in blues and rock and roll music, while other modes have different characteristics that suit a variety of genres.

By understanding the notes for each mode, musicians can explore various sounds and feelings, elevating their compositions to the next level. Overall, understanding modes and their variations is vital in music theory as it opens up a world of possibilities for creativity and expression.

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