theory from Frank Singer.comDorian scales | print this page | close this window |

Dorian scales are seven-note scales. Dorian is one of the seven Church Modes, or simply modes. The dorian scale conforms to the following scale formula:

scale degree [ formula ] 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
solfege syllable do re me fa sol la te
key of C [ C dorian ] C D Eb F G A Bb

The dorian scale contains all four notes of the minor seventh chord (1-b3-5-b7). The additional tones are scale degree two, scale-degree four, and scale-degree six. Scale-degree six is the most characteristic tone of the dorian scale, and uniquely identifies dorian. The basic quality of dorian is minor.

scale degree tension functional availability
2 9 I-7 [most], II-7, VI-7, M.I.: IV-7, V-7, others
4 11 all minor-sevenths
6 13 I-7 [most], II-7

style approach usable chords in style
blues by key I7, IV7, V7, [bVII7], [#IVo7]
modal by key I-7, II-7 [or] IV7 [ adjunct chord must have scale-degree six ]
modal by key modal vamp (no changes/progression)
modal by chord minor 7th chords which support 9, 11, 13

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