• The Harmony Of The Dorian Scale: Triad, Seventh, And Extended Chords

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Improvisation,Jazz music,Piano,Scales,Theory

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    In this lesson, we’ll be focusing on the harmony of the Dorian scale.

    Although there are other minor scales out there (especially the natural minor scale which is the traditional scale of the minor key), the Dorian scale remains one of the greatest scale option for minor chords because of its harmony.

    In the next few segments, we’ll be looking at the chords that are associated with the Dorian scale and you’ll see why the Dorian scale is important.

    “What Is A Dorian Scale?”

    The Dorian scale is a modal scale that is derived from the transposition of the Dorian mode. The Dorian mode can be formed by playing all the white notes on the keyboard from D to D:

    So, “D, E, F, G, A, B, C, and D” when played together:

    …produces the Dorian mode.

    Transposing the Dorian mode from D:

    …so it could start on any of the 12 tones of the chromatic scale:

    …produces 12 Dorian scales.

    “Check Out All The Dorian Scales On The Keyboard…”

    C Dorian scale:

    C# Dorian Scale:

    D Dorian scale:

    Eb Dorian Scale:

    E Dorian scale:

    F Dorian scale:

    F# Dorian Scale:

    G Dorian scale:

    G# Dorian Scale:

    A Dorian scale:

    Bb Dorian Scale:

    B Dorian scale:

    Alright! Now that we’ve refreshed our minds on the Dorian scale, let’s proceed to studying its harmony.

    The Harmony Of The Dorian Scale

    Jermaine Griggs will always say “scales form chords” and the Dorian scale is one of the minor scale options that cannot be ignored because of it is compatibility with several chord sizes (or widths).

    Let’s go ahead and explore the harmony of the Dorian scale starting from the most basic chord width (the triad) to extended chords (like the thirteenth).

    Attention:   Due to the fact that the Dorian scale is a minor scale, all the chords or harmonies associated with it will inherit the minor quality. For example, the triad of the Dorian scale is the minor triad, while the seventh chord of the Dorian scale is the minor seventh chord.

    Minor Triad

    The triad of the Dorian scale can be formed when the 1st, 3rd, and 5th tones are played or heard together. Using the D Dorian scale (as a reference):

    …the triad of the D Dorian scale is the D minor triad:

    …consisting of D, F, and A.

    Minor Sixth Chord

    The sixth chord of the Dorian scale can be formed when the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th tones are played or heard together. Using the D Dorian scale (as a reference):

    …the sixth chord of the D Dorian scale is the D minor sixth chord:

    …consisting of D, F, A, and B.

    Minor Seventh Chord

    The seventh chord of the Dorian scale can be formed when the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th tones are played or heard together. Using the D Dorian scale (as a reference):

    …the seventh chord of the D Dorian scale is the D minor seventh chord:

    …consisting of D, F, A, and C.

    Minor Ninth Chord

    The ninth chord of the Dorian scale can be formed when the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th tones are played or heard together. Using the D Dorian scale (as a reference):

    …the ninth chord of the D Dorian scale is the D minor ninth chord:

    …consisting of D, F, A, C, and E.

    Minor Eleventh Chord

    The eleventh chord of the Dorian scale can be formed when the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th tones are played or heard together. Using the D Dorian scale (as a reference):

    …the eleventh chord of the D Dorian scale is the D minor eleventh chord:

    …consisting of D, F, A, C, E, and G.

    Minor Thirteenth Chord

    The thirteenth of the Dorian scale can be formed when the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th tones are played or heard together. Using the D Dorian scale (as a reference):

    …the thirteenth chord of the D Dorian scale is the D minor thirteenth chord:

    …consisting of D, F, A, C, E, G, and B.

    Final Words

    The Dorian scale is a great minor scale and you can tell from its harmony:

    The minor triad

    The minor sixth chord

    The minor seventh chord

    The minor ninth chord

    The minor eleventh chord

    The minor thirteenth chord

    Go ahead and memorize all the chords associated with the Dorian scale in all the keys and also experiment with them.

    Attention: If you have a suggestion, contribution, or comment, please feel free to enter it in the comment box below.

    See you next time!

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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