• Who Else Wants To Learn Dorian And Mixolydian Triads

    in Piano

    Post image for Who Else Wants To Learn Dorian And Mixolydian Triads

    Let’s talk about Dorian and Mixolydian triads.

    This lesson is written for intermediate keyboard players who love popular music styles like gospel, jazz, blues, country, etc., and would love to spice up their playing using triads from the Dorian and Mixolydian modes.

    So, I’ll be taking you by the hand and showing you Dorian and Mixolydian triads step-by-step if you invest the next 10 minutes or less reading this blog.

    A Quick Review On The Dorian And Mixolydian Modes

    In the theory of music, the terms Dorian and Mixolydian are associated with modes. Let’s refresh our minds on these modes before we proceed into learning about their triads.

    The Dorian Mode

    The Dorian mode is an ancient scale/key system that is associated with all the white notes on the keyboard from D to D:

    Although modes are not designed to be transposed, however, with the advent of the concept of key, the Dorian mode can be formed by playing any given major scale by starting and ending on the second tone.

    For example, starting and ending the D major scale:

    …on the second tone (which is E:)

    …produces the E Dorian scale:

    “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:

    Ab Dorian Scale:

    A Dorian Scale:

    Bb Dorian Scale:

    B Dorian Scale:

    The Mixolydian Mode

    The Mixolydian mode is just like the Dorian mode. However, it is associated with G:

    So, playing all the white notes on the keyboard from G to G:

    …produces the Mixolydian mode.

    The Mixolydian mode can be transposed by considering it as the major scale that is started and ended on the fifth tone. So, starting and ending the A major scale:

    …from its fifth tone (which is E):

    …produces the E Mixolydian scale:

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

    C Mixolydian Scale:

    C# Mixolydian Scale:

    D Mixolydian Scale:

    Eb Mixolydian Scale:

    E Mixolydian Scale:

    F Mixolydian Scale:

    F# Mixolydian Scale:

    G Mixolydian Scale:

    Ab Mixolydian Scale:

    A Mixolydian Scale:

    Bb Mixolydian Scale:

    B Mixolydian Scale:

    Dorian Triads — Explained

    Dorian triads are particularly the triads that can be formed on every tone of the Dorian scale. For example, using the D  Dorian scale (as a reference):

    …triads can be formed on every tone of the D Dorian scale.

    On the first tone (which is D):

    …is the D minor triad:

    On the second tone (which is E):

    …is the E minor triad:

    On the third tone (which is F):

    …is the F major triad:

    On the fourth tone (which is G):

    …is the G major triad:

    On the fifth tone (which is A):

    …is the A minor triad:

    On the sixth tone (which is B):

    …is the B diminished triad:

    On the seventh tone (which is C):

    …is the C major triad:

    These triads are collectively referred to as Dorian triads because the are derived from the tones of the D Dorian scale.

    Harmonization Of The Dorian Scale Using Dorian Triads

    The Dorian scale can be harmonized by playing Dorian triads in first inversion. For example, playing the first triad in the D Dorian scale:

    …which is the D minor triad:

    …in first inversion:

    …harmonizes the first tone of the D Dorian scale (which is D):

    …because the highest-sounding pitch in the first inversion of the D minor triad:

    …is D:

    Every other tone in the D Dorian scale can be harmonized using the corresponding Dorian triad, played in first inversion.

    “Here’s The Harmonization Of The D Dorian Scale…”









    Recommendation: Feel free to practice these triads and harmonization for every other Dorian scale on the keyboard.


    Final Words

    Using these triads, you can take your blues and jazz playing to the next level.

    In a subsequent lesson, we’ll be learning how these triads can be used to create triad patterns and increase harmonic interest.

    See you then!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    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.



    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Reney

    Definitely will try. My Brain is moving way too fast then my poor finger.
    One love Dr. Pokey


    2 Cheryl

    Thanks, Dr. Pokey

    I couldn’t make any sense of learning the modes or identifying their significance in my playing. I can see more clearly and now realize the benefit of using the modes in my improvisation.



    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: