Modal Arpeggios

Welcome back! Its a honor to be back again! You should be becoming a mode expert by now, if you have been following these lessons. We are now going to talk about modal arpeggios this lesson. This topic is not really talked about too much, so let me show you what a modal arpeggio is.

Example 1. In the G ionian mode, we're going to play every other note in the scale, in 3rd intervals. For example, let's extend the G ionian mode 2 octaves. The notes would be G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G, A, B, C, D, E and F#. If you play every other note you'll get G, B, D, F#, A, C, E (with the formula 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13). These are the chord tones of the Ionian mode; if you play these tones individually it is known as a modal arpeggio.

MP3 - Example 1

You will begin to notice triads in each scale also. For example, if you play the chord tones 3, 5 and 7 in G Ionian you get a B minor triad. Play the 5, 7, 9 and you'll get a D major triad. Play the 9, 11, 13 and you'll get an A minor triad. It's very important to know this in every mode; this will help you figure out what chord fits each mode and you can add the upper extensions to the chords you are using.

I mapped out all 7 seven modes for you in G - this works in any key. Make sure you memorize the chord tones for each scale. I also made a chart for you (the mode extension chart). Hang it on the wall of your practice room to help you memorize the information.




Here's the rest of the modal arpeggios in the major scale.

Example 2. A Dorian.

MP3 - Example 2

Example 3. B Phrygian.

MP3 - Example 3

Example 4. C Lydian.

MP3 - Example 4

Example 5. D Mixolydian.

MP3 - Example 5

Example 6. E Aeolian.

MP3 - Example 6

Example 7. F# Locrian.

MP3 - Example 7

OK, this wraps up our lesson! Spend some time with this; you will begin to notice the personalities of each mode more, and your soloing will improve because you will add more colorful tonal possibilities into your playing. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. I use the modes in most of my music, so be sure to check out my CDs on this amazing site and check out my new CD release, "Vibe". Visit for more information.

Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.

Mike Campese: The Fire Within