In continuation of our exploration of the modes, the next mode on our list is one of my personal favorites, the Phryigian mode -- the third mode (if you've missed our previous discussion, you can check it out here). If you've googled this topic before, you've probably noticed that it will yield a couple of differing results: Phrygian scale, and the Phrygian Dominant scale. Although they are similar, they differ sonically. To clear up some confusion, this discussion will focus strictly on the Phrygian mode and not its Phrygian dominant counterpart (don't worry, we'll definitely be covering it in a later post, because although the difference is subtle, it really "tickles" my earholes).
Just like with all other scales, this, too, has a formula that simplifies remembering the scale shape, and is as follows:
* 'P' meaning "perfect" intervals - to keep it simple, just think of it meaning neither flattened, nor sharpened.
In terms of its sonic composition, the root, b2, b3, P4, P5 really creates Spanish-y or Latin character. Just as before, the notes to aim for are the chord tones (remember: root, 3rd, 5th), which resolve the tention created by the dissonant intervals.
Check out the following example to hear the character of this mode:
For further clarification, while playing in B Phrygian (3rd mode of G major), aim for the following notes to end your phrases.
*Remember: when playing the extended scale, all you have to do is add the number 7 to each of the intervals to locate the respective octaves. For example, since Phrygian has a b2 = b9; 4 = 11; b6 - b13, etc.
Chord Tones of B Phrygian (extended scale):
1st, 8th, 15th = B
b3, b10, b17 = D
5th, 12th = F#
*Since we've included the b7 in the previous example in A Dorian, we'll skip the B min7 chord that can be created from B Phrygian. Of course feel free to experiment by adding the interval.
Before I encouring you to move onto to our long-distance jam, take a little bit of time to familiarize yourself with the shape and sound of the scale -- remember: quality over quantity. And while it is fresh in your mind, enjoy playing along with me in the following groove in B Phrygian.
As always, have fun with it, and feel free to share any discoveries you make.