The Ionian Mode

OK…Finally ready to talk and play with you, my friends, on a regular basis, after sparring with my new PC (instead of the friendlier Mac). Got to stop trying to play an E chord on the key pad when trying to type the word E Major – LOL ! 

I should define a few terms that lots of us may not be familiar with, or have a different idea of the meaning. Somewhere back in time Pythagoras, and some others probably (since many people seem to come up with the same idea at the same time) decided to use the Ionian Mode as the formula to create key center music, or music in keys.  

Think there is something to that thing about Pythagoras students playing something on their instruments and stopping an epileptic seizure, then disappearing back into the crowd?! 

Anyway; the Ionian mode is the major scale, which is used to create a key. A key is 7 notes used to make 7 chords and 7 modes. C D E F G A B C is the C major scale or the C Ionian mode. Each note is called a degree of the scale and represents a chord. The fifth chord is called a dominant chord. Someone asked me what a dominant chord is. Any chord that has a letter with a number to the fight of it (usually a 7 is a dominant chord for example C7 is a dominant chord. A dominant chord has a flatted 7th. The dominant chord, the major chord and the minor chord are the only ways that harmony can function in key center music. However, any chord can be used for any other chord if you know which one to use. That’s one thing we will talk about next. 

Now, lets play a game. It’s called pick a card, I mean pick a chord. I’ll name a chord. Then you (and everybody can play)name a chord. Any kind of chord you want just don’t give it a letter name. In other words, any chord at all like minor7, or Half diminished, or 7#9, or augmented 5th. Any type of chord altered or unaltered and I will tell you which one can be used for my chord, then I will tell you why it works for my chord. Like I say  G7 is my chord and you ask which half diminished chord works for G7 and I tell you which one and why. Or you could ask which major7 chord works for G7 or which minor7 or which 7#5 – get it? OK, all of you hit me. Ready? My chord is G7. GO!

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5 Responses to The Ionian Mode

  1. Peter Wisely says:

    Hey Jackie I’m a little confused by this but I’ll take a stab at it, what is the Dominant 7 for G7, would it be G7? I think it would. If that is the case then what is the fully diminished chord for G7? Thanks Jackie, I’ve enjoyed reading your lessons.

  2. Kenny Salter says:

    Lets say I’m going from Cmajor to G7. What chords could I play in between those two chords to transition from Cmaj to G7?

  3. Jackie King says:

    Hi, Peter !
    Sorry I’m just getting around to answering your question, but thanks for asking.

    A dominant 7th chord is a major triad with a flatted 7th added. In other words, C dominant 7th would be a C major chord (C, E, G) with a flatted 7th added to it. The flatted 7th of C is B-flat. So: C, E, G, B-flat is a C dominant 7th chord. It is written with the 7 to the right of the letter (C7). So the dominant 7th chord for G7 is G, B, D, F. F is the flatted 7th of G. So G7 is the dominant 7th chord for G7.

    A full diminished chord is constructed by flatting the 3rd , 5th, and double flatting the 7th of the scale. The root of the chord is not changed. So G, B-flat, D-flat, and E (the double-flatted 7th) is a G diminished 7th chord. It is written with a small degree sign to the right of the root or letter name of the chord or with “dim” after the root or letter name of the chord: (Gdim7).

    However, if you sharp the G in a G7 chord and take away the G natural, you get a G#dim7 chord and that’s the full diminished chord you use for a G7 (dominant 7th) chord. I’ll explain why that works later. Just remember to sharp the root of a dominant 7th and you will have the full diminished chord that works for that dominant chord.

    Thanks, Peter! Let me know if that answers your question.
    Jackie King

  4. Rick Louie says:

    What about subbing that Dphryg(nat 6) for G7?

  5. noman shah says:

    I love to play guitar and now I am learning professionally to play guitar, your tips are great and very much helpful for me to play it better.

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