Mode Relations

The unique "graph" below maps the relationship between all the various modes of common scales; from the perspective of: which scales tones are modified as you go from one mode to another.

On the graph are "bubbles" for each mode. The Ionian mode is a starting point, and links extend out for any modification that leads to another mode of a represented scale. The scales that are represented are:
  • Diatonic (All 7 Modes)
  • Melodic Minor (All 7 Modes)
  • Harmonic Minor (All 7 Modes)
  • Diminished (Both Modes)
  • Whole Tone
  • Bebop (Dominant, Minor, Half-Diminished, and Major)
  • Pentatonic (Major and Minor)
  • Blues (Major and Minor)
(Abbreviations on the graph indicate the mode: "MM-1 for Melodic Minor mode 1, HM for Harmonic Minor, etc.)

The graph is also somewhat organised: Scale tone modifications span left-right on the graph: all modes are a single modification away from adjacent modes. And in a general sense, modifications that are sharps move up the graph, and flats go down.

For an example:

Lydian, Mixolydian, and Melodic minor are all adjacent to Ionian: each differs from Ionian by only a single modified scale tone. Lydian is connected to Ionian by a "♯4" link, representing the fact that by modifying Ionian with a ♯4 you arrive at Lydian. And since Lydian has a sharp alteration and Mixolydian has a flat, it it positioned higher on the graph.

Notice that this graph is not "perfect", strictly speaking. There are enharmonic interpretations that might lead to certain bubbles potentially being positioned differently; and it may be possible that not all relationships are represented.

Below is also included a text outline generated by the software used to make the graph (this graph was created with CmapTools). This also gives an interesting perspective to see the relationships: it is similarly not "perfect", but it gathers together all the modes that share the same modification: in other words, under "♭7" you will find listed all modes that do contain the flatted 7.

(TODO: Have a software developer implement a "live" version of this map: so it can be re-centered on any mode, showing the relative changes from that mode; and similarly for the list; and a collapsible list too.)

The Graph:

This image is pretty large and likely does not completely fit in your browser window. Follow the link (click the image) to see the full-sized image: And then from there, using your browser's font-scaling shortcuts may zoom in and out on the image (Ctrl-Plus/Minus, or Apple-Plus/Minus to zoom in & out in your browser).


The Text Outline:

• Ionian
  • ♯4
    • Lydian
      • ♯2
        • Lydian ♯2 (HM-6)
      • ♯5
        • Lydian ♯5 (Augmented Lydian) (MM-3)
          • ♭7, no 6
            • Whole Tone
      • ♭7
        • Lydian ♭7 (Mixolydian ♯11) – Lydian Dominant (MM-4)
          • ♯5, no 6
            • Whole Tone
          • ♭3
            • Dorian ♯4 (HM-4)
  • ♯5
    • Ionian ♯5 (HM-3)
      • ♯4
        • Lydian ♯5 (Augmented Lydian) (MM-3)
          • ♭7, no 6
            • Whole Tone
      • add 5
        • Bebop Major
  • add ♯5
    • Bebop Major
  • add ♭7
    • Bebop Dominant
  • ♭3
    • Melodic Minor
      • ♭6
        • Harmonic Minor
          • ♭5, add 6
            • Diminished (W-H)
          • ♭7
            • Aeolian
              • ♭2
                • Phrygian
                  • ♭5
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
              • ♭5
                • Locrian ♯2 (Aeolian ♭5) (MM-6)
                  • ♭2
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
              • no 2, no 6
                • Minor Pentatonic
                  • add ♯4
                    • Minor Blues
      • ♭7
        • Dorian
          • ♯4
            • Dorian ♯4 (HM-4)
          • add ♭4
            • Bebop Dorian
          • ♭2
            • Dorian ♭2 (Phrygian ♯6) (MM-2)
              • add 3 & ♭5
                • Dominant Diminished (H-W)
              • ♭5
                • Locrian ♯6 (HM-2)
                  • ♭6
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
              • ♭6
                • Phrygian
                  • ♭5
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
          • ♭6
            • Aeolian
              • ♭2
                • Phrygian
                  • ♭5
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
              • ♭5
                • Locrian ♯2 (Aeolian ♭5) (MM-6)
                  • ♭2
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
              • no 2, no 6
                • Minor Pentatonic
                  • add ♯4
                    • Minor Blues
          • no 2, no 6
            • Minor Pentatonic
              • add ♯4
                • Minor Blues
  • ♭7
    • Mixolydian
      • ♯11
        • Lydian ♭7 (Mixolydian ♯11) – Lydian Dominant (MM-4)
          • ♯5, no 6
            • Whole Tone
          • ♭3
            • Dorian ♯4 (HM-4)
      • add ♯7
        • Bebop Dominant
      • ♭3
        • Dorian
          • ♯4
            • Dorian ♯4 (HM-4)
          • add ♭4
            • Bebop Dorian
          • ♭2
            • Dorian ♭2 (Phrygian ♯6) (MM-2)
              • add 3 & ♭5
                • Dominant Diminished (H-W)
              • ♭5
                • Locrian ♯6 (HM-2)
                  • ♭6
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
              • ♭6
                • Phrygian
                  • ♭5
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
          • ♭6
            • Aeolian
              • ♭2
                • Phrygian
                  • ♭5
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
              • ♭5
                • Locrian ♯2 (Aeolian ♭5) (MM-6)
                  • ♭2
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
              • no 2, no 6
                • Minor Pentatonic
                  • add ♯4
                    • Minor Blues
          • no 2, no 6
            • Minor Pentatonic
              • add ♯4
                • Minor Blues
      • ♭6
        • Mixolydian ♭13 (MM-5)
          • ♯4, no 5
            • Whole Tone
          • ♭3
            • Aeolian
              • ♭2
                • Phrygian
                  • ♭5
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
              • ♭5
                • Locrian ♯2 (Aeolian ♭5) (MM-6)
                  • ♭2
                    • Locrian
                      • ♭4
                        • Altered (Super-Locrian / Locrian ♭4) (MM-7)
                          • ♭♭7
                            • Dominant Diminished ♭6 without 8 (HM-7)
              • no 2, no 6
                • Minor Pentatonic
                  • add ♯4
                    • Minor Blues
          • ♭9
            • Mixolydian ♭9 ♭13 (HM-5)
  • no 4, no 7
    • Major Pentatonic
      • add ♯2
        • Major Blues