How To Use The Phrygian Mode | Beginner Guitar HQ (2023)

At BeginnerGuitarHQ, it’s our mission to teach you how to play the guitar as well as possible. One of the most important parts of a guitarists toolbox is the humble scale. You’ve probably become rather used to standard major and minor scales, but were you aware of the basically endless possibilities modes afford you? They can change the tone, style and feel of your playing with just one unexpected note.

In this important guide, I’ll be explaining how you can use the Phrygian mode within your guitar playing.

If you’re on the lookout for a way to spice up your melodies, chords and improvisation look no further than this useful guide.

First Things First

What Is A Mode?

The most important first thing to be aware of when approaching the Phrygian mode, is what a mode actually is. Technically, the term ‘key’ only applies to diatonic music. As such, you can have your major and minor keys and be diatonic to them (that is, stay within them when playing), but you can’t really use the term diatonic to refer to a mode. A mode is, to all intents and purposes, however, basically the same as a key. You’d very rarely see the notes of the mode written out in a key signature, but they’re basically the same thing, just with more possibilities.

There Are A Lot Of Modes

Today, we’re looking at the Phrygian mode (which we’ll get to in a moment) but there are hundreds more modes in existence. One way to look at modes is to imagine a piano. The white notes from C-C make a simple C major scale. Move up to D, and if you simply go from D-D without hitting a black note, you’ll be playing the Dorian mode. The same with E, F, G, A and B. Now remember that there is a minor scale equivalent (so the equivalent of having the same approach, but with the C minor scale as your basis), and a harmonic minor scale equivalent, and melodic minor, and all of the modes, and all of their variants. It basically goes on forever, but you don’t need to worry about that. For now, you just need to worry about the Phrygian mode.

And What Is The Phrygian Mode?

The Phrygian mode is, in its purest form, the white notes from E-E. This means that an E Phrygian scale is E, F, G, A, B, C, D. Obviously, this is the enharmonic equivalent of C major, so the notes are exactly the same; it’s the way you use the scale that changes things.

The most important notes in the E Phrygian scale are:

  • E. The tonic/root note. You’ll know if you’re in E Phrygian if you only play white notes but the music sounds ‘final’ when you land on an E.
  • F. This is the semitone opening which gives the scale its very strange, distinctive sound (which many say sound ‘Egyptian’.)
  • G. This note gives the scale its minor implication. As you have the minor 3rd of the minor scale, this means the tonic chord is E minor.
  • D. This is the 7th. This furthers the idea that this is a very minor scale in quality, as it doesn’t have the raised 7th.

So remember: E, F, G, A, B, C, D.

How To Use The Phrygian Mode | Beginner Guitar HQ (1)

E Phrygian Mode

Transposing The Phrygian Mode

Moving The Phrygian Mode To C

(Video) Angry evil metal guitar riff(Phrygian mode)

While looking at the Phrygian mode in its most simple formulation gives us the simplicity of the E, F, G, A, B, C, D, scale mentioned above, it isn’t as though the Phrygian mode can’t be moved to every single other note.

We can start with the C Phrygian mode, which brings the E Phrygian down by a minor third. This means the C Phrygian is made up of the notes C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb. The tonic is C, and that all important opening semitone comes on the Db. We’ll now focus the rest of this guide around the C Phrygian mode for simplicity, but remember that it can be moved to any note you need via transposition.

How To Use The Phrygian Mode | Beginner Guitar HQ (2)

C Phrygian Mode

Moving The Phrygian Mode To Every Other Note

The easiest (but longest) way to do this is to simply look at the notes, and move every single one of them up by the amount necessary to reach the new tonic. For example, if you’re starting on C and want to play the Eb Phrygian, then you need to move every note up by a minor 3rd. Take the Db and move to an Fb, the Eb to a Gb, the G to a Bb. Keep going until you’re in the new correct place.

The second way, which is quicker but a little more complex, is the preferred method which will benefit your theoretical understanding of the mode as well as your use of it. You’ll need to remember the interval pattern of the Phrygian mode:

Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone

Now you can use this anywhere you want. To create the A Phrygian scale, for example, start with that movement of a semitone that takes you from A to Bb. Then move by four full tones through the notes C, D and E. You can then move by a semitone once again to reach the F, before jumping by another two tones: G and A. That’s it.

Apply this same logic to any note you may need to use, and you have a basic understanding of how to form the Phrygian mode anywhere you want, and can start to use it in melodies.

Using The Phrygian Mode In Melody

The Phrygian mode gives you a lot of melodic freedom. Most of the scale is simply built from a minor scale that you’re probably very much used to using anyway, but every now and again, you can sneak in that incredibly distinctive minor 2nd interval and remind your audience that this isn’t your everyday minor scale. We’ve put together a list of things to do (if they sound good) when playing melodies in the Phrygian mode, and a few things you probably want to avoid.

Avoid: Making The b2 Sound Accidental

You’re probably familiar with that famous quote about wrong notes: “There are no wrong notes. It’s what you play after that determines if the note is right or wrong”. In a way, a genius guitarist could hit a wrong note and work his way around it to make it sound right in context. That much is true. However, no matter how much you’re able to rectify a slip up after you’ve made it, it isn’t always going to work. Unless you’re performing the most avant-garde, atonal piece of free jazz in the world, then at some point, your ‘wrong’ note will remain exactly that.

In the Phrygian mode, this is even more likely to crop into your playing as the minor 2nd right at the start is such an unexpected interval. You might feel like you’re still in the Phrygian mode, but a sudden jump from Eb to Db might not sound right, no matter what the context. If you can’t picture how it’ll sound in effect, then you might want to avoid risking it.

If you do end up hitting that b2 and making it sound like an accidental wrong note, then there are a few things you can do. If you’re quick enough to realise it as soon as you land on it, then all you’ll need to do is slide down to the tonic. If you play a Db and it doesn’t sound right, then simply slide down by a semitone and the likelihood is the tonic (as long as you haven’t modulated) will sound alright. Alternatively, if you can’t get away quick enough, then a bend up to the major 2nd instead will probably fix the issue. This is very much context dependent and might not end up helping you out at all, but more often than not, one of those fixes will help you out.

(Video) Spanish Guitar Scale - Phrygian Mode

Do: Emphasise The b2 (If It Sounds Right)

Each mode has its own distinctive tone and sound, and that is almost always caused by the unique intervals that separate it from a standard major or minor scale. In the case of the Phrygian mode, this is the b2. If you play your tonic, then skip up to the minor 3rd, then 4th and 5th etc., then you can say you’re playing the Phrygian all you want, but you aren’t. The note that gives this mode its flavour is the minor 2nd.

I’m not saying that you should go out of your way to include a minor 2nd interval if it sounds wrong, but if you want to establish the tone of the Phrygian mode specifically, then this is what you should be doing. Moving from the tonic up to the b2 is a sure-fire way to make it very clear what sort of tone you’re aiming for. Similarly, descending from the dominant note down to the b2 creates a jarring tritone interval that could have particular power when you’re trying to give off the dark, creepy vibe that often goes hand in hand with the Phrygian mode.

How To Use The Phrygian Mode | Beginner Guitar HQ (3)

Emphasising the bII in melody

Do: Use That Whole Tone Run

The second most important part of the Phrygian’s distinctive sound is the whole tone run of four notes that the b2 creates. By flattening the second note in the scale a run of notes (which in C Phrygian would be Db-Eb-F-G), you get the first four notes of a whole tone scale. We’ve looked at the creation of whole tone runs in modes in our guide to the use of the Lydian mode, but its appearance here is arguably even more interesting.

Firstly, its sound is one of the most recognisable in music. The whole tone sound gives off a natural, unresolving dissonance/consonance which often appears in film scores to represent dreams. In your use of the Phrygian mode, it’s likely that you’re going to be going for darkness, and the airy sound of this whole tone run complements that perfectly. The even more unique thing about the presence of this whole tone run here is that, in its descending form, it effectively does resolve onto the tonic by a semitone. Coming down from the G, F, Eb, Db is not only a unique, jazzy and interesting sound, but it feels very final when reaching the C afterward.

How To Use The Phrygian Mode | Beginner Guitar HQ (4)
Using the whole tone run in melody

Do: Play On The Mode’s Darkness

Speaking of the ‘purpose’ of this mode, it is one of the darkest modes on offer, and as such, you should be getting its full dark potential. It takes the already dark minor scale and adds an extra flat at a vital point, so using this mode to create a bouncy, uplifting track is always going to be difficult. If you can (and want to) then go for it, but I’d say that you should be trying to make the most of its dark sound.

The easiest way to do this is embrace its chromaticism. As mentioned, your move from II to V is a tritone, which isn’t normally present in the scale. As such, you can use this to create a distinctly jarring melodic contour, which can be strengthened by using the semitone between the tonic and the b2 as well.

You can also, of course, put the scale directly against its accompaniment. If you’ve got a relatively consonant accompaniment, then using the tritone intervals and semitones to your advantage will give a dissonant sound (especially if you place the b2 above a tonic chord), though maybe that is left for the upcoming section on harmony…

Do: Try Using It In Improvisation

The Phrygian mode might seem like a complex theoretical and compositional tool, but it doesn’t always have to be. Once you realise that the standard Phrygian mode is simply a minor scale with the second note flattened, you can work it into your soloing and improvisation with ease.

Of course, the scale lends itself well to metal and hip-hop music, but it doesn’t have to be limited to that by any means. You could start off by working your way to full use: in a bluesy rock track, you might ‘borrow’ the distinctive b2 as a passing note, rather than a full and frequent part of your melody. This means you’d play it and quickly resolve either up or down to a different note. After you’re used to using it in this context, you might want to promote yourself to using it as a longer, held suspended note, and then you might feel comfortable to work it into your melodies fully.

(Video) E Phrygian mode Guitar Backing Track | Heavy Metal Industrial (Rammstein style...)

Avoid: Remaining Phrygian For No Reason

One of the key things to remember when using modes is that no one is forcing you to. There is no reason you absolutely must stay in the Phrygian mode if it doesn’t sound right, or it isn’t where you want your music to go. If you’re improvising over a chord sequence that uses the Phrygian mode throughout but you think a D natural would sound better in place of a Db at one point in the melody, then you don’t need to play the Db.

The Phrygian mode is there to give your music effect and you can draw on it when you’re looking for a distinctive sound because a lot of the time, it’ll be able to enhance what you’re trying to play. Just remember that this isn’t always going to be the case.

Using The Phrygian Mode In Harmony

Once you’ve figured out how to make the most of the Phrygian mode in your melodies, you can start working it into your harmonic patterns. Chances are that if you’ve been using it melodically, then you’ve already been playing over some very distinctive sounding Phrygian chord sequences. Here are a couple of things to avoid harmonically, and a few elements that might enhance your use of the mode.

Avoid: Accidental Modulation

This is an issue that can have an impact on all modes. As we saw at the start of this guide, the Phrygian mode on E is simply the white notes on a piano from E to E. Any piano player will be aware that these are the same notes as the C major (and A natural minor) scale. This shows the importance of the order in which and the way in which you play certain pieces and, in particular, the way you construct chord sequences.

If you’re playing in the C Phrygian, the notes you are dealing with are the exact same notes as those found in the standard F minor scale, so you’ll need to be careful not to accidentally modulate to this key. If you play the C minor chord, this is the tonic of your Phrygian mode scale. However, it doubles as the dominant of F minor. As such, it might end up sounding more natural for you to continue down to the F minor chord and resolve there, which could really throw off other members of your band in a live setting.

Do: Use Chord bII (and bIImaj7)

Much like my above suggestion that you use the b2 in melodies to make it clear what mode you’re using, the same can be said in harmonic sequences. The most distinctive chord in the mode is the bII. Moving from chord I straight up by a semitone to the bII is probably clearest way to confirm your use of the mode to the listener.

In a slightly more jazzy setting (which is as good a way to use the mode as a dramatic film score), you can use the bIImaj7b chord to the same effect. If looking for a slightly more advanced use of harmony, then you can use this chord as part of a Neapolitan cadence in place of the dominant chord, but that’s a story for another day.

How To Use The Phrygian Mode | Beginner Guitar HQ (5)
Using chord bII in harmony

Do: Borrow Phrygian Chords

One of, if not the, best things about the use of modes is the ability to borrow from them. This does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Borrowing from a mode is simply the act of taking a chord that would be a prominent part of a different mode and temporarily using it within a chord sequence that isn’t in the same mode.

With the Phrygian mode, for example, the most interesting chord you can borrow is the bII we discussed above. A smooth movement from a Cmaj7 (a key chord in C major that doesn’t at all fit in C Phrygian) up to a Dbmaj7 is a classic sound in jazz which doesn’t mean you’ve modulated or changed tonal centre; you’ve just ‘borrowed’ from the Phrygian mode.

Do: Employ New Dissonances

(Video) Metronome practice @180 Phrygian

That one change of note opens your music up to a whole new realm of potential chromaticism and dissonance in your harmonic writing. Staring you in the face is the obvious chord we’ve been mentioning throughout this guide: Dbmaj7. However, it is the way that Db can be used elsewhere that is more interesting.

For example, this mode doesn’t have a standard dominant chord. The chord V will always (as long as you stick to the mode) be diminished thanks to the Db. Furthermore, if you’re a fan of 9th chords, then try using one on the C minor tonic. It won’t be a standard dominant 9th, but a very interesting (and, in a certain way, very dissonant) Cm9 chord. This is a chord with a huge versatility in the world of jazz.

Do: Raise The Seventh If You Need To

Now, taking this piece of advice will take you away from the standard Phrygian mode if you take it on board. However, remember what was said above about not forcing yourself to stay Phrygian if you don’t need to.

One of the issues with the Phrygian mode is the way the seventh in the mode is still a Bb (if you’re in C; also called a Mixolydian seventh) which makes it hard to confirm the tonic in certain contexts. If you want to make it very clear that you’re trying to resolve to the C, while still keeping the Db as an important part of your mode, then feel free to raise the seventh. This will turn the Bb into a B, and work as a leading note that will lead directly into the tonic. Then you can resolve to the C minor with clarity, even when your Db is still present. This is because the note both above and below the tonic needs to resolve to the tonic.

How To Use The Phrygian Mode | Beginner Guitar HQ (6)
Raising the seventh if needed

Avoid: Accidental Semitone Clashes

While both of my last two points have encouraged the use of semitone movement in your Phrygian harmony, you still want to be careful. That interval is arguably the most dissonant available in music, and if you start chucking a semitone clash into every chord you use, things might start taking a strange turn…

When placed carefully, a semitone can work wonders for your harmony, but just make sure to test out certain sequences before risking them in a live setting.

Examples Of The Phrygian Mode In Use

  • Prologue (From The Lord Of The Rings) – Howard Shore. The first piece of music you hear in The Lord Of The Rings actually uses the Phrygian mode. Obviously, as this prologue hints towards some of the most important themes from throughout the franchise, it doesn’t stay exclusively in the mode. However, it is still important. The reason it works so well with the visuals on the screen at this point is due to its minor tendencies being darkened even further by the presence of that minor 2nd right at the start.
  • Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun – Pink Floyd. The early work of Pink Floyd was driven forward by the strange compositions of Syd Barrett. This track, taken from their second album, is the only song in the band’s history to feature both Barrett and his replacement, David Gilmour. It is interesting to note, then, that the only time they shared a track, it was to play in a strange mode. The track begins with a very distinct riff that utilises that minor 2nd leap straight away in an E Phrygian setting, before hints towards a 12-bar blues organisation means we move up to the A Phrygian soon after.
  • Tool – Reflection. The Phrygian mode (or, at least, movement of a minor 2nd) is one of the most distinctive features of Tool’s dark sound. ‘Reflection’ shows this off in the clearest way, with its opening moments using the B Phrygian mode. This means that the semitone movement is very simply between a B and a C. Also, thanks to the band’s extended and experimental songwriting style, the track also lets us hear the Phrygian mode in passages we can assume are probably improvised.

Different Types Of The Phrygian Mode

  • Phrygian Dominant. The closest relative to the standard Phrygian mode is the Phrygian Dominant. In fact, it is the same scale, but with a major third instead of a minor third. This might sound like small change, but it has a huge impact on the sound. Firstly, it creates an augmented second between the minor 2nd and major 3rd of the scale. This intervals is associated with the harmonic minor, so hearing it out of place head is very distinctive. Furthermore, the gap between the 3rd and the 4th is now just a semitone, which the same as the gap between the first two notes. Both of these changes give the scale a decidedly ‘evil’ and suspicious sound when played. It works wonders for film music, but is rather hard to tame for pop. Finally, it means your tonic chord is major. While the Phrygian is very typically minor in tone and use, this major chord can really make your listener’s expectations change course pretty dramatically.
  • Double Harmonic Major. The Double Harmonic Major mode is centred on a similar premise to that of the Phrygian Dominant. The only difference is that, alongside the major 3rd, we also have a raised seventh. This means that, just like the harmonic minor scale, we have an augmented 2nd leap right at the end; interestingly, we also have one earlier on between the minor 2nd and major 3rd. Having two of these very unique sounding jumps within the same scale gives it a very distinctive sound. Not only can your tonic chord be major, but your dominant chord can too. This can really start to mess with the perception of darkness created by that minor 2nd interval.
  • The Flamenco Mode. Technically, this isn’t a mode in the traditional sense. The Flamenco mode isn’t a set of specific pitches that create a scale, and more a selection of chords so named for their huge prominence in Flamenco music. At their core, the root notes of each chord used follows the same pattern as the typical Phrygian mode, being defined by that opening semitone. However, you’ll want to harmonise the first chord with an unexpected major third, and the third chord, with the most expected minor version of the previously major note. Try playing a standard E major chord on guitar, then move the shape up by a semitone, and then again by a whole tone. That’s about as a standard a Flamenco pattern as one can create.


The Phrygian mode is one of the most recognizable and distinctive modes in music. It has the ability to work wonders in a dramatic, tension-filled and scary film score just as easily as it can work in a jazzy piece of improvisation.

The main things to look out for are the use of the minor 2nd interval in both melody and harmony, while remembering that you can freely borrow from the Phrygian mode even if you aren’t using it exclusively, while also remembering that you don’t have to stick to it relentlessly if it isn’t creating the sound you’re aiming for.

How To Use The Phrygian Mode | Beginner Guitar HQ (7)


What chords to use with Phrygian mode? ›

The Phrygian Mode
TRIAD Chord TypeSEVENTH Chord TypesExample in the key of A Phrygian
biii majorbiii 7 (extensions 9, 11, 13)C7
iv minoriv minor 7 (extensions 9, 11, b13)D minor 7
v minor b5V minor 7b5 (extensions b9, 11, b13)E minor 7b5
bVI majorbVI major 7 (extensions 9, 11, 13)F major 7
3 more rows

What key is Phrygian mode in? ›

The Phrygian mode is the 3rd mode in all Major Keys. In the key of C major, the E Phrygian mode would be the 3rd mode and played E to E. We also learned the Dorian mode, which is played from D to D in C major. D is the second note of the key of C and is a minor mode.

What songs use Phrygian mode? ›

Popular Songs in Varied Tonalities
“DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love” by UsherAeolian
“Express Yourself” by MadonnaMixolydian
“Born This Way” by Lady GagaMixolydian
“Royals” by LordeMixolydian
“Gin and Juice” by Snoop DoggPhrygian
31 more rows

When would you use the Phrygian mode? ›

E Phrygian can be used when the rhythm stays on an Em, or when the chords all come from the key of C but keep E as the tonic. Remember, if the progression has a chord outside the key of C, you may have to change scales in the middle of the solo to accommodate the changing harmony.

What modes did Debussy use? ›

Use of modes. Composers such as Debussy and Ravel sometimes wrote in the church modes (Phrygian, Lydian, etc. —see Scales) as an alternative to the heavily chromatic music of Richard Wagner (listen to the influential Prelude to Act I of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde).

What key is G Phrygian? ›

The notes of the G Phrygian scale are G Ab Bb C D Eb F. It's key signature has 3 flats.

What is the darkest musical mode? ›

The darkest scale is the double harmonic major scale which is just a major scale with a flat 2nd and a flat 6th. It features three half-steps in a row which form two augmented seconds. As a result, the double harmonic scale features some of the darkest modes and chords.

Is Phrygian mode major or minor? ›

In modern western music (from the 18th century onward), the Phrygian mode is related to the modern natural minor scale, also known as the Aeolian mode, but with the second scale degree lowered by a semitone, making it a minor second above the tonic, rather than a major second.

What is the Phrygian formula? ›

The Phrygian scale formula is 1–b2–b3–4–5–b6–b7. It's a major scale with the 2, 3, 6, and 7 degrees lowered by a half-step.

Is Phrygian A mode or scale? ›

The Phrygian is the third mode. It is also very similar to the modern natural minor scale. The only difference is in the second note, which is a minor second not a major. The Phrygian dominant is also known as the Spanish gypsy scale, because it resembles the scales found in flamenco music.

What pattern is Phrygian mode? ›

In order to make any major scale into a Phrygian scale all you need to do is lower the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th scale degrees one half step each. Lower the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th scale degrees of an A major scale and you would end up with an A Phrygian scale, spelled, 1A, 2Bb, 3C, 4D, 5E, 6F, 7G.

What scale sounds Egyptian? ›

The suspended pentatonic scale, also known as Egyptian scale is actually the second mode of the major pentatonic scale. The interval pattern is tonic (1) - Second (2) - Fourth (4) - Fifth (5) and minor seventh (b7). This scale is designed to be played over 7sus2 and 9sus2 chords.

What is the least used mode in music? ›

The Locrian Mode is perhaps the least used mode in today's music. This is because it has a flat fifth pitch making the first chord a diminished chord. In C Major this mode begins on B and the notes of that first chord are B, D and F.

What mode is unholy written in? ›

What the hell is Phrygian, and why is this so exciting? Well, music nerds, Phrygian is a mode, which means it's a scale that is not your average minor scale or major scale. This particular mode is a minor scale, yes, but it has a crucial note that gives it its own special dark sauce: it has a b2.

What scale does Debussy use? ›

The whole tone scale

For this piece, Debussy uses a whole tone scale : All the notes in this scale are exactly the same interval apart (ie one tone), so it is hard to feel that any note sounds stronger or more like the 'home note' than any other.

What is the difference between Phrygian and phrygian dominant? ›

Nearly identical to the Phrygian scale except for its raised third; this is called Phrygian Dominant because it shares much of its harmonic material with phrygian, but its 1-3-5-7 members form a dominant seventh chord. This scale is used liberally in flamenco music.

Did Bach use modes? ›

Bach did write some modal music - for example, the Dorian fugue. However, Bach was at the forefront of developing the diatonic system, so in most of his work, modes do not generally apply. To identify modes in general, you need to check the range of the voices and the note that the piece ends on.

What is the devil's guitar chord? ›

In music a tritone consists of two notes that are three whole steps apart, such as “C” to “F#.” Not found in either the major or minor scales, and due to its discordant sound, it has been called “the Devil's Chord.”

Is it OK to steal chord progressions? ›

While distinct Voice Leading is copyrightable, Chord Progressions (like 12 Bar Blues, ii-V-I, C-G-Am-F) are standardly used in all genres of music and do not belong to any one individual. Rhythm - In most cases, the sequence of rhythms and "groove" of a song cannot typically be copyrighted.

What chord is Clair de Lune? ›

This is one long Ab7 chord with a few little dips over to Gb.

Is Clair de Lune tonal? ›

Tonality. Without going too far with musical jargon, the tonality never feels truly secure in this piece. Tonality is when you say, “This song is in the key of C major, or D flat major,” or whatever it is. Certain chords strengthen and emphasize the tonality of a piece (like use of the tonic and dominant chords).

Did Debussy use parallel chords? ›

It is in this work that Debussy employed a new and conspicuous kind of parallel harmony chords not in root position and with major seconds attached. Nevertheless it is not the bass but the uppermost voice, as expected, that centers the tonality. }

Are Trojans Phrygian? ›

2, 862–863), and speaking two languages perceived as different (HH 5, 111–115), Phrygians and Trojans are considered interchangeable in Greek tragedy. The synonymous usage of two originally distinct ethnonyms, 'Phrygians' and 'Trojans', represents a major innovation. According to scholia A ad Il.

Is Phrygian Egyptian? ›

The Phrygians (Greek: Φρύγες, Phruges or Phryges) were an ancient Indo-European speaking people, who inhabited central-western Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) in antiquity. They were related to the Greeks.

What musical scales are evil sounding? ›

Four of the Phrygian mode's seven scale degrees—the second, third, sixth and seventh—are minor, or “flatted,” intervals, which is what gives Phrygian such a foreboding, “evil” sound, one that is perfectly suited to heavy metal music.

What are the most sad scales? ›

The minor scale is the pattern in western music typically associated with sad feelings. It includes three different variations called the natural minor scale (or Aeolian mode), the melodic minor scale and the harmonic minor scale.

What musical mode is the happiest? ›

Overall, the results are best explained by familiarity: Ionian (major mode), the most common mode in both classical and popular music, is the happiest, and happiness declines with increasing distance from Ionian.

Is harmonic minor same as Phrygian? ›

Phrygian dominant is the 5th mode of harmonic minor because its root note lies on the 5th degree of the harmonic minor scale. Play from that 5th tone, and you get the Phrygian sound, even though you're still playing through the same notes as the harmonic minor scale!

What scale degree is Phrygian mode? ›

The Phrygian Scale Formula

The Phrygian mode is just a natural minor scale with a b2 degree added. Above when you play the E Phrygian that first E-F movement is what really gives the scale its vibe.

What is C Phrygian equivalent to? ›

The same notes can be found in different Major and Phrygian scales: C Phrygian – Ab Major. C# Phrygian – A Major. D Phrygian – Bb Major.

Is Phrygian still spoken? ›

The Phrygian language (/ˈfrɪdʒiən/) was the Indo-European language of the Phrygians, spoken in Anatolia (modern Turkey), during classical antiquity (c. 8th century BC to 5th century AD).
FeaturesOld PhrygianNew Phrygian
PreservedMainly yesMainly no
8 more rows

Why are there only 7 modes? ›

In Western music, the most common modes are ones built off of the major scale. This means they follow the same interval patterns as a major scale, but they can start at any scale degree. Because there are 7 intervals in a major scale, there are 7 modes built off it. One can also build modes off of the minor scale.

What intervals are in Phrygian? ›

This is the E Phrygian mode, spelled: one (root), b2 (minor, or “flatted,” second), b3 (flatted third), 4, 5, b6 (flatted sixth), b7 (flatted seventh). As you can see, four of the seven scale degrees—b2, b3, b6 and b7—are flatted intervals.

What is the Anubis scale? ›

In Egyptian belief, Anubis measured the hearts of the dead on the Scale of Justice (similar to the one in "The Substitute"), and weighs it against the feather of Ma'at, the God of justice. This process is said to determine whether or not the person to whom the heart belongs is worthy to enter the realm of the dead.

What is the Persian scale called? ›

The Persian scale is built of seven notes containing the following intervals : 1 (tonic), b2 (minor second), 3 (major third), 4 (perfect fourth), b5 (diminished fifth), b6 (minor sixth) and major 7 (seventh). It is also referred to as Raga Lalita, a musical scale from south Indian .

Who is the scale god in Egypt? ›

One of the roles of Anubis was as the "Guardian of the Scales." The critical scene depicting the weighing of the heart, in the Book of the Dead, shows Anubis performing a measurement that determined whether the person was worthy of entering the realm of the dead (the underworld, known as Duat).

Is Phrygian a scale or mode? ›

The Phrygian is the third mode. It is also very similar to the modern natural minor scale. The only difference is in the second note, which is a minor second not a major. The Phrygian dominant is also known as the Spanish gypsy scale, because it resembles the scales found in flamenco music.

What notes are in Phrygian scale guitar? ›

In order to make any major scale into a Phrygian scale all you need to do is lower the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th scale degrees one half step each. Lower the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th scale degrees of an A major scale and you would end up with an A Phrygian scale, spelled, 1A, 2Bb, 3C, 4D, 5E, 6F, 7G.

What are the notes of Phrygian scale? ›

The notes of the G Phrygian scale are G Ab Bb C D Eb F. It's key signature has 3 flats. Press play to listen to the scale.

Is phrygian major or minor? ›

In music, the Phrygian dominant scale is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale, the fifth being the dominant. Also called the persian scale, altered Phrygian scale, dominant flat 2 flat 6 (in jazz), the Freygish scale (also spelled Fraigish), harmonic dominant, or simply the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale.

What scale does unholy use? ›

The track's melody comes from its use of the double harmonic scale.

Does Phrygian sound Egyptian? ›

If you've ever heard a piece of music that sounds a bit Egyptian, then it's likely that it was using a type of scale called the phrygian mode. It's quite an unusual scale that isn't very common but pops up in Spanish music and lots of film music.

What is the difference between Phrygian and Phrygian dominant? ›

Nearly identical to the Phrygian scale except for its raised third; this is called Phrygian Dominant because it shares much of its harmonic material with phrygian, but its 1-3-5-7 members form a dominant seventh chord. This scale is used liberally in flamenco music.

Why is it called a Phrygian half cadence? ›

A Phrygian half cadence is a half cadence iv6–V in minor, so named because the semitonal motion in the bass (sixth degree to fifth degree) resembles the half-step heard in the ii–I of the 15th-century cadence in the Phrygian mode.

Is harmonic Minor same as Phrygian? ›

Phrygian dominant is the 5th mode of harmonic minor because its root note lies on the 5th degree of the harmonic minor scale. Play from that 5th tone, and you get the Phrygian sound, even though you're still playing through the same notes as the harmonic minor scale!


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