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  • rbedwell3

Mode VII: Altered v Locrian

Recently, someone commented on a post I made, saying that my mention of a b4 was the first they had ever heard of such a thing.

That got me thinking, and so I thought I would explain the fundamental difference between the Locrian and Altered modes.

Every single scale, all 66 of them (seven note scales anyway), have as their mode VII, either an Altered or a Locrian mode. Locrian is spelled: 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 and Altered is 1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 b7. As you can see, the only difference is the fourth degree of the mode.

Just some mode VII modes:

Altered: Alt bb37 (Neapolitan minor) 1 b2 bb3 b4 b5 b6 bb7

             Alt bb7 (Harmonic minor) 1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 bb7

             Alt bb367 (Locrian nat 7) 1 b2 bb3 b4 b5 bb6 bb7

             Alt bb3 (Neapolitan Major) 1 b2 bb3 b4 b5 b6 b7

Locrian: Locrian bb7 (Harmonic Major) 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 bb7

              Locrian bb367 (Persian) 1 b2 bb3 4 b5 bb6 bb7

              Locrian bb6 (Ionian b5) 1 b2 b3 4 b5 bb6 b7

So, remember the fundamental characteristics rule. The fundamental characteristic of the Altered mode family is the b4. The fundamental characteristic of the Locrian mode family is the b5.

Not only does the b4 occur in modes, it is the fundamental characteristic of a complete family.


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