Chords and scales share a very intimate relationship. This relationship is known as Chord Scale Theory . All chords imply a scale, or in some cases multiple scales and these scales are used extensively for jazz improvisation.
A mode is essentially a scale with an exotic name. We have learnt previously that every major scale has a relative minor scale which contains the exact same notes, but starts and ends on the 6th note of the major scale.
Well in fact, we get a new scale by starting and ending on each of the 7 notes of the major scales. Each of these different starting points creates a ‘mode’ of the major scale and each has its own unique sound. Furthermore, the 7 modes play a fundamental role in jazz improvisation.
The first step in understanding modal theory is to learn and memorise the modes of the major scale. The next step is to learn the melodic minor modes. The key to learning modal theory efficiently and effectively is to memorise the formulas in terms of scale degrees.
Finally we explore pentatonic scale improvisation, also known as the ‘West Coast’ sound.