Phrygian dominant mode - Guitar shapes and formula

What's the Phrygian dominant mode ?

This lesson is about the Phrygian dominant scale, the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale. It is also referred to as Phrygian major, altered Phrygian, dominant flat 2 flat 6, Spanish Gitan, Jewish or Spanish Gipsy scale. This scale is nothing more and nothing less than a Mixolydian scale with a lowered 9th (2) and lowered 13th (6). Playing the Phrygian dominant mode over dominant 7 chords brings a b9b13 sound in your jazz lines. This is a great device to become accustomed to altered notes. The Phrygian dominant mode is spelled 1-b2-3-4-5-b6-b7. It is the Phrygian mode (the third mode of the major scale) but with a major third instead of a minor third (b3).

Phrygian dominant mode  1 b2 (b9) 3 4(11) 5 b6 (b13) b7
Intervals H W+H H W H W W


A comparison between the Phrygian scales 

As you can see in the chart below, in comparison with the Phrygian dominant scale, the Phrygian mode has a minor third (b3) and the Phrygian dominant bebop scale has an extra note (7) between the minor seventh (b7) and the root.

Phrygian Dominant 1 b2 (b9) 3 4(11) 5 b6 (b13) b7 X
Phrygian  1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 X
Phrygian dominant bebop 1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7 7


Phrygian dominant scale - Guitar diagrams

Here are two Phrygian dominant shapes to play this mode on the guitar.

Phrygian dominant mode guitar diagram 1

Phrygian dominant mode guitar diagram 3

Phrygian dominant mode - One octave shapes

Phrygian dominant mode one octave guitar shapes

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Last edited: 17/02/2018