The Dorian #4 Mode - Guitar Diagrams and Theory

What's the Dorian #4 Mode ?

The Dorian #4 mode also known as Dorian #11 or Romanian scale or Romanian minor scale is the fourth mode of the harmonic minor scale. 

The Dorian # 11 scale provides a minor third interval, (1-1/2 step), the main feature of all the modes of the harmonic minor family. The formula is : 1 - 2 - b3 - #4 (#11) - 5 - 6 (13) - b7.

D Dorian #4 mode D E F G# A B C
Formula 1 2 (9) b3 #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) b7
Intervals W H W+H H W H W

 

Like all the Dorian modes it is a minor type scale. It can be considered as a Dorian mode with the fourth sharped (#4). It is a very interesting alternative to the classic Dorian mode when you want to add spice to your improvisations over minor chords.

Comparison Between Dorian modes 

There are quite a few Dorian modes, derived from other scales as the major scale, the melodic minor scale, the bebop scale. Here is a reminder of the four main Dorian modes used in jazz music. 

The first is derived from the major scale, it is surely the most used when you want to play over a minor chord type, the formula is 1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7. The second is the Dorian b9 mode, this is the second mode of the melodic minor scale, the formula is 1 - b2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7.

The last one is from the bebop scale, it has 8 notes like all the bebop scales, its name is the Dorian bebop scale and the formula is 1-2-b3-3-4-5-6-b7. In comparison with the Dorian mode, it has an additional note, a major third (3),  between the minor third (b3) and the fourth (4).
 

Dorian #11 1 2 (9) b3 X #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) b7
Dorian  1 2 (9) b3 X 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
Dorian b9 1 b2 (b9) b3 X 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
Dorian bebop 1 2 b3 3 4 5 6 b7
Comparison between dorian scales on guitar

Dorian Augmented Fourth Guitar Positions

The following diagrams show you how to play the Dorian #4 scale on guitar. 

The four first diagrams are one-octave shapes with the tonic on different strings. This is the simplest way to play and hear the Dorian augmented fourth scale.
 

Dorian augmented eleventh guitar scale 1

These two other diagrams show how to play the Dorian #11 scale spanning two octaves.

The first position have tonics on the 6th, 4th and 1st string. The second one have tonics on the 5th; 3rd and 1st string.

Don't forget to play these shapes in all twelve keys, ascending and descending.

Dorian augmented fourth guitar 1

This last diagram represent the seven positions of the Dorian #4 scale. This way you will learn how to play it all over the guitar neck, starting on each degree of the scale.

 

Dorian 4 guitar shapes 1
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Last edited: 2021-05-17

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