The Phrygian Mode | Guitar Lesson With Diagrams and Theory

What is The Phrygian Mode?

The Phrygian mode is the third mode of the major scale. It is one of the three minor modes of the major scale. The Phrygian mode is a minor type scale spelled 1 - b2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7. It can be played over minor chords however it is rarely used because of its b2 scale tone.

E Phrygian mode E F G A B C D
Formula 1 b2 (b9) b3 4(11) 5 b6 (b13) b7
Intervals H W W W H W W

(W = whole step ; H = half step)

The Phrygian mode can be used in your guitar improvisations over the following chords :

min, min7, min7b9, 7sus4​, mb6

Phrygian Guitar Diagrams

Phrygian Mode One Octave Shapes

You will find on the right four shapes to play the Phrygian mode on guitar. Each diagram represent the Phrygian scale within one octave. The root R, represented by the orange circle, gives its name to the scale.

Meaning that if you use the first shape starting with the lowest note (on the E string), and put your first finger on the sixth string at the third fret, you'll get a G Phrygian scale.

Phrygian Mode and Minor triad Chord - Audio file

Phrygian mode one octave shapes

Phrygian Mode Two Octaves Shapes

These two other shapes show you how to play the Phrygian scale within the space of two octaves (and a little bit more).

To hear and perceive correctly the sound of the Phrygian mode, it is recommended to play these patterns starting with the "root".

Once you have learned these these shapes, try to play them in twelve keys by moving the root to the desired tonality while still preserving the intervals.

Phrygian mode two octave shapes 1

The Phrygian mode in twelve keys

 

A Phrygian Mode A,Bb,C,D,E,F,G
Bb Phrygian Mode Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G, Ab
B Phrygian Mode B,C,D,E,F#,G,A
C Phrygian Mode C,Db,Eb,F,G,Ab,Bb
Db Phrygian Mode Db,Eb,F,Gb,Ab,Bb,Cb
D Phrygian Mode D,Eb,F,G,A,Bb,C
Eb Phrygian Mode Eb,Fb,Gb,Ab,Bb,Cb,Db
E Phrygian Mode E,F,G,A,B,C,D
F Phrygian Mode F,Gb,Ab,Bb,C,Db,Eb
F# Phrygian Mode F#,G,A,B,C#,D,E
G Phrygian Mode G,Ab,Bb,C,D,Eb,F
Ab Phrygian Mode Ab,Bb,Cb,Db,Eb,Fb,Gb

 

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Last edited: 01/03/2019