The Dorian b2 Mode aka Phrygian #6 - Lesson with Guitar Diagrams and music theory

What's the Dorian b2 Mode ?

The Dorian b2 scale, aka Dorian b9 or Phrygian #6 is the second mode of the melodic minor scale. Like all the Dorian modes it is a minor family scale. The interval pattern is : Half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step giving the following formula : 1 - b2 (b9) - b3 - 4 (11) - 5 - 6 (13) - b7.  

The Dorian b2 scale is sometimes referred to as the Phrygian #6 scale because the formula is approximately the same as the Phrygian mode, third mode of the melodic minor scale. Indeed, the Phrygian mode contains a minor sixth (b6) whereas the Dorian b2 has a major sixth (6). You can also think of this mode as the Dorian mode with a flattened second (or flattened ninth). 

D Dorian b2 mode D Eb F G A B C
Formula 1 b2 (b9) b3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
Intervals H W W W W H W


Notice that the Dorian b2 scale is also the same as the Javanese Pelog Scale. 


How to Play the Dorian b9 Mode on Guitar

Here are some shapes providing positions (one-octave, two-octaves and 3 notes per string) to play the Dorian b9 on guitar.

Dorian flat 2 mode for guitar
Dorian b2 aka phrygian #6 mode for guitar one octave shapes
Dorian b9 scale guitar shapes

Differences With Other Dorian Modes

As it is shown in the chart below, there are several Dorian modes. It is important not to confuse them.

  • The Dorian mode is the second mode of the major scale.
  • The Dorian #11 mode is the fourth mode of the harmonic minor scale.
  • The Dorian bebop scale has eight notes. It has a passing tone between the b3 and the 4th.
Dorian b9 mode 1 b2 (b9) b3 X 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
Dorian mode 1 2 (9) b3 X 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
Dorian #11 mode 1 2 (9) b3 X #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) b7
Dorian bebop scale 1 2 b3 3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
Comparison between dorian modes for guitar

Dorian b9 Lick - II V I Progression

The Dorian b9 mode can be used over the V of a II-V-I sequence to bring a little bit of tension to your line. This way you will highlight the b9, #9 and 11 of the dominant chord. As you can see in the example the G dorian b2 scale (G-Ab-Bb-C-D-E-F) is played over G7alt.

II-V-I sequence with Dorian and Dorian b2 modes


Dorian b2 lick
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Last edited: 2023-07-04

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