Phrygian Dominant

The Phrygian Dominant mode belongs to chord IIIx

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A Phrygian Dominant scale shapes

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The Phrygian Dominant mode is a modified Phrygian scale. It is the most common mode in popular music that isn’t directly linked to the major scale.

Even though Phrygian Dominant is a major scale, the similarity to Phrygian makes it easier to learn as if it comes from a Minor Pentatonic shape.

Phrygian Dominant is only used when Phrygian has been replaced, so this approach makes more musical sense than building it from a major scale shape.

This is what both scales look like using just the intervals. Notice how it is only the 3rd interval that differs.

Phrygian:
1
b2
m3
4
5
b6
b7
Phrygian Dominant:
1
b2
34
5
b6
b7

When practising Phrygian Dominant as a variation of Phrygian like this, you will more clearly see the connection between them.

Since the scale appears when a chord has been modified from being a normal III chord into a IIIx chord, this approach makes more sense.


Connect Phrygian Dominant scale shapes

This exercise connect the Phrygian Dominant shapes in A. When you can do this, try all other key and push that BPM!

This is much more difficult than previous modes due to the more angular layout of Phrygian Dominant. Use the video lesson to see how this is done.

When you can do it in A as the video demonstrate, try it in D, G, C, F and all other keys.

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Cycle of 4th

Your final variation takes the Phrygian Dominant mode and runs it through the cycle of 4th. This is an important step when teaching your hands the shapes of the mode.

Should you get stuck in a shape, go back and practise that shape individually.

The full exercise flows like this:

A Phrygian Dominant – E(m) shape, D Phrygian Dominant – A(m) shape, G Phrygian Dominant – D(m) shape, C Phrygian Dominant – G(m) shape, F Phrygian Dominant – C(m) shape.


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