Phrygian Dominant

The Phrygian Dominant mode

The home of chord IIIx

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A Phrygian Dominant scale shapes

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When to use the Phrygian Dominant mode

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, due to its similarity to Phrygian, it’s easier to learn it with a Minor Pentatonic framework.

Practicing Phrygian Dominant as a variation of Phrygian, you will more clearly see the connection. Since the scale only appears when a chord has been modified from being a normal III chord into a IIIx chord, this approach makes more sense.

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

Connect Phrygian Dominant 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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Phrygian Domianany and the 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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