The Empowered Musician The Infinite Guitar
The Modes of the Melodic Minor Scale - The Dorian b2 Mode

Published May 14th, 2003. © Chris Juergensen/chrisjuergensen.com. All Rights Reserved.

This lesson has been revised and published in THE INFINITE GUITAR. Info >>>


The Dorian b2 Scale -This is a super exotic sounding mode of the melodic minor scale. Even though the name of this mode is the dorian b2 mode, it generally does not replace the dorian mode. It is used as a replacement for the phrygian mode. Although it is technically a minor family scale, just like its cousin the phrygian mode, it works best over a b9sus chord.

Melodic minor scale patterns:
Pattern 1
Pattern 2
Pattern 3
Pattern 4
Pattern 5

Review time. These are all the modes of the melodic minor scale. This lesson will deal with the third mode, the lydian augmented mode.
1. Melodic Minor
2. Dorian b2 mode
3. Lydian Augmented mode
4. Lydian Dominant mode
5. Mixolydian b6 mode
6. Locrian #2 mode
7. Altered mode (sometimes called the Super Locrian mode)
Examine the chart below. By checking the very bottom column of the chart you can find out what chord the mode works for. Ex. the G dorian b2 mode is the same as the F melodic minor scale and technically works over an Gmin7 chord. The truth though, is that this mode works better over a b9sus chord.
 
melodic minor
dorian b2
lydian augmented
lydian dominant
mixolydian b6
locrian #2
altered
Bb
C
Db
Eb
F
G
A
F
G
Ab
Bb
C
D
E
C
D
Eb
F
G
A
B
G
A
Bb
C
D
E
F#
D
E
F
G
A
B
C#
min/maj7
min7
maj7#5
7
7
min7b5
altered 7

The dorian b2 mode
The name tells you exactly what it is; a dorian scale with a lowered 2nd. You can also think of this mode as a Phrygian with a major or raised 6th. Unlike the Phrygian mode, the dorian b2 mode contains a major 6th so you can construct a 13(b9sus) chord from it.
 
Chords from the dorian b2 mode: b9sus, 7(b9sus), 13(b9sus).
 
Compare the mixolydian and Phrygian scale to the dorian b2 scale below and check out the differences.
 
G mixolydian
G Phrygian
G dorian b2
 
This mode of the melodic minor scale is perfect for a 13(b9sus) or (b9sus) chord but can also be used over a minor chord that does not contain a 9th. The rule to remember: dorian b2 = melodic minor scale down a major 2nd.
Test time. Get out your pencil and paper and then check your answers down at the bottom.
 
Test
1. G dorian b2 = ? mm 6. F# dorian b2 = ? mm
2. A dorian b2 = ? mm 7. B dorian b2 = ? mm
3. E dorian b2 = ? mm 8. D dorian b2 = ? mm
4. F dorian b2 = ? mm 9. Bb dorian b2 = ? mm
5. C dorian b2 = ? mm 10. D# dorian b2 = ? mm
 
First get used to the sound of the dorian b2 mode by playing over a static G(b9sus) or G13(b9sus) chord using a F melodic minor scale. When you're ready, go on and try improvising over the following chord progression. Use a G dorian b2 scale (F melodic minor) over the G (b9sus)chord, a C dorian scale (Bb major) over the Cmin9 chord and a A dorian scale (G major) over the Amin11 chord. Feel free to replace the G(b9sus) with a G13(b9sus) chord.
or

I'll end the melodic minor modes with the dorian b2 mode. There is still one more mode, the mixolydian b6 mode but it is seldom used and not worth dedicating a whole lesson to. Feel free to experiment with it, you may have more success with it than I have.

Test Answers
1. F mm 6. E mm
2. G mm 7. A mm
3. D mm 8. C mm
4. Eb mm 9. Abmm
5. Bb mm 10. C# mm
Have a question or a suggestion for a lesson, e-mail chris.
Click here to get an e-mail everytime a new lesson is posted.
If this lesson was just what you were looking for, consider making a donation. Only through your support are they made possible.
 
1

Rather than a donation, help support these free lessons by buying one of Chris' CDs, you'll be happy you did!

Information on the 266 page "THE INFINITE GUITAR" based on these lessons.
Information on the newly published, 224 page THE INFINITE GUITAR COMPANION VOLUME 1 based on these lessons.
Information on the "THE EMPOWERED MUSICIAN" based on these articles.