Last week we expanded on C Major pattern #3, and how it being played with the tonic (root) note starting at the first note of the scale makes it a mode called Phrygian. This week we’re taking a look at some Phrygian sounds, which can be thought of as sounding Spanish, Desert-like, or having the romantic type feel of a tango. Phrygian is also fantastic for heavy metal, which we focused on in last week’s lesson. 

In this mode, the “character” note that makes it pop is the second note in the scale, which in this case is the “flat second” and the actual note is B flat. By leaning heavily on it and the root note you can really bring out the sound of the mode. 

Take a look this riff, which is using Phrygian in the key of A, by starting the scale on the fifth fret, low E string. The riff is heavily using the “character note”. Here’s a great desert-sounding backing track for you to try the riff overtop of!

Was this helpful to you? Do you have any famous Phrygian riffs that you’re fond of?

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