For the past several months we’ve been showing you the five Major Scales and the seven modes that pair along with them. Last week we expanded on Major Pattern #1, and how adjusting its tonic (root) notes can make it the final of seven modes, called Locrian! This week we’re taking a look at some Locrian sounds, which are often described as tense, dissonant, unfinished, or unstable.

In this mode, the “character” note that makes it pop is the fifth note in the scale, or the flat fifth (b5th). Every other mode of the major scale has a perfect fifth, but Locrian has a “diminished” fifth which leads to the strange sound of Locrian! By leaning heavily on it and its root note you can really bring out the sound of the mode.

Take a look at the riff below, which is using Locrian in the key of G#, by the first note in the scale starting on the fourth fret, low E string. This riff heavily focuses on the relationship between the root note and the “character note” to emphasize the sound of the mode. 

Check below for a groovy backing track to try this out on!

Was this helpful to you? How do you feel about Locrian? If you want to learn more, we are currently offering online video conference lessons!

We hope you enjoyed our series on the Major Scales and Modes! We’ll see you next week for the first installment of our Blues Scale series!

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