Seems like Quora liked my answer on the phrygian characteristic last week, because I got similar request today, this time for:
The characteristic of Dorian!
Many of the answers recommended playing C major, and then using all the same notes, start the scale from D. The problem with that is you can’t really “hear” Dorian that way, because the C of the C major scale will have an overpowering functional harmony effect. “Functional” in that the C is the tonic and has a very strong pull to be perceived as the root (not D, which is crucial if you want to hear the sound of Dorian).
To really hear the sound of Dorian or any of the modes, start them all from the same root. For example, play C Ionian, then C Dorian, and so on. Or even better yet, play the modes from the brightest mode to darkest mode, something I explain in detail and practice with you in my new ear training course for bass players – Ear Confidence – Six Paths to Fearless Ears!
Watch a one-minute sample on modes
Enjoy– including listening to a Dorian song from the ’80’s… complete with hair and all!
Scroll down and click the Quora link to watch the videos:
A Quoran requested my answer to the question:
What are the characteristics of Phrygian?
A few of the other answers that beat me to it stressed the fact that Phrygian is the third mode and hence any iii chord (chord on the third scale degree) will sound Phrygian. I take issue with that answer because if you hear Phrygian in the context of functional harmony you will not hear the yummy, mysterious and dark sounds of Phrygian – rather, you will hear the sound of a iii chord in the context of an implied or actually played tonic. So you hear the functional identity of the scale or chord (not the modal one).
In order to remedy that, we have to put Phrygian into a modal context, one that is not built on the relationship to a I chord (as tonic) but rather a context that makes the root of the Phrygian scale the focal point. Would you like to hear what that sounds like?
Read my answer which contains YouTube examples. Enjoy!
Many more answers to interesting queries like this in my new Ear Training Course
Shortcut to modes
Watch my student teach you modes
Music Theory Course for Bass Players
A Quoran asked about the difference between major and minor scales…
I tried to put myself into the shoes of someone who would ask this question below. In doing so my goal was not only to answer the question but to show the beautiful symmetry of sounds and modes, and how just like putting beads (ie intervals) on a necklace you can create beautiful jewelry. Make sure to play these sounds, try them on your bass and listen. Find yourself immersed in familiar and not so familiar sounds. Which one is your favorite? Please let me know in the comments!
Here is the post on Quora:
This article contains a synopsis of my shortcut to hearing modes. Check out my online Music Theory course and learn more!