Fundamentals of
SCALES AND KEY SIGNATURES

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8. IDPLMAL.

a. An easy way to remember modal scales is to use a mnemonic IDPLMAL, which stands for I Don’t Punch Like Muhammad ALi. Each letter stands for a modal scale: I for Ionian, D for Dorian, P for Phrygian, L for Lydian, M for Mixolydian, A for Aeolian and L for Locrian.

b. By assigning the numbers from 1 to 7 for each letter of IDPLMAL, you can determine the scale degree of a major scale a modal scale starts on and then build a model for that modal scale (Figure 4-23).

MODAL SCALE SCALE DEGREE
Ionian 1
Dorian 2
Phrygian 3
Lydian 4
Mixolydian 5
Aeolian 6
Locrian 7

Figure 4-23: IDPLMAL.

c. Another way to remember modal scales is to relate them to a major scale and how each scale degree is altered. (Figure 4-24).


Figure 4-24: Comparison of Modal Scale Degrees to Major Scale Degrees.

 


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Last Updated: March 31, 2012