Dorian

Before we can work on the intro lick to I’m Tore Down, we have to talk about the dorian scale. Dorian is what is called a mode (a type of scale with specific melodic behaviors). We will go more in depth on modes at a later date. For the purposes of this tune, we are going to relate the dorian scale to the minor pentatonic scale. When we turned the minor pentatonic scale into the minor blues scale, one note (the blue note) was added. In this case, you will add two notes, which will be referred to as the 2nd and the 6th (or 9th and 13th, depending on the context). The 2nd is used in the minor scale as well, so what makes dorian unique is the 6th. In minor, the 6th is lowered. The 6th maybe referred to as a modal note, because it is what establishes this scale as the dorian mode.

The scale we used for last weeks lick on I’m Tore Down contained the notes D F G (G#/Ab) A and C. To turn this scale into dorian, you will take the blue note (G#/Ab) out of the scale, and add E and B. The resulting scale is D E F G A B C. If you count up the scale, D=1, E=2, F=3, etc.

Below is an image of the minor pentatonic scale (left) and dorian (right). The notes added to the minor pentatonic scale to make it dorian are red. To play these in D, you will need the root to be on the 10th fret.

Minor Pent - Dorian

About 99% of the time it is ok to use dorian instead of the minor blues scale, it just has a different color or flavor. I personally like using dorian over the IV chord. Experiment, and have fun. Next week you’ll learn the intro lick to I’m Tore Down, which will give a great example of the dorian scale.

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