Skip to content
Clear all

Modal interchange

2 Posts
2 Users
New Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1
Topic starter  

Let's say I want do a song in E minor (heavy prog/rock/metal) with heavy and clean sections. If I have different sections in the song let's say one section in E Dorian and another in E phrygian (using the chords built from those modes) etc... Will they fit in the song since they're all E minor type scales but use some chords not in E natural minor? What if my progression has a Cm or C#m instead of a Cmaj.

Also can I take E natural minor, E Dorian, E phrygian, E harmonic minor, E melodic minor and write out all of the chords from each scale and then substitute and borrow them at will? This kind of thing has always been confusing. I haven't even mentioned the parallel major or the relative major. I like to make music on the darker side but i want to all fit together and be interesting. Any enlightenment would be appreciated.


Alan Green
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5342

E Dorian is in the key of D, so you'll want a C# in your chordal harmony at that point - A instead of Am, for example

Likewise, E Phrygian is in the key of C, so you'll want F natural instead of F# - a Bdim chord instead of Bm for example, or F instead of F#dim

Given the genre you're playing, it'll either sound great, or horrible. Let your ear decide.

If you have a section with a Cm chord, or C#m, then you need to look at what's going to work in the melody. If you play an E against the Cm chord it'll clash horribly (E against Eb). Likewise G against the C#m. To work with this kind of structure, loo at the chord tones and follow then for the melody/ solo.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: