Phrygian Mode Song

Category : Blog, Video

“Space Oddity” by David Bowie may have a Phrygian Mode intro. The chord changes are Fmaj7 to Em. Play C major scale over it. I hear the Em as the root.

Phrygian Mode is created when the third degree of a major scale is functioning as the root. I had a hard time finding true Phrygian Mode song examples for my book, Fretboard Theory. This may be as good as an example as I’ll find.

UPDATE!: Since writing this post I have come across more Phrygian mode songs. The following songs are either based entirely in Phrygian mode or at least feature a Phrygian mode section at some point (like the beginning).

“War” by Joe Satriani
E5-F5. E Phrygian.
iii-IV in C, or if you renumber: i-bII in E minor. (guitars tuned down one half-step to Eb)

“Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeath
E5-F5. E Phrygian.
iii-IV in C, or if you renumber: i-bII in E minor.

“Remember Tomorrow” by Iron Maiden
E5-F5. E Phrygian.
iii-IV in C, or if you renumber: i-bII in E minor.

“The Sails Of Charon” by Scorpions B5-C5.
B Phrygian.
iii-IV in G, or if you renumber: i-bII in B minor.

To learn more about guitar modes see my book, Fretboard Theory, and my DVD Guitar Modes – The Modal Scales of Popular Music. Also, see Fretboard Theory Volume II, which includes the song examples listed above.

 

 

 

 

 

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
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Comments (3)

Love the song and was hoping to find Phrygian Mode here. I wish I could agree – I just hear the dominating C pitch too strongly. Maybe that’s just me.

About 18 months ago, I swear there was a popular song on the radio that ended with a descending Phrygian scale, but I never could find it again after I began looking for it in earnest.

The C pitch doesn’t start until the vocal comes in. Before that, at the very beginning when the song first fades in, you only hear the chords Fmaj7 and Em. If that part were to resolve, I hear it resolving on Em.

“About 18 months ago, I swear there was a popular song on the radio that ended with a descending Phrygian scale, but I never could find it again after I began looking for it in earnest.”

I bealive that would be love etc by pet shop boys. Hope you will se this comment 2 yrs later :D

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