Woodshed Wallpaper ™

Mode Map

The unique "graph" below maps the relationship between all the various modes of common scales; from the perspective of: which scales tones are modified as you go from one mode to another.

On the graph are "bubbles" for each mode. The Ionian mode is a starting point, and links extend out for any modification that leads to another mode of a represented scale. The scales that are represented are:

    • Diatonic (All 7 Modes)

    • Melodic Minor (All 7 Modes)

    • Harmonic Minor (All 7 Modes)

    • Diminished (Both Modes)

    • Whole Tone

    • Bebop (Dominant, Minor, Half-Diminished, and Major)

    • Pentatonic (Major and Minor)

    • Blues (Major and Minor)

(Abbreviations on the graph indicate the mode: "MM-1 for Melodic Minor mode 1, HM for Harmonic Minor, etc.)

The graph is also somewhat organized: Scale tone modifications span left-right on the graph: all modes are a single modification away from adjacent modes (except for some cases such as the Pentatonics, which may remove two tones from an adjacent mode). And in a general sense, modifications that are sharps move up the graph, and flats go down.

For example:

Lydian, Mixolydian, and Melodic minor are all adjacent to Ionian; and that's since each differs from Ionian by only a single modified scale tone. Lydian is connected to Ionian by a "♯4" link, representing the fact that by modifying Ionian with a ♯4 you arrive at Lydian. And since Lydian has a sharp alteration and Mixolydian has a flat, it is positioned higher on the graph.

You see the same relationships by moving further than one link: for instance, getting to Aeolian from Ionian, you can move to Mixolydian with a ♭7, then to Dorian with a ♭3, and then to Aeolian with a 6. Or, follow any other path of links: Mixolydian, to Mixolydian ♭13, to Aeolian; or Melodic Minor, to Dorian, to Aeolian. And you can reverse the paths to begin on any node, in any direction.

Notice that this graph is not "perfectly complete", strictly speaking. There are enharmonic interpretations that might lead to certain bubbles potentially being positioned differently; and it may be possible that not all relationships are represented.

Below is also included a tree outline generated by the software used to make the graph (this graph was created with CmapTools). This also gives an interesting perspective to see the relationships grouped together. It is similarly not "perfect", but it gathers together all the modes that share the same modification: in other words, under "♭7" you will find listed all modes that do contain the flatted 7.

The Graph:

Follow the link (click the image) to see the full-sized image, which is large.

The Tree Outline: