Skip to content


Ionian mode is your typical major scale. If someone says they’re playing a major scale, this is probably the one they’re talking about.

  • To play a C ionian scale, just play all the white notes on a piano, starting on C.
  • To play a song in C ionian, (AKA C major), you should generally  centre around the C major chord, and pick and choose from the other chords, as determined by the red names on the circle, so: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim
  • The mode consists of notes with the following intervals: T-T-S-T-T-T-S
  • As an example, make sure that C is at the top of the circle. You can see that C has no sharps. In order to play a C ionian scale, just play a C major scale (duh!).
  • Likewise, make sure that D is at the top and you can see  that D ionian has two sharps, F# and C#.
  • Throw in a tab pattern for the scale on guitar.
  • You should be able to see from the circle that in order to play a D dorian scale, all you need to play is a C major scale, but concentrating on the D. Or to play D phrygian, all you need is to play an A# major scale, but starting on the D.