Question about chord arpeggios vs modes

Hi, I’m confused about chord arpeggios (7 notes played sequentially) vs the mode that would correspond to that degree of the scale. If the key is C, would a Dmin arpeggio include the same notes as D Dorian?

Hi there,

The D Dorian mode contains the notes D to C, all natural, so they are the same notes as in the C major scale, only starting with D.

However, the arpeggio of the Dm chord contains the notes of the chord (D, F and A) only.

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It will contain 3 of the 7 notes of D Dorian but you wouldn’t think of D Dorian in tbe key of C. If the song was in the key of Dm you could play the lead in D Dorian but D minor or D minor pentatonic would be a better choose unless you are looking for a Southern Rock sound and know how to achieve it.

Hi again Jozsef, thanks for your clarification. I’ve seen videos of guitarists “playing arpeggios” in a manner that looks like they are playing scales. (here is an example I found on youtube that shows what I mean. see 24 seconds into this video Arpeggios - Things To Get Right From The Beginning - YouTube) . Watching it again, I see that this is not a mode, but he does add in scale notes in addition to the chord tones. In any case, I was curious about playing arpeggios in this way.

Hi Stitch, Well … I thought I was making good progress understanding the practical use of modes, now I’m not so sure. :thinking: My problem is it that I get too far ahead of myself trying to understand concepts that I am not skilled enough (yet) to apply. But I do really enjoy learning about all this. Thanks for your response, I’ll study it a bit

@quaveda think of the Dorian Mode as the minor pentatonic with the 6th and the 9th added. It makes it a lot easier to figure out ways to use it. You will need to already be comfortable with the minor pentatonic to use Dorian.

Thanks for the replies!

You have had some useful comment already.
I noticed this in your question…

Arpeggios are not limited to just seven notes. They tend to be taught / learned as a pattern spanning across all six strings and within a distance of three to four frets. The pattern contains as many notes as are available within those parameters, not just seven.

Diatonic scales (major and the modes of major) contain seven unique notes (more correctly termed tones or pitches). And within their scale patterns across six strings and three to four frets multiple repeats will occur but we still think of there being just seven notes.

That’s a useful video to show fragments of arpeggios blended with small chunks of scale patterns give scope to make tasteful and melodic music.

Can I direct you to check out a multi-part series of topics exploring modes?

Richard :slight_smile:


Hi Richard, thanks for the thoughtful responses! I’ll check out the link you provided.