Understanding Modes

I am just starting to learn modes on bass. I watched some videos but what I don’t understand is when playing the different modes it appears that all you are doing is playing the major scale of the root note in the mode (if that makes any sense) . In other words isn’t the “D” Dorian Mode is just the D major scale and so on and so for the other root notes when playing modes. I hope someone can decipher what I am trying to say. If what I am saying is so then why don’t teachers just say that?

Hey @hogank,

Check this thread: Talking About Modes


Thanks a lot!

But to answer you, without confusing you more than needed, no. the D dorian mode, is essentially the C major scale (ionian) but starting on the 2nd degree.

Here are some pics to illustrate it

As you can see, we go from a WWHWWWH pattern to a WHWWWHW pattern. In bold, for illustration, it’s the initial root on the major scale.
And this is true for the remaining modes. Meaning, the 3rd mode (Phrygian) will be HWWWHWW

Here a C Dorian for reference

But read the thread I linked as it’s rich in information. I remember a very good post from @Gio on “why do we need modes”.

Edit: The post from Gio is actually on a thread linked inside that thread.