Use Your Words - posted on June 17, 2015 by

Messiaen Mode 3 – Applications

I thought I had posted this months ago. Regardless, here are a couple of exercises (“licks”) that I came up with that help to demonstrate some melodic possibilities of Messiaen’s Mode 3 (see previous entries for an in-depth explanation):

The following ii V I exercise (Exercise 1) begins by utilizing the D Dorian scale as a means of firmly establishing our overall C major tonal framework. Generally speaking, I often believe that it’s usually a good idea to let listeners (and at times, myself) know that I’m comfortable with adhering to a key before venturing off into supra-tonal territory. In the second measure, the root of the chord is played first, again as a means of continuing to establish a C major foundation, and also as a means of transitioning into Messiaen Mode 3. From the second note forward, triads are played in a “down-up” directional motif. These triads are of the Type 2 variety (see previous entry, Messiaen Mode 3 – Matrix & Trichords).


The following exercises are inversions of Exercise 1. The same Dorian and Mode 3 material is utilized in the same places, but the exercises begin on the third and fifth of the D Dorian scale, respectably: