chord symbols and church modes

Is it or will it be possible to have chord symbols which represent church modes e.g. D lydian, Ab phrygian etc.?
I know I can write just the chord root and use “Shift+X” to write the mode as simple text but then these chord symbols (scales) won’t transpose and will not move when the chord root moves horizontally or vertically.


Good catch. I’d second the motion for modes to be understood semantically — though this might be tricky if you want to recognize the terms in multiple languages… Often one is required to just state the mode, instead of suggesting it through the chord. As for transposing, I don’t quite agree: transposing should affect the root.

Yes, of course! That is why I would like to do the church modes with the chord symbol tool.

My apologies: my first readthrough led me to believe that you wanted the transpose tool to transpose the quality as well, hence my comment.

In the meantime, this is easy enough to fake.

I’m intrigued how this would be used.

  • Would D mixolydian be used to indicate a chord or to suggest what notes might be improvised over a D minor chord?
  • Would these modal chord suffixes be used primarily for analysis?
  • How would you expect suffixes to change when the chord root is transposed? How would that be used?

I hope to learn something here.

Yes, it would be used to give e.g. the soloist a scale he or she could improvise over. The root is indicated together with the name of the church mode instead of a complex chord symbol, e.g. E dorian instead of Em7(add11). Hence there are no suffixes that have to be transposed, just the root. This is often used in modal (jazz) music.

D myxolydian would be used primarily by jazz players to suggest the scale to use for improvising with.
For jazz players, modes would be used primarily as guidance when improvising. They might be used to annotate a complex chord sequence.
On transposition, you’d have to decide what you want! You can transpose while keeping the scale the same, so c Ionian, d Dorian, e Phrygian etc, or you can transpose while keeping the mode the same, so d Dorian, e Dorian, f Dorian etc.

This might be fun to have!


Modes are one example of scales often specified in chord symbols in jazz music.

Others I’ve played are “C alt.” (altered scale), “C whole tone”, “C oct.” (octatonic) and “C pent.” (pentatonic).

Thank you for the information. It’s kind of funny that the modes used for jazz improv are still called church modes because of their origin. :mrgreen:

I’m very happy that you’ve implemented a native mode feature! I use it a lot, and it works really well. If you ever return to the subject, I hope you can consider two things:

  1. I’ve gotten feedback from a few musicians with problems deciphering "Bb W.T. " (this may be a language thing). An option to show the non-abbreviated form would make it more clear IMHO.

  2. In addition to the existing options, I’d love to see Pentatonic (maybe even blues). This would be very useful for teaching material, but also for aleatoric music.