How to make... Dorian mode?

Hi guys,

in term of theory I know what’s dorian mode, Lydian, etc etc

But I am really stuck in “how can I make feel this melody like Dorian mode?”…

In this case, Dorian mode, we know that the particular note are min 3rd and maj 6th.

So, my question is this, I want to compose in dorian and wanna give the dorian flavour to this track…

for instance we are in Dm Dorian
Should I play a bass line all in D and in the middle range various chords and at the top the melody line with a lot of 3rd and 6th?

Or should I play like this progression: Dm - G - Am - Am7
so the bass plays the root note, and the melody plays the 3rd and the 6th, F and B, over Dm to make this Dorian flavour and when it’s on G we can play guide tone or chord tone etc etc?

Having a “pedal bass” (where the bass sticks on D) would definitely give it a modal feel, but could get static. A lot of the old modal jazz tracks used to use riffs under their melodies - but the jazzers tend not to stick to a set mode, they use a pedal bass and alter the modes over the top to add flavour.

When you’re writing in a set mode, it’s just about changing the chords that you use and emphasising what makes the mode stand out from the “ordinary” scales - so in the case of Dorian, that’s the #6.

So, if you’re in D Dorian, the chords you can use are:
Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim, C

One thing you could try, to figure out how it works, is to take the chord sequence from a song in Dorian and loop it, play around with your melody over the top. Just to help you get the feel for it.

Here are some tracks in Dorian mode:


( actually, the melody in the intro is BOTH Dorian and Aeolian :wink: )

Have fun!

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