The seven diatonic modes that we studied previously (click here) can be categorised between major and minor flavoured modes. Just how every major key has a related minor and vice versa, all the modes also have a related key which can be ranked from brightest to darkest. In this categorisation, we will ignore Locrian as this resembles more with the Diminished scale and almost never used independently in contemporary music. The remaining 6 are divided between major and minor flavoured modes and the following table ranks them from brightest to darkest along with their related keys.


 Related minor







Lydian is the brightest sounding major mode while Mixolydian being the darkest. Similarly Dorian is the brightest sounding of all minor modes with Phrygian being the darkest. To know more about relative major and minor, click here.

If we take the key of C as an example, then we know the related minor of C is A minor. Similarly, the related minor for C Lydian is A Dorian and for C Mixolydian it is A Phrygian. So if you write a song in C Lydian, for a smooth modulation, you should move to A Dorian and vice versa. Understanding the tonal characteristic of all these modes will allow you to use them efficiently in song writing.

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