Chord Scale Analysis of the Locrian Mode

Quite possible the least used of all modes in the major scale, the locrian mode has fallen, both understandable and unfortunately, to the wayside while other more harmonically friendly modes have risen to the top. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the locrian mode is the only mode of the major scale that takes neither a major nor a minor chord. The Locrian mode lies in the realm of the half-diminished chord, or the minor seven flat five chord. In fact, the notes in the chord are the only non-avoid notes in the scale, leaving you with precious few notes that won't make a music teacher meta-morph into a ruler wielding demon. However, for those of you looking to expand your harmonic and melodic horizons, or if you just wanna piss off the establishment, while still playing by the rules, the answer may lie in these seven notes.

Analysis of B Locrian

B (root)

C (Minor Second, flat two, Scale flat two)

D (Minor Third, flat three)

E (Perfect Fourth, scale four)

F (Diminished Fifth, flat five, Tritone)

G (Minor sixth, scale flat six)

A (Minor Seventh, flat seven)

The Other Dominant

The Locrian mode, and more importantly the minor seven flat five chord, belongs to the dominant family. As such, they can be used to make a great cadence to any tonic chord. This is also its undoing. Take a look at the avoid notes in the scale. C, E, and G, a C Major Triad. By placing any of these notes in the chord, you change the focus from the minor seven flat five to a tonic chord. You would also create a flat nine within the chord. However, flat nines actually work well within this chord, since it is fairly dissonant in of itself (more on this in a minute). While using this scale in a standard chord progression, you will get things thrown at you from Jazz-holes if you voice anything other than a minor seven flat five. Melody writing is a forgivable offense though.

So what can be done? As a modal tool, this scale has some nastily awesome dissonances, since every avoid note in the scale can be used to flat nine something. The use of chromatic pitches is also recommended, since for the most part, when using this scale to write music, you want to get as down and dirty as possible. Just remember stalwart lads and ladies, accolades await those who discover the use of dissonance, while obscurity awaits those who fly haphazardly into the night on a flying badger.