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Dorian Pentatonic scales are minor in nature and their home chord is a Minor chord. This is a subset of 5 notes taken from the full 7-note Dorian scale, and typically has the Tonic, Major 2nd, Minor 3rd, Perfect 5th and Major 6th intervals. 

The Swars are Sa, Re ga, Pa, Dha.

 

The notes in this scale are also the basis for Raag Shivranjani, a very popular Raag in Carnatic music that has been used as the basis for many Bollywood super hits.

 

Few things to keep in mind to help you with chords for songs based on this Raag. Let's assume your tonic note or Sa is the note D. The base scale is pentatonic with Sa Re ga Pa Dha notes and so in this case the notes will be D E F A B. The scale is minor in nature, and the home chord is a minor chord, in this case Dm. 

 

But the melodies frequently play around with both Komal and Shuddh Ga, and it's common to find the home chord switching between minor and major in the song. The home chord at resting point will always be a minor chord. When the melody lands on Shuddh Ga, you can a play major chord based on the tonic note. 

 

If you land on the note Dha (the note B in this case), it is very common to use the minor 6th chord based on the tonic note, so that will be a Dm6 containing the notes D, F, A, B. You can also play a G Major chord which contains the notes G, B, D. Even though G isn't technically in the scale, this allows the mood to change a bit from a minor chord to a major chord and it feels uplifting! Take the example of Jaane Kahan (link in playlist below) which is in Bbm, with the song using both Bbm6 and Eb major chords.

 

When landing on the Dha note, it is also common to find a Major triad built on the ma note in songs even though the melody may not contain a ma note. Think of this raag primarily using a pentatonic scale Sa, Re, ga, Pa, Dha) and adding in ma and ni (or Ni) when needed through harmony lines and chords. This helps make the music richer, with more chords being used. Check out my lesson for “Baharon Phool Barsao” by Shanker-Jaikishan in Abm, and you will see both Abm6 and Db chords being used. 

When it comes to the 7th interval, most songs based on this raag use Shuddh Ni while adding in a Major triad built on the Pa note. Check out my lesson for “Tere Mere Beech Mein” by Laxmikant Pyarelal in Bm. You will find a strong presence of Bm, Bm6, E and F# as well. The F# chord is a major triad built on F# which is equivalent to Pa if you take B as your Sa, and the chord has the notes F#, A#, C#, where A# is equivalent to Ni in this scale. 

Read "Khaas Baat" handbook for more!

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