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The Dorian scale can be considered a minor scale as its home chord is a minor triad. 

The intervals in this scale after the Tonic note are Major 2nd, Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th and Minor 7th.

The Swars are Sa, Re, ga, ma, Pa, Dha, ni– all Swars Shuddh except komal ga

and ni.

In a song based on A Dorian scale, you would commonly find the chords Am, C, D, Em, G. Other chords you can play based on each of the notes would be Bm, F#dim. Songs based on Raag Kafi also use same notes!

This scale is also called the Dorian Mode or the 2nd mode of the Diatonic Scale, as it has the same interval spacing as the standard major scale, but uses the 2nd note of the major scale as its Tonic note.  For instance, the Dorian scale (D, E, F, G, A, B, C) is also the 2ndmode of the C Major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B). In other words, songs based on both scales will have the same chords, but the home chord will be different. 

The Dorian Mode is similar to the Aeolian Mode (Natural Minor) except for 6th interval being Major, or in other words the Dha note is Shuddh instead of Komal. This is why you can have a major triad built on the ma note. So, in the above example of A Dorian, you can play a D Major chord (D, F#, A) instead of a D Minor chord (D, F, A) which is common to find in a D Natural Minor scale 

 

Another interesting chord is commonly used in songs using this scale, a Minor 6th chord built on the tonic note. So, in the above example, you can use an Am6 chord (A, C, E, F# or Sa, ga, Pa, Dha), especially when you land on the Shuddh Dha. Try playing both D and Am6 chords and you will find them both sounding nice but each producing a different feel. 

 

Another thing to remember is that this scale is different from the Aeolian scale, which is also known as the Aeolian Mode of the Diatonic Scale or more commonly the Natural Minor Scale. The A Aeolian scale will have the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G and its home chord will be Am. The A Aeolian Dominant scale will have the notes A, B, C#, D, E, F, G and its home chord will be A

 

Here’s a fretboard diagram showing the notes in an A Dorian scale. 
 

Read "Khaas Baat" handbook for more!

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