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Songs with the "mixolydian" chord progression

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by classicrockguy, Feb 23, 2021 at 4:43 PM.

  1. classicrockguy

    classicrockguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Livingston NJ
    I'm not a musician, I think I know what this is, but the Wiki page is way too technical. What are some songs that represent this, I think it might have been big in the 1970s?

    I think that "All Right Now" is an example, correct?
  2. Ryan Lux

    Ryan Lux Forum Resident

    Toronto, ON, CA
    Mixolydian is blues. So anything that is blues influenced will make use of that scale or variations of. Just the major scale with the flat 7th.
  3. Day_Tripper2019

    Day_Tripper2019 Forum Resident

    Jerry Garcia used that scale a lot when jamming.
    Greenmonster2420 likes this.
  4. Ryan Lux

    Ryan Lux Forum Resident

    Toronto, ON, CA
    I believe you're thinking of Phrygian though I'd have to go back and analyze White Rabbit.
    O Don Piano and Atmospheric like this.
  5. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    As far as I am aware mixolydian is a mode, and there are chord progressions that are well suited for improvisation in that mode, but it is not one specific chord progression.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong please.
  6. Ryan Lux

    Ryan Lux Forum Resident

    Toronto, ON, CA
    Just realized you said chord progression and not scale, though they are interchangeable. Pete Townsend used the b7 chord a ton:

    Won't GeT Fooled Again
    My Generation
    Love ain't For Keeping
    Slip Kid

    Footloose is another off the top of my head.
  7. drad dog

    drad dog Forum Resident

    New England
    Just on a little research: Rick Beato says that I Feel Fine, She Said She Said, and Norwegian Wood are good examples of it.
  8. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Wikipedia has a list of notable music in the Mixolydian mode, which includes some very well known songs.

    Mixolydian mode - Wikipedia

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  9. Ryan Lux

    Ryan Lux Forum Resident

    Toronto, ON, CA
    Yes, there isn't one specific Mixo progression but many that use the scale.
    Rfreeman likes this.
  10. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Rose River Bear and Rfreeman like this.
  11. Ryan Lux

    Ryan Lux Forum Resident

    Toronto, ON, CA
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  12. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Yes. You had already explained that there wasn't just one such progression, and I was continuing the discussion on from that. By giving one example progression.
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  13. Ryan Lux

    Ryan Lux Forum Resident

    Toronto, ON, CA
    Aww gotcha, my bad.
    HitAndRun likes this.
  14. StingRay5

    StingRay5 Important Impresario

    The Mixolydian mode is simply the major scale with the seventh degree flatted. Usually when a song is described as "mixolydian", it's because it uses a dominant 7th chord in the tonic position, as in CCR's "Born on the Bayou" or the Beatles' "She's a Woman" (or several other Beatles songs). This is common in blues-based music. However, few songs really take the mixolydian mode to its logical conclusion, because if you did, you'd have a minor chord in the dominant position, and hardly anyone does that. One example I know of is Jethro Tull's "Summerday Sands", which is in E but consistently uses Bm rather than B.

    Example in the key of C:

    Major scale: C D E F G A B C
    Mixolydian scale: C D E F G A Bb C

    Thus the I7 chord, which in major would be a major 7th (C E G B), in mixolydian is instead dominant 7th (C E G Bb).

    The 7th chord on G then should be minor (G Bb D F) rather than dominant (G B D F), but most songs just keep using the dominant 7th anyway.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 5:41 PM
  15. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    This is an example of a song that is completely in Mixolydian.
    Most other songs have modal contrast and interchange.
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  16. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    No it is not one specific progression the way the term is generally used. @HitAndRun got it right above with his progression he listed...that is the only case of pure mixolydian and it is rare. Most cases are not completely mixolydian but instead it is used for modal contrast.
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  17. 99thfloor

    99thfloor Forum Resident

    The mixolydian mode is as common, if not more so, in Pop music as is the "regular" Ionian major mode, any major key song which uses the bVII chord (ot the b7 degree of the scale) would be in mixolydian mode, which are very many, this would be long thread.

    I think perhaps the "chord progression" the OP is looking for is perhaps simply the "I - bVII - IV" sequence (like the chorus of "All Right Now" that was mentioned), which is omnipresent in Rock music.

    This is not correct. The most common sound in Blues is having melodies using the minor pentatonic scale of the root played over major 7th chords built on the first, fourth and fith degree, actually the system of modes does not apply very well to Blues, since one of the hallmarks of the Blues is the mixing of and ambiguity between major and minor. There are very straight major sounding blues that use the Mixolydian scale, just as there are straight minor Blues that use the Dorian scale, but those are not the primary types of and most common sounds in Blues.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 6:05 PM
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  18. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Forum Resident

    Similarly (possibly OT), Santana is often characterized as using Dorian mode most of the time. Evil Ways for example. But it’s not a true strict G Dorian mode because the V chord is a dom7 (D7). In strict G Dorian it would be a minor chord (Dm). Modalities generally play fast and loose with the rules. The mode is merely a starting point. V chords are almost always dom7 regardless of strict modality.
    Rose River Bear likes this.
  19. The Ole' Rocker

    The Ole' Rocker Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada

    The song is in D, but rests on Am a lot. Even the harmony of the melody depends on the flat-seventh.
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  20. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    That is correct.....White Rabbit is Phrygian Dominant....the 5th mode of the Harmonic Minor.
    lschwart likes this.
  21. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    That is an interesting example. The melody is pure mixolydian but I am not sure about all of the chords.
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  22. Ryan Lux

    Ryan Lux Forum Resident

    Toronto, ON, CA
    Did you mean to say Dominant 7th? The Mixolydian chord. There's no blues built on maj7 chords. And while flirting with min 3rd over major is a common blues sound, as is flattening the 5th, what I said is not incorrect.
    Elliottmarx likes this.
  23. Elliottmarx

    Elliottmarx Always in the mood for Burt Bacharach

    Los Angeles
    Just last night I was thinking about Marshall Tucker Band's Can't You See and how it used this progression.

    One thing to listen for is if the last chord in the sequence is the same as the first chord. This won't always happen - but in rock contexts it's the easiest way to get this progression to make sense.

    Can't You See is

    C Bb F C - the repetition of the C chord makes the listener believe that is the home chord. But those three chords can only exist in F major. So we sense that C is the tonic, but it's not.
  24. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    It's hard to establish a strong mixolydian sound without extended chords. The most important chords for mixolydian are:
    I 7
    III ø (half-diminished 7)
    v 7 (that is v mi7--just to make sure we're noticing the lower case "v"--make sure you notice the lower-case, minor triads below, too)
    VII Ma7

    Off of the other intervals, you also characteristically get these relatively more outside chords:
    ii 7(#5) (though you can stick with ii 7)
    IV sus/Ma7 (though you can just stick with IV Ma7)
    vi 7(b9)

    If we're sticking mostly to triads and/or power chords, we could still technically say that we're tending towards a mixolydian sound if we're using b7 (major) chords/power chords, and that's characteristic of a ton of rock--especially a lot of hard rock and metal, but usually that stuff won't have diminished triads on the third, which they really should to establish a mixolydian sound, and they usually won't have sus chords on the fourth either, which also helps establish mixolydian, and of course if we're not using power chords, they won't usually have minor chords on the 5, either.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 6:36 PM
  25. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    That is correct about the blues....I was not sure at first.
    As someone else said though, the use of any mode in most music is fast and loose. Songs purely in mixolydian mode are actually uncommon. The Fat Angel by Donovan is an example of a song purely in Mixolydian mode. Here is another song that is in Mixolydian mode.
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