The phrygian scale is becoming more popular as modal theory becomes more accessible and relevant to modern guitarists and musicians.
Learning phrygian scale guitar chords and progressions will diversify your guitar playing and set you apart from other guitar players.
Phrygian mode formula
Understanding phrygian chords starts by understanding it’s formula. The formula for the phrygian mode is: 1-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7
Playing the phrygian scale
E phrygian shape 1 PDF
Harmonizing phrygian scale chords
When you harmonize the phrygian scale diatonically you get these chords:
This legend shows the full names of the shortened chord names.
E phrygian scale chords guitar
Using E phrygian, which is the 3rd mode of the C major scale, you’ll look at the E phrygian chords.
|E phrygian chords||i||II||III||iv||v||VI||vii|
|Triads||E Min||F Maj||G Maj||A Min||B Dim||C Maj||D Min|
|Seventh Chords||E Min7||F Maj7||G Dom7||A Min7||B Min7b5||CMaj7||D Min7|
Phrygian chord progressions
Due to Phrygians’ unconventional nature, which sets itself apart from typical minor scales and progressions, it can be difficult to write phrygian chord progressions using diatonic chords exclusively.
That being said, let’s look at some ways to use this awesome mode’s chords.
E Phrygian Chord Progression 1
When using the phrygian modes it’s important to remember that the defining interval is the b2/b9. If you don’t know, this is the interval a half step above the root note.
In E phrygian, the b2 note is F.
E Phrygian Chord Progression 2
Here’s another E phrygian chord progression. This one leans heavily into the b2.
It uses the E minor shape at position 7, and progressively substitutes notes in the chord to get that dark, phrygian sound we all love so much!
Phrygian Chord Progressions PDF
The PDF has better quality than the images, so I highly suggest you download it!
Phrygian Scale Guitar Chords Summary
Now that you’ve learn the phrygian scale guitar chords it’s time to apply them.
Use the phrygian chords chart(s) above to write progressions.
Use the Phrygian chord progressions examples for inspiration, and remember to always emphasize the b2 note!