Jazz Phrygian Backing

Animated Jazz Phrygian Backing tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This Backing track is from the Jamzone, make sure to read the associated article(s)!

We are concerned here with playing a modal progression to suit the E phrygian mode for practicing making solos. If you are soloing use the Normal Speed audio to Jam along with, or just download the mp3 file.

A modal progression isn't as scary as it sounds. It really just means finding the chord best suited to the Phrygian mode, and emphasizing it. The Phrygian mode is always the 3rd mode of your main key. So let's look at the key of C major:

C - E - G - B = C Major Seventh (Cmaj7) - Ionian
D - F - A - C = D Minor Seventh (Dm7) - Dorian
E - G - B - D = E Minor Seventh (Em7) - Phrygian
F - A - C - E = F Major Seventh (Fmaj7) - Lydian
G - B - D - F = G Dominant Seventh (G7) - Mixolydian
A - C - E - G = A Minor Seventh (Am7) - Aeolian
B - D - F - A = B Half-Diminished (Bø7) - Locrian
C - E - G - C = C Major Seventh (Cmaj7) - Ionian

You can see here that the 3rd Mode (Phrygian) is based around the Em7 chord. So, to make a 'modal progression' that suits the Phrygian mode we will simply use chords from the above list that make Em7 the central chord.

We are going to go a little funky in this example, but nothing too fancy. The chord progression uses the following chords:

Dm7 - Fmaj7 - Em7

Notice how the Em7 chord sounds like the central chord. This is because we use it the most and also because the other two chords fall either side of Em7 (see the above list). This further makes Em7 sound like the centre ground! You can use other surrounding chords instead, but this is a typical way of making a strong modal progression. With the Phrygian mode the next 'Lydian' chord (Fmaj7) is particularly good to use for support.

Notice that we use muting. This is just for effect. Just flatten all your fingers across the strings (use your thumb too if you wish) and strike the strings. This gives a short rhythmic 'click' sound. You can also just palm mute with your strumming hand as you strike the strings. This will further kill any string noise. That's the technique we use here.

Modal progressions are usually short. That's because they tend to just emphasize one particular chord. Like in this case we are playing a lot of Em7 and only briefly switching to other chords. We'll look at chord progressions suiting the other modes soon. In the meantime, take a look at our phrygian solo example. And also here is an extended loop of the backing music in mp3 Format to help you with your own E Phrygian Solos:

ActionTab Jazz E Phrygian Backing mp3

You will need to at least know the E Phrygian scale patterns shown here.

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