Is This a Locrian Mode?

by Joshua
(Grand Rapids, MI, USA)

I'm trying to figure out what key (and mode?) my song is in so I can figure out the chords and hopefully figure out how to start a chorus. I'm using the minor scale found here ( on capo 3, so I think it's a version of a# minor, but the tonic is the b7 (g#). Does that make it a# minor Locrian?

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by: Maria

Hi Joshua!

A "minor" Locrian mode is diatonic and follows the same pattern of half and whole steps as a scale starting and ending on B (without accidentals).

So, starting on any note the whole and half step pattern for a (minor) Locrian mode is:

The tonic in this scale is a diminished minor chord. A 7th is generally not used with a tonic chord, since it makes it less "final".

In Jazz, there is another version of Locrian mode, called "Locrian ♮2" or half diminished scale. It raises the 2nd step:

There is also the Major Locrian scale, which compared to the diatonic Locrian scale, raises the 2nd and 3rd steps:

So, a "minor" Locrian mode starting from A# would have the notes:

The tonic chord would be: a#-c#-e.

So instead, if your tonic is a Bmin diminished chord (get rid of the 7th), you should use the locrian from B. If on the other hand your G# is important, perhaps g#-b-d is you tonic-
then you have a locrian from G#, perhaps.

I hope this helped,
Good luck with your song!

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