SLModes – Music Modes, Modal Modulation, Pitch Axis Theory


Get Your Copy of SLModes 2.0.0


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*VAT not included in the displayed price

This software costs 12€, but you can pay more if you want to support further development. If you’re on a tight budget instead, use this code for 15% discount: SL15




SLModes 2.0.0 presents you with new ways to write your music.

Taking advantage of concepts like modal modulation and pitch axis theory, you’ll find a new way of thinking about key signatures and chord progressions.

5-Start Rating on Gumroad

Awesome stuff.  I used it straight away on a composition I was looking to build a bit. This software presented so many not so common suggestions to explore, I felt confident I was auditioning ideas outside my same old development repertoire
George Zajacek

With SLModes, it only takes a couple of minutes before you find ideas for chord progressions you wouldn’t otherwise have on your own.


SLModes 2.0.0




The main features are:

▸A total of 63 music modes for you to explore:

Major Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian, Melodic Minor, Dorian b2, Lydian Augmented, Lydian Dominant, Mixolydian b6, Locrian #2, Altered, Harmonic Minor, Locrian 6, Ionian #5, Dorian #4, Phrygian Major, Lydian #2, Ultralocrian, Harmonic Major, Dorian b5, Phrygian b4, Lydian Minor, Mixolydian b2, Lydian Augmented #2, Locrian bb7, Double Harmonic Major, Lydian #2 #6, Ultraphrygian, Hungarian Minor, Oriental, Ionian #2 #5, Locrian bb3 bb7, Neapolitan Major, Leading Whole Tone, Lydian Augmented Dominant, Lydian Dominant b6, Major Locrian, Half-Diminished b4, Altered Dominant bb3,  Neapolitan Minor, Lydian #6, Mixolydian Augmented, Romani Minor, Locrian Dominant, Ionian #2, Ultralocrian bb3, Hungarian Major, Ultralocrian bb6, Harmonic Minor b5, Superlocrian ♮6, Jazz Minor #5, Dorian b2 #4, Lydian Augmented #3, Romanian Major, Superlydian Augmented ♮6, Locrian ♮2 bb7, Blues Phrygian b4, Jazz Minor b5, Superphrygian ♮6 and Lydian Augmented b3.

▸ For each mode, it shows its chords (this is huge!) and their notes;

▸ For each mode, a list of its guitar fretboard shape and piano notes. You can also open the extended freboard mode, to access the notes of the mode across the entire guitar fretboard.

▸ It provides instant feedback on how a mode sounds by playing it over a selected chord.

▸ It creates a list of all matching modes and their corresponding chords based on how many notes in common they have with the original mode you’ve selected (this is a new way of thinking when writing chord progressions). 

Composer Mode, for you to write down you chord progressions, and play them in a loop.

System Requirements

> Windows:
Operating System:
Windows 7 / 8 / 10
Architecture: 64 bits
Soundcard: Required
Hard-Drive Free Space: 150 MB
Minimum Screen Resolution: 980×540

> macOS:
Operating System:
tested on macOS Catalina and Big Sur
64 bits
1 GB
Hard-Drive Free Space:
150 MB
Minimum Screen Resolution:

Keep in mind: Your system might identify SLModes as an unidentified program (common problem for small developers). The manual shows how to solve it with 3 clicks. But you need to be aware this warning may appear and be okay with that, before you buy SLModes 2.0.0


Sometimes things go wrong with computers and things simply don’t want to work. If you’ve tried everything (including reading the manual for common problems that may arise), then send us an email showing the problem (screenshots or video) and if we can’t help you, you’ll get a refund. So you can buy your copy with peace of mind.

More Examples


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Modal Modulation Examples in Rock and Metal

Modal Modulation is not a concept restricted to Rock and Metal but since the electric guitar was my first love, I’m biased. I want to show you 4 examples within the genres of Progressive Metal and Instrumental Rock where you can listen to modal modulation being used.

Disclaimer: in no way are the artists mentioned below affiliated with Sinewave Lab nor do they endose SLModes.

1. Lydian Dominant Improv – Rick Graham

This Lydian Dominant improvisation by Rick Graham shows very well not only why Modal Modulation is pretty nice, but also why you should be considering using less known modes (Lydian Dominant is a mode of the Melodic Minor scale).

A closer look will reveal that this improvisation is not exclusively happening in the Lydian Dominant mode. If that was the case, this would be considered a modal improvisation. But it’s not. Instead, it is a case of a modal modulation improvisation.

So, in other words, the background keeps changing between two different modes belonging to different keys.

  1. E Aeolian mode, with an ornamented variation of an E minor chord serving as harmony
  2. C Lydian Dominant mode with an ornamented variation of a C7 chord serving as harmony

2. A Change of Seasons – Dream Theater

A Change of Seasons is a monumental 23-min track by the great Prog Gods, Dream Theater.

At the 17:31 mark, John Petrucci plays a guitar solo that immediately grabs the attention of the Modal Modulation fan.

By looking at the guitar tabs it’s not very hard to discover which modes were used:

  • B Aeolian mode, with an B minor chord serving as harmony
  • G Dorian mode with a G minor chord serving as harmony

3. Not Of This Earth – Joe Satriani

Not of This Earth is the first track of the first album by Joe Satriani and he starts his solo career by going all-in, using something that later became known as Pitch Axis Theory.

Pitch Axis Theory is still Modal Modulation. However, it has the peculiarity of keeping the same root note across all modes.

In this track, he uses a chord progression consisting of four chords which keep changing the key of the song, while retaining a common root note (E). You know the root note is E because that’s what the rhythm guitar and bass play throughout the whole track.

To analyze which chords are being used, we need to either use our ears or grab a guitar tab floating around the web. It’s easier and faster to grab the guitar tab.

After some trial and error, the progression seems like this one to me:

  • E Lydian mode, with an ornamented variation of an E maj7 chord serving as harmony;
  • E Aeolian mode with an ornamented variation of an E min7 chord serving as harmony;
  • E Lydian mode, with an ornamented variation of an E maj7 chord serving as harmony;
  • E Mixolydian mode, with an ornamented variation of an E7 chord serving as harmony.

4. Always With Me, Always With You – Joe Satriani

With Joe Satriani being know as the musician who popularized Pitch Axis Theory, it is not a surprise that he’s being included twice in this list. However the reasons are different now.

His track Always With Me, Always With You also used the Pitch Axis Theory, but in a slightly different way: instead of using this concept at the level of the chord progressions, he’s using it at the level of the composition itself.

The music starts with the following chords (or some ornamented variation of them):

  • B / B / E maj7 / F# sus4

This chord progression has no modal modulation in it – it’s a good old progression within the key of B Major.

However, later in the track (more specifically at the 01:05 mark), he changes the whole key of the song from B Major to B Minor, and starts to play a chord progression that predictably falls within the B minor key:

  • Bm / Bm / Em / F#7 sus4

This means shows us that modal modulations can be used not only at the level of chord progressions, but it can also be used at the broader level of sectional key changes.

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