The Dorian Mode is relative to the major scale but should not be learned within that relationship as it has its own identity.  For example the scales of C Major and D Dorian seen relatively are:

  • C Major –   C . D . E . F . G . A . B . C
  • D Dorian – D . E . F . G . A . B . C . D

Because of the tonal center shift the distances between the notes in the two scales become different as:

  • C Major –   Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone
  • D Dorian – Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone

The Dorian Mode is a minor mode with a raised 6th degree.  If we view the D Dorian mode in relation to its parallel major:

  • D Major –   D . E . F# . G . A . B . C# . D
  • D Dorian – D . E .  F .   G . A . B .  C .   D

The Dorian mode expressed in a number system as related to the Parallel Major would be:

  • 1 – 2 – b3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – b7 – 1

The harmonization of a Dorian mode yields the following chords:

I  – Minor   II – Minor   III – Major   IV – Major   V – Minor   VI – diminished   VII – Major

A strong melodic characteristic of the Dorian scale is the major 6th in a minor key which also yields the major IV chord in a minor key as:

  • |D minor    |G major    |A minor    |D minor    |

The Dorian mode is a tonal mode because it has a I, IV and V chord built from tonic, subdominant and dominant.