Freeware app to view and hear any mode of a musical scale.

ModeWheel is a freeware music app for Windows & macOS. Simply choose from the options to display on a keyboard any of the modes of four families of scales (Major, Minor Melodic, Minor Harmonic, Major Harmonic) in any key. Just click the audio buttons to hear the scale (and/or a simple II-V-I chord progression) sounded on a piano. The program is designed to assist students of music to learn and practice the most common scales in Western music.

ModeWheel was inspired by Danish jazz musician Oliver Prehn, whose superb YouTube lessons — all of which are available via his website at https://www.newjazz.dk — have made both music theory and improvisation simpler and more understandable for the rest of us. The interactive mode wheel displayed on the main program screen is based upon a template that he designed, and it was with his kind permission that I was able to adapt and elaborate upon this in a computer-friendly format.

Here is a screenshot of the ModeWheel window that displays the Major (Church) modes, with the Ionian scale in C as the default :

Screenshot of main window showing the options to display the mode of a scale.

Choosing a mode and tonic rotates the mode wheel accordingly, displaying the notes of that mode on a keyboard, along with a simple II-V-I progression. There are several options to sound the scale and chord progression using the generic keyboard samples embedded in the application.

Watch a brief video of ModeWheel in action and more screenshots on the Features page.

Although ModeWheel displays the various modes in a way that can assist in learning to identify and practice these, I highly recommend Oliver Prehn’s YouTube lessons that demonstrate how these can be used to enrich your understanding of how modes and scales can be used in jazz improvisation.

A detailed Quickstart Manual for ModeWheel (in PDF format) is available on the Downloads page of this website, along with secure installers for the Windows and Mac versions.

I welcome your comments, feedback, and support via the Contact page of this website.