A-flat dorian chords

The Solution below shows the A-flat dorian mode triad chords (i, ii, III, IV, v, vio, VII) on a piano, with mp3 and midi audio.

The Lesson steps then explain the triad chord construction from this mode, and how to name the quality of each chord based on note intervals.

For a quick summary of this topic, and to see the chord quality chart for this mode, have a look at Mode chord.

Keys in this mode
KeyCC#DbDD#EbEE#FbFF#GbGG#[Ab]AA#BbBB#Cb

Solution - 7 parts

1. A-flat dorian chord i

This step shows the tonic triad chord of the A-flat dorian mode.

Chord identification

The A-flat dorian chord i is the Ab minor chord, and contains the notes Ab, Cb, and Eb.

This tonic chord's root / starting note is the 1st note (or scale degree) of the A-flat dorian mode.

The roman numeral for number 1 is 'i' and is used to indicate this is the 1st triad chord in the mode. It is in lower case to denote that the chord is a minor chord.

A-flat dorian chord 1 is A-flat minor

Chord names for A-flat dorian chord 1
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionAb minor chord in root positionia
1st inversionAb minor chord in 1st inversionibi6
2nd inversionAb minor chord in 2nd inversionici64
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2. A-flat dorian chord ii

This step shows the supertonic triad chord of the A-flat dorian mode.

Chord identification

The A-flat dorian chord ii is the Bb minor chord, and contains the notes Bb, Db, and F.

This supertonic chord's root / starting note is the 2nd note (or scale degree) of the A-flat dorian mode.

The roman numeral for number 2 is 'ii' and is used to indicate this is the 2nd triad chord in the mode. It is in lower case to denote that the chord is a minor chord.

A-flat dorian chord 2 is B-flat minor

Chord names for A-flat dorian chord 2
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionBb minor chord in root positioniia
1st inversionBb minor chord in 1st inversioniibii6
2nd inversionBb minor chord in 2nd inversioniicii64
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3. A-flat dorian chord III

This step shows the mediant triad chord of the A-flat dorian mode.

Chord identification

The A-flat dorian chord III is the Cb major chord, and contains the notes Cb, Eb, and Gb.

This mediant chord's root / starting note is the 3rd note (or scale degree) of the A-flat dorian mode.

The roman numeral for number 3 is 'III' and is used to indicate this is the 3rd triad chord in the mode. It is in upper case to denote that the chord is a major chord.

A-flat dorian chord 3 is C-flat major

Chord names for A-flat dorian chord 3
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionCb major chord in root positionIIIa
1st inversionCb major chord in 1st inversionIIIbIII6
2nd inversionCb major chord in 2nd inversionIIIcIII64
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4. A-flat dorian chord IV

This step shows the subdominant triad chord of the A-flat dorian mode.

Chord identification

The A-flat dorian chord IV is the Db major chord, and contains the notes Db, F, and Ab.

This subdominant chord's root / starting note is the 4th note (or scale degree) of the A-flat dorian mode.

The roman numeral for number 4 is 'IV' and is used to indicate this is the 4th triad chord in the mode. It is in upper case to denote that the chord is a major chord.

A-flat dorian chord 4 is D-flat major

Chord names for A-flat dorian chord 4
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionDb major chord in root positionIVa
1st inversionDb major chord in 1st inversionIVbIV6
2nd inversionDb major chord in 2nd inversionIVcIV64
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5. A-flat dorian chord v

This step shows the dominant triad chord of the A-flat dorian mode.

Chord identification

The A-flat dorian chord v is the Eb minor chord, and contains the notes Eb, Gb, and Bb.

This dominant chord's root / starting note is the 5th note (or scale degree) of the A-flat dorian mode.

The roman numeral for number 5 is 'v' and is used to indicate this is the 5th triad chord in the mode. It is in lower case to denote that the chord is a minor chord.

A-flat dorian chord 5 is E-flat minor

Chord names for A-flat dorian chord 5
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionEb minor chord in root positionva
1st inversionEb minor chord in 1st inversionvbv6
2nd inversionEb minor chord in 2nd inversionvcv64
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6. A-flat dorian chord vio

This step shows the submediant triad chord of the A-flat dorian mode.

Chord identification

The A-flat dorian chord vio is the F diminished chord, and contains the notes F, Ab, and Cb.

This submediant chord's root / starting note is the 6th note (or scale degree) of the A-flat dorian mode.

The roman numeral for number 6 is 'vi' and is used to indicate this is the 6th triad chord in the mode. Just like a minor chord, the diminished chord is constructed using a minor third interval, so the roman numeral is shown in lower case.

The diminished symbol 'o' is placed after the roman numerals to indicate this is a diminished chord.

A-flat dorian chord 6 is F diminished

Chord names for A-flat dorian chord 6
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionF diminished chord in root positionvioa
1st inversionF diminished chord in 1st inversionviobvio6
2nd inversionF diminished chord in 2nd inversionviocvio64
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7. A-flat dorian chord VII

This step shows the subtonic triad chord of the A-flat dorian mode.

Chord identification

The A-flat dorian chord VII is the Gb major chord, and contains the notes Gb, Bb, and Db.

This subtonic chord's root / starting note is the 7th note (or scale degree) of the A-flat dorian mode.

The roman numeral for number 7 is 'VII' and is used to indicate this is the 7th triad chord in the mode. It is in upper case to denote that the chord is a major chord.

A-flat dorian chord 7 is G-flat major

Chord names for A-flat dorian chord 7
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionGb major chord in root positionVIIa
1st inversionGb major chord in 1st inversionVIIbVII6
2nd inversionGb major chord in 2nd inversionVIIcVII64
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Lesson steps

1. Piano key note names

This step shows the white and black note names on a piano keyboard so that the note names are familiar for later steps, and to show that the note names start repeating themselves after 12 notes.

The white keys are named using the alphabetic letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, which is a pattern that repeats up the piano keyboard.

Every white or black key could have a flat(b) or sharp(#) accidental name, depending on how that note is used. In a later step, if sharp or flat notes are used, the exact accidental names will be chosen.

Sharp and flat note names

The audio files below play every note shown on the piano above, so middle C (marked with an orange line at the bottom) is the 2nd note heard.

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2. A-flat dorian mode notes

This step shows the mode note names that will be used to construct all triad chords that harmonize with those mode notes.

The piano keyboard below contains the notes of the A-flat dorian mode.

Starting from the 1st mode note, each lesson step below will take each note in turn and construct a triad chord using that note as the root / starting note of that chord.

The triad chord will be built using only the notes of the mode we are interested in.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

Triad chords are built using the 1st, 3rdand 5th notes of the mode, so the first triad below will constructed a chord using notes Ab, Cb and Eb.

A-flat dorian mode
No.12345678
NoteAbBbCbDbEbFGbAb

The second triad below will repeat this, but this time starting on the 2nd note, so its notes will be Bb, Db and F - ie. the 1st, 3rd and 5th positions relative to that 2nd root note.

This pattern is repeated for all 7 notes in the mode, resulting in 7 triad chords.

A-flat dorian mode

Identifying the chord quality

Although the above method identifies each triads notes from the mode used - it does not identify the complete chord name including its quality.

Should each triad that we build be called major, minor, augmented, or diminished ? Every triad chord must have one of these quality names.

To decide the name the chord quality, each step below will use note intervals to calculate how many half-tones / semitones / piano keys between the root and the 3rd (and 5th).

Taken together, the combination of the 3rd and 5th note intervals will define the complete triad quality name.

The steps below will show how this works for each triad in turn, but in practice it might just be easier to memorize the triad quality table in the Mode chord summary for each mode type.

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3. 1st triad chord in A-flat dorian mode

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 1st scale degree of the A-flat dorian mode.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the A-flat dorian mode, ordered to show the 1st note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes Ab, Cb, and Eb.

A-flat dorian mode from note #1
No.1234567
NoteAbBbCbDbEbFGb

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between Ab and Cb is 3 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore minor, also called m3 for short. More details of this interval are at Ab-min-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between Ab and Eb is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at Ab-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having minor(m3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is minor.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, Ab, onto this quality, giving us the Ab minor chord.

A-flat minor triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol i could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is Ab minor chord in root position (ie not inverted) - A-flat dorian mode chord ia.

Instead, i could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is Ab minor chord in 1st inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord ib.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is Ab minor chord in 2nd inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord ic.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols i:

So in this key, i6 refers to the Ab minor chord in 1st inversion, and i64 refers to the Ab minor chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next mode note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, Ab, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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4. 2nd triad chord in A-flat dorian mode

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 2nd scale degree of the A-flat dorian mode.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the A-flat dorian mode, ordered to show the 2nd note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes Bb, Db, and F.

A-flat dorian mode from note #2
No.1234567
NoteBbCbDbEbFGbAb

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between Bb and Db is 3 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore minor, also called m3 for short. More details of this interval are at Bb-min-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between Bb and F is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at Bb-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having minor(m3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is minor.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, Bb, onto this quality, giving us the Bb minor chord.

B-flat minor triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol ii could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is Bb minor chord in root position (ie not inverted) - A-flat dorian mode chord iia.

Instead, ii could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is Bb minor chord in 1st inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord iib.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is Bb minor chord in 2nd inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord iic.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols ii:

So in this key, ii6 refers to the Bb minor chord in 1st inversion, and ii64 refers to the Bb minor chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next mode note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, Bb, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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5. 3rd triad chord in A-flat dorian mode

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 3rd scale degree of the A-flat dorian mode.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the A-flat dorian mode, ordered to show the 3rd note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes Cb, Eb, and Gb.

A-flat dorian mode from note #3
No.1234567
NoteCbDbEbFGbAbBb

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between Cb and Eb is 4 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore major, also called M3 for short. More details of this interval are at Cb-maj-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between Cb and Gb is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at Cb-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having major(M3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is major.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, Cb, onto this quality, giving us the Cb major chord.

C-flat major triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol III could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is Cb major chord in root position (ie not inverted) - A-flat dorian mode chord IIIa.

Instead, III could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is Cb major chord in 1st inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord IIIb.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is Cb major chord in 2nd inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord IIIc.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols III:

So in this key, III6 refers to the Cb major chord in 1st inversion, and III64 refers to the Cb major chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next mode note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, Cb, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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6. 4th triad chord in A-flat dorian mode

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 4th scale degree of the A-flat dorian mode.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the A-flat dorian mode, ordered to show the 4th note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes Db, F, and Ab.

A-flat dorian mode from note #4
No.1234567
NoteDbEbFGbAbBbCb

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between Db and F is 4 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore major, also called M3 for short. More details of this interval are at Db-maj-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between Db and Ab is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at Db-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having major(M3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is major.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, Db, onto this quality, giving us the Db major chord.

D-flat major triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol IV could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is Db major chord in root position (ie not inverted) - A-flat dorian mode chord IVa.

Instead, IV could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is Db major chord in 1st inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord IVb.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is Db major chord in 2nd inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord IVc.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols IV:

So in this key, IV6 refers to the Db major chord in 1st inversion, and IV64 refers to the Db major chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next mode note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, Db, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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7. 5th triad chord in A-flat dorian mode

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 5th scale degree of the A-flat dorian mode.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the A-flat dorian mode, ordered to show the 5th note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes Eb, Gb, and Bb.

A-flat dorian mode from note #5
No.1234567
NoteEbFGbAbBbCbDb

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between Eb and Gb is 3 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore minor, also called m3 for short. More details of this interval are at Eb-min-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between Eb and Bb is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at Eb-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having minor(m3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is minor.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, Eb, onto this quality, giving us the Eb minor chord.

E-flat minor triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol v could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is Eb minor chord in root position (ie not inverted) - A-flat dorian mode chord va.

Instead, v could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is Eb minor chord in 1st inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord vb.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is Eb minor chord in 2nd inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord vc.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols v:

So in this key, v6 refers to the Eb minor chord in 1st inversion, and v64 refers to the Eb minor chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next mode note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, Eb, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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8. 6th triad chord in A-flat dorian mode

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 6th scale degree of the A-flat dorian mode.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the A-flat dorian mode, ordered to show the 6th note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes F, Ab, and Cb.

A-flat dorian mode from note #6
No.1234567
NoteFGbAbBbCbDbEb

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between F and Ab is 3 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore minor, also called m3 for short. More details of this interval are at F-min-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between F and Cb is 6 half-tones, and the note interval name is diminished (d5). More details of this interval are at F-dim-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having minor(m3) and diminished(d5) note intervals is diminished.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, F, onto this quality, giving us the F diminished chord.

F diminished triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol vio could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is F diminished chord in root position (ie not inverted) - A-flat dorian mode chord vioa.

Instead, vio could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is F diminished chord in 1st inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord viob.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is F diminished chord in 2nd inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord vioc.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols vio:

So in this key, vio6 refers to the F diminished chord in 1st inversion, and vio64 refers to the F diminished chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next mode note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, F, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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9. 7th triad chord in A-flat dorian mode

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 7th scale degree of the A-flat dorian mode.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the A-flat dorian mode, ordered to show the 7th note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes Gb, Bb, and Db.

A-flat dorian mode from note #7
No.1234567
NoteGbAbBbCbDbEbF

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between Gb and Bb is 4 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore major, also called M3 for short. More details of this interval are at Gb-maj-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between Gb and Db is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at Gb-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having major(M3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is major.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, Gb, onto this quality, giving us the Gb major chord.

G-flat major triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol VII could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is Gb major chord in root position (ie not inverted) - A-flat dorian mode chord VIIa.

Instead, VII could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is Gb major chord in 1st inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord VIIb.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is Gb major chord in 2nd inversion - A-flat dorian mode chord VIIc.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols VII:

So in this key, VII6 refers to the Gb major chord in 1st inversion, and VII64 refers to the Gb major chord in 2nd inversion.

This completes the set of all triad chords that harmonize with the A-flat dorian mode.

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