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Modes: don't you just love 'em?

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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:00 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:We even sometimes (heaven forfend) have to rely on a bass player to provide a root :D

Get the bassist to play the 3rd and make the drummer tune the kick to the root ;)
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:23 pm

You'll need to teach the bassist to count to three first... ;)
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby merlyn » Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:27 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Otherwise I concur, good post.

Thanks, glad you liked it. :thumbup:

Sam Spoons wrote:Not sure I agree with this specific paragraph, a 13th chord contains R, 3, 5, b7, 13 they don't routinely contain the 9 and 11.

I think it's helpful to equate a 13th chord and a scale. You could look on jazz improvisation as turning all chords into 13th chords by using the upper extensions melodically. Chords are stacked thirds, scales are stacked seconds. If you go up in thirds and keep going you get a 13th arpeggio and then you're back to the root.

You'll know that an add9 chord and a 9 chord are different -- an add9 skips over the b7, so the chord you gave as an example is a 7add13. 13 means R, 3, 5, b7, 9, 11, 13 even if not all those notes are played. Of course you don't have to play the mixolydian mode on a 13th chord -- it's just the 'inside' mode for this chord.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Kwackman » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:15 pm

blinddrew wrote:You'll need to teach the bassist to count to three first... ;)

:bouncy: :bouncy: :clap:
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:18 pm

merlyn wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:Otherwise I concur, good post.

Thanks, glad you liked it. :thumbup:

Sam Spoons wrote:Not sure I agree with this specific paragraph, a 13th chord contains R, 3, 5, b7, 13 they don't routinely contain the 9 and 11.

I think it's helpful to equate a 13th chord and a scale. You could look on jazz improvisation as turning all chords into 13th chords by using the upper extensions melodically. Chords are stacked thirds, scales are stacked seconds. If you go up in thirds and keep going you get a 13th arpeggio and then you're back to the root.

You'll know that an add9 chord and a 9 chord are different -- an add9 skips over the b7, so the chord you gave as an example is a 7add13. 13 means R, 3, 5, b7, 9, 11, 13 even if not all those notes are played. Of course you don't have to play the mixolydian mode on a 13th chord -- it's just the 'inside' mode for this chord.

Yeah I get that, I deleted a sentence from my post which ran (more or less) "the only thing differentiates a 6th chord from a 13th is the b7". But I don't agree that the 13th should have the 9 and 11 in there (even if unplayed), and I can't ever remember coming across an 'add 13' chord.

TBF it's just a matter of how we name the chords and, also TBF, I'm not a jazzer (only pretend). Realistically speaking I think we are singing off different versions of the same hymn sheet :D

From a guitar perspective this article, randomly Googled, is how I see it in use (and it does agree with you on the 9 and 11 been included but, in practical terms unplayed).

https://www.jazz-guitar-licks.com/pages/chords/dominant-13-chords-13-guitar-diagrams.html
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby merlyn » Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:12 am

Yes, leaving out the 11th is a triumph of practice over theory. :) Theoretically the 11th is there and it was used as a step to get to the 13th, but it's not played because it clashes with the major 3rd. For a dominant 11th sound the chord is called 9sus -- which means 'don't play the 3rd'. 3rd or 4th in a major or dominant chord, not both. You can play all the notes in a m11 or m13. The hymn sheet I'm familiar with is this :

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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby GilesAnt » Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:11 am

I'm not quite sure how this discussion of complex chord voicings relates to modes. If anything, I suspect it might reinforce the suspicion of the earlier poster (terrible.dee) that modes are pretty much useless. However I think merlyn has previously made a valuable distinction between the classical/folk use of modes for truly modal music, and the use of modal terminology in jazz.

I wouldn't normally use the term add13 for a dominant 13th chord, but I suppose it depends how prescriptive you want your chord notation system to be.

I know we have been here before, but the mixolydian is not necessarily the 'inside' mode for improvising. As with any dominant 7th based chord all you need is the tonic scale. Clearly it is debatable but I don't see the advantage in complicating things - particularly for beginners.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:12 am

merlyn wrote:Yes, leaving out the 11th is a triumph of music over theory. :)

FTFY :D

I'm prepared to concede I'm wrong in this case. I'm not formally trained in music theory but have picked up a fair bit over the last 55 years or so of playing guitar.

Interesting discussion :thumbup:
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby merlyn » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:30 am

Giles Ant wrote:I'm not quite sure how this discussion of complex chord voicings relates to modes.

The concept of chord scales means modes are linked to chords. A chord symbol is also a mode symbol. A mode or chord scale tells us the sound to use, harmonically or melodically. The more notes specified in a chord symbol, the less choice there is as to which mode to use, up to a 13th, which tells us the mode exactly.

This is the same information presented in two different ways :

Ionian -- maj13
Dorian -- min13
Phrygian -- minb13b9
Lydian -- maj13#11
Mixolydian -- 13
Aeolian -- minb13
Locrian -- minb13b9b5

Giles Ant wrote:I know we have been here before, but the mixolydian is not necessarily the 'inside' mode for improvising. As with any dominant 7th based chord all you need is the tonic scale. Clearly it is debatable but I don't see the advantage in complicating things - particularly for beginners.

That's fine for diatonic chord progressions. But take The Girl from Ipanema as an example. You might find yourself playing this tune :)

Image
According to the key signature this tune is in the key of F. The first bar has an F maj7 chord and the melody has the 9th and 13th, so the mode is Ionian. Now a G7 chord with a 13th in the melody. Is the concept of the tonic scale really helpful? Is it not more straightforward to think 'G Mixolydian'?
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:45 am

Interesting you should choose that tune as I have just recorded a version (partly as a way of getting my luddite drummer mate to work with Reaper and Dropbox for remote collaboration).

Did I think of G7 with a 13th in the melody or G mixolydian? No I just played it. My ear tells me which are the right notes, which are the wrong notes and which are the right wrong notes and which are the wrong wrong notes (but I may be wrong :blush: ).*

My point is :- yes, if I knew the modes I might not find myself playing the "wrong wrong notes" quite so often but TBH I know which those notes are and if I practiced more I'd become better at avoiding them without needing an intimate knowledge of modes (though I suspect I would have it without knowing I had it...).

I guess improvising players play with a 'brain>fingers>ears>brain' feedback loop which monitors note choices, maybe knowledge of modes is akin to a 'lookahead' feature?

* 'right notes' = obviously, 'inside'
'right wrong notes' = 'outside'
'wrong wrong notes' = 'avant garde' (or "far out man") ;) (or, in my case "cock up")
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby merlyn » Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:19 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Did I think of G7 with a 13th in the melody or G mixolydian? No I just played it. My ear tells me which are the right notes, which are the wrong notes and which are the right wrong notes and which are the wrong wrong notes (but I may be wrong :blush: ).

If you got through the bridge of Ipanema by ear then, no, you don't need modes. :D It is a perfectly valid way to learn jazz -- learn the standards and solos by your favourite players.

There's no such thing as a wrong note -- only a wrong line.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:04 pm

Paraphrasing that "in Jazz you are never more than a semitone away from the right note"

What I mean is there are some 'outside' notes that sound bad, others that sound good, but, as you infer, that's often to do with context. WRT improvising, I hear the chords and, in my mind, I hear the notes I want to play. Where it goes pear shaped is that the connection between mind and fingers is not always 100% reliable which, I guess, could be solved by more practice :blush:

Here's a link to that version of Girl from Ipanema, https://www.dropbox.com/s/kta3386j1cp4bd7/girl%20from%20Ip%20final%20mix%20-1%20-%20Copy.mp3?dl=0

I have been playing it on and off for 45 years since I had a restaurant residency in the mid '70s so I ought to be able to do a 'Kenny G'* with it at least.

The recording was done in my home studio with the drums added by said 'luddite drummer' but to all intents and purposes it was done live with each part (I played both guitars and bass) done in a single take (but not always the first take) so it's pretty much how I'd have played it on a gig.

* I've always struggled to move my playing from that 'elevator jazz' feel to 'proper' jazz which is one of the reasons I'm so interested in modes and such.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby GilesAnt » Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:47 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:
I hear the chords and, in my mind, I hear the notes I want to play. Where it goes pear shaped is that the connection between mind and fingers is not always 100% reliable which, I guess, could be solved by more practice :blush:

I'm pretty much the same, I can do some killer solos in the bath or in bed, but as soon as the fingers get involved I just can't transmit from brain to hand fast enough.
But other than that I am with you in that the ear drives me rather than thinking what mode should I be using.

merlyn wrote:That's fine for diatonic chord progressions. But take The Girl from Ipanema as an example. You might find yourself playing this tune

I take your point here, though my example was of course specifically a dominant 7th rather than any other 7th chord. I can see that your chord/scale approach might be useful as a learning/analysis tool. However this doesn't make the music modal at all - it is still firmly tonal.

Always a joy to play or hear The Girl From Ipanema by the way.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:48 pm

GilesAnt wrote:Always a joy to play or hear The Girl From Ipanema by the way.

Hope my version hasn't put you off then ;)
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby shiihs » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:48 am

I love modes and I love this topic. Effective use of modes can make music sound very refreshing. I see many people struggling to understand the point of modes, or the difference between a mode and a scale. While I'm not an authority on music theory, I can contribute some of my own insights. Feel free to disagree! (And yes, it's too long, but hopefully somewhat interesting!)

As for the point to modes: I think it was nicely demonstrated in the "girl from Ipanema" conversation. Modes in some ways function more or less exactly like scales. First of all, they are just a collection of notes with a name and a given distribution of tones and semitones, they provide a path from one point in a melody to another as someone described it. Second, typically some notes in a mode or scale are considered more "important" than others: e.g. the first, third, fifth note would e.g. occur more often on strong beats, whereas other notes like the second or the seventh would come more often on weaker beats. Tunes will often start and end with the first note of a scale or mode they are written in. In that sense, this first note of a given scale/mode can be considered the most important one, the one that a tune continuously gravitates to (unless it modulates to a different scale along the way). Because different modes have a different distribution of tones and semitones, the resulting melodies with important (first,third,fifth) notes on strong beats and other notes on weaker beats will have a different "color". This relates to the comparison of modes with spices in one of the conversations before. To put it differently (oversimplification to make a point): a tune in C major and a tune in D dorian would use the exact same white notes on the piano, but the tune in C major would start and end with a c note and use many e and g notes on strong beats, and the tune in D dorian would start and end on d note instead and use many f notes and a notes on stronger beats. The resulting melody has a very different character.

As for the difference between modes and scales: in what are typically called (diatonic) scales, there are some properties that you don't find in modes, and which can influence how you write music with them. One of these properties is a "leading tone": a note that naturally gravitates towards the first (most important) note of the scale. In a melody made of tones and semitones, the semitones usually resolve to their "nearest neighbor" (i.e. a semitone down or up). In C major melodies, the note f (fourth note) often resolves to e (third note, more important), and the note b (seventh note) usually resolves to note c (first note, most important). This latter resolution b->c is important because c is the first note of the C major scale, so in light of the previous paragraph where I said the first note of the scale is the most important one, b naturally resolving to c is a very powerful combination to establish the C major scale in the listener's mind. If you look at harmony (chords), the way to establish to a listener that we're in a given scale is to write a "cadence". A very common cadence is ii - V - I, where the V-I also uses the leading tone to provide a satisfying conclusion to a phrase. (ii - V - I means building triads on the second, fifth and first scale degree, so in C major that could be the chords <d f a> <d g b> <e g c>) In a natural minor scale, there's no leading tone leading to the tonic, so composers of the past would artificially introduce one, leading to the harmonic and melodic minor scales, so they could again write satisfying cadences.

Now if you take any of the other modes (dorian, phrygian, etc) you don't have a leading tone naturally leading to the first, most important, note, and the cadences you get by writing a ii - V - I therefore sound less powerful/convincing. In such modes, you can either learn to live with a weaker cadence (perfectly possible), or you can search for alternative ways to establish the mode, which exploit the location of the semitones relative to the important notes of the mode. In such approach, you can bascially throw out a lot of what you know about traditional harmony rules, and restart from scratch (entire books have been written about this subject). So I hope this gives a feeling of why modes and scales are different: a lot of music theory related to cadences and modulation that has been developed for diatonic scales requires some adaptation/rethinking to work for modes.
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