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Modes: don't you just love 'em?

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

Postby CS70 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:09 pm

petev3.1 wrote:From a practical perspective it seems to me that if one can play scales starting from anywhere then one only needs to know where to start. Learning the modes seems a great way of learning to play scales starting from anywhere, but I just can't seem to get a handle on why the two tasks are different.

Far from a theorist here, but from what I get the action itself (i.e. the "starting from a different note of the major scale") is the same. The only difference is that you talk about modes only in relation to a tonic note - the simplest example of which is a bass drone (but can be anything that constantly reinforces the tonic base of the piece, like a pad for example or just a progression of chords always containing the tonic note).

So "mode" does not reference just the action, but the action plus the context... hence, the "start from anywhere" is only half the story; the other half is to have the fixed tonic reference going on while you're starting from anywhere.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:51 pm

The more replies I read on this thread the more I feel like Father Dougal McGuire..........
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:34 pm

Yeah, I can't even spell phyrr... pyhrr... mixalo..
any of them, let alone play them.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby petev3.1 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:02 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:I guess the key point is that the chord is only the dominant seventh if it stands in a particular relationship to the tonic and thus to the tonal centre of the piece. As GilesAnt points out, a piece that is in one of the natural minor modes, or the Mixolydian mode, doesn't have a conventional dominant seventh chord. If the piece is in, say, G Mixolydian, when you play something over the G you are not soloing over a dominant seventh chord, you're soloing over a tonic chord that has a flat instead of a raised seventh.

I get what you're saying, and also CS70. I see a big difference between using the modes for soloing over a major/minor-scale background and writing in a modal style. My comments were mostly about soloing and I'm assuming the piece is in a major/minor scale . Modal composition is a different matter and although I'm only just getting to grips with this it doesn't confuse me like the soloing thing.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby GilesAnt » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:08 pm

I think Sam is spot on with his reply to Pete, but I wonder if Pete was meaning something slightly different.

You said (Pete) that you had been improvising mixolydian patterns over dominant 7th for years before you knew anything about modes. Well, Pete, feel free to return to blissful ignorance because you weren't - you were indeed using the notes of the scale.
in C major the dom 7th is G B D F - all notes from that major scale.

Coincidentally the notes of the C major scale are also the notes of the Mixolydian based on G, but then they are also the notes of the Dorian based on D, the Phrygian based on E and so on. So no real mystery here. As Sam says, they are NOT the notes of the mixolydian based on C.

Are you thinking of 7th chords more generally, e.g. if playing in C major, a C7 chord would include a Bflat - implying the mixolydian based on C.

If I understand CS70 correctly (and I'm not sure if I do) modal improvisation works well over non-functional harmony, slow moving tonics, drones etc. The modes with their different characteristics can really come to the fore since they are primarily melodic. But once you are using functional harmony, then almost by definition you are using major/minor keys - not modes.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby petev3.1 » Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:40 pm

Fascinating stuff. I've been studying and now have a slightly better handle on this topic. It seems to me that there is more than one way to think about the modes and more than one way to utilise them. Also it seems to make all the difference whether we're noodling over a drone or harmonic sequence or whether we're writing the piece in some mode. In the former case very often we're just playing the diatonic scale notes selectively, while in the latter case we're wandering off into new tonalities and note relationships.

But the modes certainly seem to the secret of having fun with solos and getting away from the the pentatonic. I caught a video the other day explaining the use of the lydian mode in the verse of the Police's 'Every Little Thing She does is Magic' (or whatever the title is) and found it useful.

My confusion is dissipating slowly. With habitual hubris I'm starting to write some solo pieces systematically exploring the modes since I can't find any.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby joeyondakeys » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:41 pm

This thread is pretty rad; very informative. :thumbup:

I'm curious.

Would anyone be able to categorize styles of music (cinematic or otherwise) that can be generally associated with each mode - or several modes? Once upon a time, I saw a video that did just that. However this was years ago, and I skimmed through it. Highly doubt I'd be able to find it again.

I'd love to experiment with more modes, having a general sense of what situations each one excels in.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby GilesAnt » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:52 pm

It s difficult to link the various modes to particular styles as far as I can see (beyond the fact that much early church music was modal). Neither am I sure if 'cinematic' can be considered a style as such - there are lots of films with as wide a range of soundtracks as music in general. Maybe I misunderstand you though.

This thread has also started to distinguish between using modes as a melodic device and using modes as the basis of a composition. The second of these is increasingly rare since it would depend on modal harmony as well as modal melody.

The Dorian is associated strongly with traditional folk music - not modern pop-folk but 19th and 18th century stuff if not older. A lot of old English folk music uses the Dorian. The other modes pop up here and there, but not sure if any particular style or genre is based strongly on a mode.

Maybe others can suggest associations.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby SoundsGood » Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:26 am

joeyondakeys wrote:This thread is pretty rad; very informative. :thumbup:

I'm curious.

Would anyone be able to categorize styles of music (cinematic or otherwise) that can be generally associated with each mode - or several modes? Once upon a time, I saw a video that did just that. However this was years ago, and I skimmed through it. Highly doubt I'd be able to find it again.

I'd love to experiment with more modes, having a general sense of what situations each one excels in.

This is a really good one.
https://www.classicfm.com/discover-musi ... cal-modes/
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