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Modes: don't you just love 'em?

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

Postby docformat » Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:28 pm

Yup i've got a copy of it but i haven't managed to delve too deeply into it (even though i've had it for five years!)

its a massive work containing thousands of patterns based on different divisions of one or more 8ves - ie 1 octave into 3, or even 7 octaves into 12 (to create a scale based on a perfect 5th). its basically a mathematical formula applied to harmony to create a new harmonic language. this is why i haven't delved too far into it - i'm still learning the present one! interesting that zappa called it the bible - i think it was largely popularised by john coltrane.

saxophonists yusif lateef and oliver nelson have both published similar pattern books - lateef's is often called the 'jazz slonimsky' and has a lot of scales based one eastern modes. maybe i'll get it for christmas!
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby docformat » Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:58 pm

yusEf lateef.....sorry 'bout that!
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Ivories » Thu Dec 22, 2005 7:24 pm

David thank you, especially for your posts about Indian modes, which were very illuminating
David Etheridge wrote:
Ionian mode: C D E F G A B C. (also known as mode 1)
Dorian mode: D E F G A B C. (mode 2).
Phrygian Mode: E F G A B C D E (mode 3).
Lydian Mode: F G A B C D E F (mode 4).
Mixolydian Mode: G A B C D E F G (mode 5).
Aeolian Mode: A B C D E F G A (mode 6).
Locrian Mode: B C D E F G A B (mode 7).
Where do you get this numbering from? The mediaeval plainsong modes were numbered from 1 to 8, but the numbering was completely different from yours.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Pabs » Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:28 pm

Ivories wrote:David thank you, especially for your posts about Indian modes, which were very illuminating
David Etheridge wrote:
Ionian mode: C D E F G A B C. (also known as mode 1)
Dorian mode: D E F G A B C. (mode 2).
Phrygian Mode: E F G A B C D E (mode 3).
Lydian Mode: F G A B C D E F (mode 4).
Mixolydian Mode: G A B C D E F G (mode 5).
Aeolian Mode: A B C D E F G A (mode 6).
Locrian Mode: B C D E F G A B (mode 7).
Where do you get this numbering from? The mediaeval plainsong modes were numbered from 1 to 8, but the numbering was completely different from yours.

What was their numbering system then?

I think the numbering system Dave outlined is self explanatory.

Ionian starts on the same note of the parent scale and is mode 1.
Dorian starts on the second note of the parent scale and is mode 2.
Phrygian starts on the 3rd mode of the parent scale and is mode 3.....etc..

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

Postby Ivories » Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:14 pm

Wikipedia article on modes

The table in this article shows the 8 modes which were used in plainsong. You'll see there is no mode starting on C, A or B (the Ionian, Aeolian and Locrian). The 8 modes are defined by the final notes (D to G), but also by the ambitus or range - the assumption was that the average church congregation would have a vocal range of about an octave, so a plainsong melody would stay roughly within that.

Those 8 modes were the ones recognized in the liturgical music of the western church from about 500 to 1500 AD. That isn't to say that you won't find melodies in other modes in the secular music of that period, or that every piece of church music fits the theoretical model particularly closely. However, when you hear a piece of mediaeval sacred music described as "in mode 1" (or "on the first tone"), it usually refers to the system of numbering given in the Wikipedia article.

Remember too that the concept of a "parent scale" is completely alien to mediaeval music - the major and minor key system didn't really develop until the 17th century, and replaced the modal system.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Pabs » Fri Dec 23, 2005 10:20 pm

Cheers for clearing that up Ivories. I found some more great info here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guido_of_Arezzo
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby David Etheridge » Sat Dec 24, 2005 10:58 am

Ivories wrote:David thank you, especially for your posts about Indian modes, which were very illuminating

Where do you get this numbering from? The mediaeval plainsong modes were numbered from 1 to 8, but the numbering was completely different from yours.

Hi Ivories,
I got the numbering from a book on jazz guitar theory, and it seemed quite logical to me, so I thought I'd include it here! :D
Thanks to others who've added the historical stuff to clear things up even more!

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

Postby IvanSC » Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:06 am

Mel Brookes in The Producers: "In Myxolidia we throw to dogs!!!"

Never have seen the point in modes. It still appears to me that you are inventing a bunch of names to describe a particular way of getting from A to B in music.
Why not just call them different types of scale?
I have been back and forth over the possibility of teaching modes for years and generally find the the students who "get" it have no need to learn modal theory in order to play `em! I have always thought that restricting oneself to a mode in a piece tends to lock you into that style of proression, whereas "going with the flow" with a mental reference to the overal sound sought is more effective. Any comments? I would like to find a reasonable excuse to teach modes if someone can come up with a concrete reason as to why they are actually useful.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby David Etheridge » Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:58 am

Hi Ivan,
actually, I agree with you! My own feelings on modes in jazz is this (and I may be wrong but chatting to other musos about this no-one has disagreed with me): when jazz players first used modes, they probably didn't know about the theory, they just liked the sound and thus used them instinctively. It was only later that a critic or music theorist came along and said 'Aha, he's using mode X'. In a similar way, analysts of Beatles songs in the 60s (most notable Wilfred Mellers) would talk about Lennon and MacCarntney's use of 'pan-diatonic triads'.
Okay, if you say so, squire. But John and Paul used them because they sounded good!
I know a jazz guitarist who quotes modes verbatim and uses a totally mathematical appraoch to soloing. While the theory is no doubt right, the results actually sound rather soulless, and dare I say it? -jazz by numbers. One book I have on jazz theory goes into the various modes you can use over various progressions, but appropriately warns that when you're flying through a chart you simply don't have time to think about whether you should use mixolydian over Db or altered dominant over Bb, or whatever at any one point.
Like I explained at the beginning, modes are useful for fingering 'windows' and I perefer to look at it that way. Personally for soloing and constructing bass parts (I'm a bassist myself) I'll always look at the chords for soloing context rather than scales as a jumping off point.
Of 'play what you hear/feel' which I believe is the true golden rule.

Best wishes,
Dave
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby IvanSC » Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:20 pm

Way back when I went to the legendary Musicians Union Workshops in London, most notable two given by the sublime Joe Pass. He spent the time stunning us with his virtuosity, but also made the same point you have, Dave - it all comes from within, then someone else has fun figuring out how todescribe what you did and how you did it.

I despise all those transcriptions by hack piano players that you get in "songs of the stars" books. I have to put up with explaining to pupils that,no, Lennon & McCartney/ Oasis etc didn`t really sit down and play a K blunt demented with added sixteenth in the third chorus of "let it supernova", they just hit a bum note.

God I`m grumpy today....
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:41 pm

When teaching Guitar..... I've always found the simplest way of explaining the basic modes to the utterly bemused, to be thus.

Describe the pattern on the fingerboard made by the C major scale.

then the A minor. (without confusing them with Melodic and Harmonic variants ;) )

point out that they are playing exactly the same notes just using a different start and end point.

then show them a couple of grids with the appropriate intervals filled in for the scales around the open, 5th and 10th fret regions.

have them play the scales starting and ending on each note.

ABCDEFGA
BCDEFGAB
CDEFGABC

and so on

now having got them familiar with the scalar forms around the fret board and what they sound like on their own... introduce them to the chord progressions that each of these most commonly work best with.


stand back and watch.

then introduce the concept of mode switching in mid solo.


Bingo, another shred head is born.

Favourites tend to be Lydian Aeolian and Phrygian i find....

although Mixolydian goes down well with the Blues fraternity/.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Pabs » Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:06 am

There is a lot of great Jazz specific info on the website of British Saxophonist Pete Thomas http://www.petethomas.co.uk/jazz-theory.html

As For trying to find reasons to teach modes......I guess you can present major modes (Lydian, Mixolydian) as an alternative to the Ionian mode/major scale and you can present minor modes (Dorian, Phrygian) as an alternative to Aeolian mode/minor scale. To be honest I've never really found any use for the Locrian mode!!

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

Postby IvanSC » Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:50 pm

pablo fanques wrote:To be honest I've never really found any use for the Locrian mode!!
Pabs

Isn`t that something to do with a place in Scotland?
OOTP: I am replacing a guitarist in a trio, who I went to see last night. Fur Kmee!! I think he eats modes for breakfast. Very tasteful and masterfully executed, but... in a Country band??
I felt both intimidated AND amused at the same time. Classic example of the bookworm`s approach to musicianship.
IF I were good enough to do what he did, I would I hope I had enough sensitivity and taste not to.
Pity they don`t teach taste and discernment at GIT and all the other Universities of Widdle

Ivan "I`m just a jealous guyyy...."
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby ramthelinefeed » Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:20 pm

I'd have to cast my vote too as one of these people who just doesn't see what all the fuss is about modes.
If you're stuck on an instrument with 12 equal-tempered semitones per octave, then you can play whatever scales/modes you want...which basically reduces to saying you can play any notes you want.
I mean, so what?
We all know that if we're playing a C major chord and we stick an Ab in a melody or bass riff, it'll sound a bit strange etc etc...
Given that there only are 12 semitones to fiddle about with, I just don't tend to think that's enough permuatations to necessitate having to use all these bloody mode-names for the various possibilities.
Is it really any harder to say "this one is in C, but with some Db passing notes in there" to your other band-members, than to say "this is a lorcian one" ?
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby hadey » Wed Feb 22, 2006 4:12 pm

The need to name modes etc comes from the neccesity for music/harmonic theory and it's usefulness for communication between musicians.
Take my experiences -
went to music college to do music tech degree (well popular music with music tech as core) with no formal music qualifications at all, a totally self taught guitarist. I had learned all the chords from Mel Bay's 501 chords book and made my own assumptions as to why the chords were called what they were. I had also as part of my self teaching, bought a guitar modes book.
Now at music college I was put into the top set for music theory as I found all of my assumptions to be correct and "could do" music theory (although sight reading is still beyond me!). So there were students who were at the top of the musical grades and they were literally weeping as they couldn't comprehend modes. And there was me trying to explain it to them.
But, jamming with these guys, they would be playing modal and not even know it!
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