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Modes: don't you just love 'em?

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

Postby ramthelinefeed » Thu Feb 23, 2006 11:41 am

so you're saying we should learn about modes so that we'll be able to do well in the exams at the end of the learning about modes lessons?
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby green strat man » Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:57 pm

I think we're all missing the point about modes. Using modes to map out the fingerboard is great and the method i used to learn scale positions, but by doing this you are not playing the modes in modal context.

I feel doubtful of those that make claims of being able to play modally by ear. i'm not saying it can't be done, but you'd need extensive modal study to be able to do it and you certainly wouldn't be exploring the full value of what modes have to offer without study.

funny really, i've just finished a piece that studies modal technique and i'm really pleased with the results.

try this: shove four bars of music into a score editor or piano roll etc, in a major key. now, play it a few times to get the hang of what is going on in the piece. duplicate the piece in the next 4 bars and flatten all of the 3rd's and 7th's by a semitone, dorian mode. if you now play the whole piece, you should hear quite a nice difference as you go from major to dorian(depending on the piece and your tastes). that is how i perceive the modal system to work. if you fanny about for long enough you can really come up with some nice sounds. sometimes get that mike oldfield kind of vibe.

oh well


cheers.

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

Postby ramthelinefeed » Wed Mar 15, 2006 12:28 pm

What, you mean you'll live in a tent in the grounds of your country mansion as a protest that Richard Branson isn't paying you enough royalties? :headbang:
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby green strat man » Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:47 pm

i believe the protest to have been against the use of drum machines in the music industry.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Pringe » Sat Mar 18, 2006 11:42 am

David - a hungarian scale is (I think) the same as a harmonic minor. Also, one more scale to include would be the half / whole step dim. scale.



All this talk about modes...depends on what you want to apply them to. If it is for soloing and for developing a clear and coherant language (training your ear) then cool. But a better way to derive scales for soloing is to extend the chord(s) in the progression up to the 13th, thus giving you a series of tones which will form a scale. (often one of the modes above, which is maybe where modal use came from, since Bebop was based on the concept I just mentioned.)
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Pabs » Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:43 am

Pringe wrote:David - a hungarian scale is (I think) the same as a harmonic minor. Also, one more scale to include would be the half / whole step dim. scale.

All this talk about modes...depends on what you want to apply them to. If it is for soloing and for developing a clear and coherant language (training your ear) then cool. But a better way to derive scales for soloing is to extend the chord(s) in the progression up to the 13th, thus giving you a series of tones which will form a scale. (often one of the modes above, which is maybe where modal use came from, since Bebop was based on the concept I just mentioned.)


According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gypsy_scale

The Hungarian Gypsy scale is basically a Minor scale with a sharp 4th and sharp 7th.....so I guess you could call it an Harmonic minor with a sharpened 4th.

Also, according to http://www.looknohands.com/chordhouse/guitar/index_rb.html the hungarian minor and hungarian gypsy scale are exactly the same.

A Hungarian Minor
intervals: 1,2,b3,#4,5,b6,7
half-steps: 2-1-3-1-1-3-1
notes: A,B,C,D#,E,F,G#

A Hungarian Gypsy
intervals: 1,2,b3,#4,5,b6,7
half-steps: 2-1-3-1-1-3-1
notes: A,B,C,D#,E,F,G#

I think you are right about focusing on arpeggios or chord tones when improvising over complex changes esp in Jazz where chords (esp the dom 7th) are altered to create more tension. The scalar approach is fine for modal Jazz ('Impressions', 'So What' etc) and rock.


Slightly Off Topic: I'm currently writing a James Bond type song and the the whole chord progression is derived from a Melodic Minor scale (ascending).

Melodic Minor in A: A B C D E F# G#

Building 7th chords onto each Degree on each degree of the scale gives us the following chords:

1. Amin/maj7
2. Bmin7
3. Cmaj7#5
4. D7
5. E7
6. F#min7b5
7. G#min7b5

Basically what I'm saying is if you wanna try composing something different sounding, try harmonising 7th chords onto each degree of that exotic scale you found and come up with a chord progression based on those chords and then thematic material eg riffs, melodies etc based on that exotic scale.

You can even experiment with modes derived from the parent scale.. which in the case of A Melodic Minor as the parent scale would be:

1. A Melodic Minor
2. B Dorian b2
3. C Lydian Augmented
4. D Lydian Dominant
5. E Mixolydian b6
6. F# Locrian #2
7. G# Super Locrian

God I love composing!!! :bouncy:

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Tuppense worth

Postby Pobz » Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:39 pm

Good info here.

There are a few ways to comprehend the substance of modes, and imho the only method you need is the ionian structure.

If you take 2 being a tone (2 frets) and 1 being a semitone (1 fret) the structure is simple as: 2212221. Thats your major scale.

From THAT you derive any of the diatonic modes as described previously.

It's important to note that the minor scales, which are derived from the Aeolian mode, is the natural minor scale. The variations of Harmnonic are that the 7th note is sharpened, and the Melodic has the 6th & 7th shaprned ascending and the descending only in the natural minor (Aeolian mode) therefore flattening the 6th & 7th.

Ahh, it goes on.

If you get your head around 2212221 then you have essentially learned the most important theory in music, as everything stems from this. However, its important to recognise structure differences rather than fact of what it is.

2212221 - Ionian
2122212 - Dorian
1222122 - Phrygian
2221221 - Lydian
2212212 - Mixolydian
2122122 - Aeolian - Natural Minor
1221222 - Locrian

2122131 - Aeolian Minor Harmonic
2122221 - Aeolian Minor Melodic (Ascending Only)

You can also learn about key signatures from this too.
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby Pobz » Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:52 pm

feline1 wrote: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...

Do you mean an A flat or a G sharp.

feline1 wrote: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" ?

Yes and No. If I am working with a bunch of Jazz musicians, then talking about locrian mode is a must, so YES. If I am working with a bunch of self taught bedroom guitarists, then NO, I will use TAB or a system they understand like "play that fret instead of that one"
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Re: Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Postby rmacd » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:48 pm

feline1 wrote: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.

Of course you can, but what happens when you want to then explain some fantastic riff to someone? or the reasoning behind the harmonic progressions you choose?


feline1 wrote: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...

"a bit strange" ain't really good enough - you've got to be able to explain why, if you're explaining anything about your music to anyone else.


feline1 wrote: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" ?

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

Postby Ian Stewart » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:18 pm

rmacd wrote:


feline1 wrote: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...

"a bit strange" ain't really good enough - you've got to be able to explain why, if you're explaining anything about your music to anyone else.


Alternatively you could just use your ears and leave the esoteric explanations out altogether.
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