You are here

Modes: don't you just love 'em?

Arrangement, instrumentation, lyric writing, music theory, inspiration… it’s all here.

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?
ramthelinefeed
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2619
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 12:00 am
Location: UK
A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are tossed with!
 

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
User avatar
green strat man
Poster
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am

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:
ramthelinefeed
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2619
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 12:00 am
Location: UK
A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are tossed with!
 

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.
User avatar
green strat man
Poster
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am

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.)
Pringe
Regular
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am

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:

Pabs
User avatar
Pabs
Regular
Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:00 am
 

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.
Pobz
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2002 12:00 am

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"
Pobz
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2002 12:00 am

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.
rmacd
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2004 12:00 am
Location: UK

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.
Ian Stewart
Frequent Poster
Posts: 659
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2005 12:00 am

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

Postby Ian Stewart » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:33 pm

Am I alone in thinking that the subject of modes is the most boring subject in music? I personally would rather discuss the different qualities of paper software manuals are printed on. This obsession with modes is responsable for some of the most boring jazz ever produced.

I'm with Feline1 here - as far as I am concerned a Cmajor chord over Db is precisely that. It is not related to any mode, you do not hear it as a mode and cannot be explained as a mode.

Modes are the Linus blanket for people who can't let go and just use their ears.
Ian Stewart
Frequent Poster
Posts: 659
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2005 12:00 am

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

Postby rmacd » Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:45 am

noiseconjecture wrote:Am I alone in thinking that the subject of modes is the most boring subject in music? I personally would rather discuss the different qualities of paper software manuals are printed on.
a sad existance, that would be.

noiseconjecture wrote:This obsession with modes is responsable for some of the most boring jazz ever produced.
way off.

noiseconjecture wrote:I'm with Feline1 here - as far as I am concerned a Cmajor chord over Db is precisely that. It is not related to any mode, you do not hear it as a mode and cannot be explained as a mode.
If that's how you explain it, then that's cool - as long as everyone else understands what you mean. Just try using that method to explain the harmonies at the beginning of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.....
rmacd
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2004 12:00 am
Location: UK

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

Postby Ian Stewart » Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:35 am

rmacd wrote:

noiseconjecture wrote:I'm with Feline1 here - as far as I am concerned a Cmajor chord over Db is precisely that. It is not related to any mode, you do not hear it as a mode and cannot be explained as a mode.
If that's how you explain it, then that's cool - as long as everyone else understands what you mean. Just try using that method to explain the harmonies at the beginning of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.....

But remember there is a tradition polytonality in music, particularly in French music in the twenties and to try and analyse these harmonies in terms of modes would not work, particularly as this isn't where the composers were coming from.
Although I realise that the Indian tradition of raga is strict, the Western tradition has never been this strict for centuries. I personally believe that limiting yourself to modes, or analysis using modes, misses the point of what Western composers are doing.
I haven't analysed the Rite of Spring for years so have forgotten it, IIRC the opening is exactly what Feline1 is talking about, the bass notes are not releated to the bassoon theme through any mode or scale.

I suppose I'm really a contradiction, although I often have an atavistic approach to composition, I never, ever use modes.

Just read you bio, I'm really impressed with you television music.
Ian Stewart
Frequent Poster
Posts: 659
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2005 12:00 am

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

Postby thejazzassassin » Fri Jun 30, 2006 10:08 am

Stravinsky definitely took influence from the modal system - he also loved jazz and tried to infuse the spirit of jazz (! 8-)) into much of his work.

Perhaps Stravinsky's greatest influence and hallmark is his bitonality, easily confused with modality: this is especially evident in the Rite of Spring. I would say that this polarity, the sudden breaks in the piece, the general contrasting moments and his wholly new idea of musical timing are all much more prevalent than any modality in the piece.

The opening, and much of the Rite of Spring is two or more key centers that oppose, being united. Amongst other things!

For modality try the Lark Ascending or Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams. Both seriously modal.
User avatar
thejazzassassin
Regular
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Billingbear

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

Postby rmacd » Fri Jun 30, 2006 10:10 am

noiseconjecture wrote:
But remember there is a tradition polytonality in music, particularly in French music in the twenties and to try and analyse these harmonies in terms of modes would not work, particularly as this isn't where the composers were coming from.
Although I realise that the Indian tradition of raga is strict, the Western tradition has never been this strict for centuries. I personally believe that limiting yourself to modes, or analysis using modes, misses the point of what Western composers are doing.
I haven't analysed the Rite of Spring for years so have forgotten it, IIRC the opening is exactly what Feline1 is talking about, the bass notes are not releated to the bassoon theme through any mode or scale.

indeed it's quite true, though stravinsky was a genius, the main influence would not have been the theory behind what was being composed, but what it sounded like (correct me here if I'm wrong). there's other ways, apart from modes, to analyse a work; one that seems to be coming about is schenkerian analasys but I have absolutely no idea what it is or what it's supposed to do :bouncy: slightly OT but any ideas??

noiseconjecture wrote:Just read you bio, I'm really impressed with you television music.
cheers man!
rmacd
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2004 12:00 am
Location: UK

PreviousNext