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Modes: don't you just love 'em?

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

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:38 am
by guy999
leslawrenson wrote:
...for example, if you want to stay in the Dorian mode, you can alter your scalar playing whenever the band change chords. So the band stay in the one key, but you exploit the chord change to retain the Dorian signature (ie you effectively start playing in a different key).
Can you give me a quick example of a chord progression and a set of corresponding notes play from staying in the dorian mode?

This stuff is beginning to come clearer, but I need a concrete example for my sanity :headbang:

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

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:41 am
by Rousseau
guy999 wrote:
leslawrenson wrote:
...for example, if you want to stay in the Dorian mode, you can alter your scalar playing whenever the band change chords. So the band stay in the one key, but you exploit the chord change to retain the Dorian signature (ie you effectively start playing in a different key).

Can you give me a quick example of a chord progression and a set of corresponding notes play from staying in the dorian mode?

This stuff is beginning to come clearer, but I need a concrete example for my sanity :headbang:



In order to really understand how modes work, you need to understand the concept of Tonality. But beyond that:


Let's take D Dorian as an example. The governing principle of the mode (what gives it its particular flavour and distinguishes from other modes) is the major sixth above the final or root, the minor 3rd and the natural (or flattend 7th if you're thinking in tonal terms).


So it follows that common chords in Dorian (in this example Dorian on D) are:

D Min

F Maj

G maj (this is where the major 6th comes into play and differs from a key - ie chord 4 in a minor key is always minor, but in Dorian it's always major)

C Maj (this is chord 7 and it's major; in a minor key it would be diminished)

A Min (Chord 5; in a minor this would be Major (we'd have a C#) but in Dorian, chord 5 is always minor)

E Min (this is where the major 6th comes into play; chord 2 in a minor key is always diminshed)

B Diminished (chord 6 is dimished in dorian, whereas in a minor key it would be major)


So, all the primary chords are there as in any 'key', but note how the governing principle of the mode alters the way the harmony works.

Indeed, to put it another way, many ppl confuse D minor with D Dorian. But they are fundamentally different - consider the following:

As we know F Major is the relative major of D Minor

How can we tell whether we're in F maj or D min? In the KEY of D minor we'd see C#s (leading note) and Bbs and indeed a gravitation towards D.

Now how can we tell if we're in D minor or D Dorian? Simple. No C#s (since modes do not need sharpened leading notes in order to modulate - because they don't modulate! And they don't modulate because modulation is a tonal concept and construct), and this means that chord 5 in Dorian is always minor (whereas it is always must be major in a KEY). And we wouldn't see Bbs either, because of the major 6th flavour of the mode.

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

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:32 am
by Ronnie Wibbley
And I thought I was confused when I woke up this morning...

I've been struggling with this for weeks now and am still puzzled as to when to use these patterns. As a soloing device, is it just a question of picking whichever "major" sounding mode (IV, V) sounds best in a major chord progression and whichever "minor" (II, III, VI, VII) in a minor one?

Mind you, I also find playing the tambourine harmonically challenging...

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:13 pm
by guy999
Today I was very bored at work so I wrote out all of the modes for every note, and I think its starting to sink in. I made a quick progression on cubase to practice learning different positions to (like someone said, if you know major shape at every position you know every mode, but I don't!), it basically goes through each mode in D, so to play along you need to play D ionian, dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian, aoelian, locrian in turn, each one for 6 bars (of 7/8). I'm finding it quite helpful, so I did a quick mixdown and i'm posting the mp3 which should loop nicely if anyone else wants to have a go. If you want the midi file or whatever pm me.

http://www.sharebigfile.com/file/194560/modes-mp3.html

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

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:25 pm
by Daniel Davis
No, they are not derived from the major scale - which came much later than the 'church' modes. And playing in a mode means something rather different than playing that shape on a guitar neck.
e.g. play an Ionian starting on C followed by a dorian starting on D followed by Phrygian starting on E, Lydian on F, Myxolydian on G, Aolian on A, Locrian on B, and finally Ionian starting on C.
You have played nothing other than an exercise in C major and have never left the Ionian mode.
The correct mode depends on how you use the notes and characteristic intervals of the mode - and if its not in unison it depends on the harmony. And just to throw a spanner in the works, most mediaeval music does not stick to just the notes of the mode, but commonly uses accidentals just like later tonal music. Learning how to widdle at different places on a guitar neck may be a good exercise and even improve playing technique and improvisation - but it isn't modal 99.9% of the time.

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

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:55 pm
by Daniel Davis
David Etheridge wrote:(I 've heard of a 'Hungarian' mode, but don't know anything about it)

:crazy:

The Hungarian mode is basically the overtone scale so in C that is: C, D, E, F#, G, A, Bb
(In the actual harmonic series the F# and Bb are both somewhat flat of their equal temperament equivalents)
The harmonic scale works especially well where it is the melody used over a drone - so every interval is pure.
Bagpipes use this scale but with a perfect 4th instead of the harmonic 4th (so basically mixolydian, but tuned to exact harmonics not tempered) - apparently the lure of the submediant is strong.

Re: Tuppense worth

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:25 pm
by Daniel Davis
I'll concede that thinking of modes with respect to the Ionian (major) mode has some practical uses, but it is neither how they were derived not does it have much to do with sound.

Another approach might be to order the modes in terms of sharp - flat thus:

Lydian
Ionian
Myxolydian
Dorian
Aolian
Phrygian
Locrian

As you see, the Dorian mode, which incidentally was the most common mode, sits midway along this progression, and can be seen as neutral, with the modes on either side becoming progressivly sharpened or flattened.

I think you'll find this arrangement useful for composition as you shift moods in the music. We've all heard pieces where a melody in the major was repeated in the minor (far sadder than had it always been in the minor), now try the same in two or more modes so that you can progressively move the feel of the melody.

hope you like this different perspective.

Re: Tuppense worth

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:10 pm
by David Etheridge
Many thanks for the info Daniel!

Dave. :)

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

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:51 pm
by matt keen
I have found it useful and inteeresting studying modes

Thats so that i can make sure that I am harmonising correctly/within the mode

Its also mainly cos I a play mainly english traditional music, and quite a bit of that is modal - mainly dorian and mixolydian (I won't be stupid and say the rest is Aelion and Ionian), but they are

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

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:01 pm
by Pabs
Daniel Davis wrote:
David Etheridge wrote:(I 've heard of a 'Hungarian' mode, but don't know anything about it)

:crazy:

The Hungarian mode is basically the overtone scale so in C that is: C, D, E, F#, G, A, Bb

Looks like the bottom half of a Lydian mode and the top half of a mixolydian mode. Those crazy Hungarians!

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

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:16 am
by Pauly99
Looks like the bottom half of a Lydian mode and the top half of a mixolydian mode. Those crazy Hungarians!

In Jazz piano, we'd just call that Lydian dominant

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

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:04 pm
by Pabs
Pauly99 wrote:
Looks like the bottom half of a Lydian mode and the top half of a mixolydian mode. Those crazy Hungarians!

In Jazz piano, we'd just call that Lydian dominant

Ah yes I should have recognised it sooner! So what we are saying is that the the Ovetone/Acoustic scale and the Lydian Dominant mode are one in the same. Who'd though a link between Bartok and post-'Bop Jazz.

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

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:08 pm
by Beckford
the Hungarian mode, is Hungarian Gypsy, or so I'm told. This site might be helpful for people wanting to check which scales fit with which chords, or which scales a particular riff could be utilising....http://chordsandscales.co.uk/finder/ (not my site, btw)

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

PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:57 pm
by mrthingy
I've been trying to "get" modes for a while and I think I have now.

Don't know if the terminology is all correct but my understanding is that it (baicly) playing in a key, but 'basing' the music around a note other than the first degree of that key?

For example D Dorian uses C D E F G A B from C major scale, but to get the 'dorian' sound you have to make D the over-riding, inflencial note rather than C.

Is that right?

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

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:47 am
by Rousseau
Yes. It's important to remember that each mode has a governing principle which gives it its character.

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

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:04 pm
by Wurlitzer
Pabs! wrote:
Pauly99 wrote:
Looks like the bottom half of a Lydian mode and the top half of a mixolydian mode. Those crazy Hungarians!

In Jazz piano, we'd just call that Lydian dominant

Ah yes I should have recognised it sooner! So what we are saying is that the Overtone/Acoustic scale and the Lydian Dominant mode are one in the same. Who'd though a link between Bartok and post-'Bop Jazz.

In fact, a huge amount of modern jazz harmony comes from or is at least influenced by early 20th century classical music. Not so much Bartok, but Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky etc.

Debussy used the acoustic scale too, for similar reasons to Bartok and Daniel's point about Bagpipes above - the fact that it corresponds (approximately) to all real overtones has a nice resonant "earthy" effect over a sustained tonic drone.

I think the Lydian Dominant in jazz is somewhat different: It has more to do with the idea of tritone substitution, so working the flattened supertonic into what would otherwise just be the natural mode on the dominant.

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

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:35 pm
by Wurlitzer
mrthingy wrote:I've been trying to "get" modes for a while and I think I have now.

Don't know if the terminology is all correct but my understanding is that it (baicly) playing in a key, but 'basing' the music around a note other than the first degree of that key?

For example D Dorian uses C D E F G A B from C major scale, but to get the 'dorian' sound you have to make D the over-riding, inflencial note rather than C.

Is that right?

Technically that's correct, for the diatonic mdoes anyway - Dorian, Lydian etc.

For example if you play entirely on the white notes of the piano, normally you would think you're playing "in" C Major, and C does indeed tend to naturally exert the greatest amount of "gravity".

But if you insistently base your phrasing and thinking around D instead, you can make D sound like the centre of gravity, and the music will be dorian.

This is a good start for being able to work out any mode and get going. For example if we're rehearsing a song you don't know and I shout over to you "it's just E dorian!", then if you know that the dorian mode is the one based on the second degree of the major scale, you can quickly work out that E dorian will be based on the second degree of the D major scale, and will be E F# G A B C# D E, and jam along.

OTOH, it's a little bit arse over tit in some ways, because the original modes weren't derived from the major scale, the major scale emerged out of the modal system.

To really get into modes and get a feel for how they work, it's important to be able to think of them instantly in relation to their own tonic (sorry Rousseau - "final" ;)). You do that by learning the distinctive tone and semitone pattern of each mode. So for example dorian is T-S-T-T-T-S-T above the tonic. Follow that pattern and you'll come up with the same notes above upon E, but without having to go via the "key" of D.

In practice, I think what I tend to do is think in terms of the two primary modes that I know best through training - the ionian (major scale) and aeolian (natural minor scale), with alterations. So the dorian is the natural minor scale but with a raised 6th degree; the mixolydian is a major scale but with a lowered 7th degree etc.

In doing this, I'm still thinking in terms of the tonicity of the mode itself, not relating it back to some hypothetical major "key" on a different root. This way you start to feel more and more the real character of each mode, because you're hearing and feeling how each scale degree of the mode sounds in relation to it's OWN tonic.

There is a whole other school of thought about modes, to do with their use in improvising upon different chords within a key, as elaborated by people like Jamie Abersold. So when you see "Em7 - A7 - Dmaj7", you think "Dorian mode on E - Mixolydian mode on A - Ionian mode on D". Here the identity of each mode IS much more to do with its relationship to the overall "parent" key.

But personally I think that school of thought is a load of bollox, and only manages to add an unnecessary layer of intellectualisation to improvising that doesn't serve any useful purpose.

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

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:47 pm
by Rousseau
Wurlitzer wrote:
But personally I think that school of thought is a load of bollox, and only manages to add an unnecessary layer of intellectualisation to improvising that doesn't serve any useful purpose.

Absolutely.

I think you make a good point about getting to know the modes through hearing and experiencing their differences, rather than intellectualising them. And to that extent I'd recommend using just the white notes to begin with - you'll soon get a flavour of each mode by changing the drone.

Cheers

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

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 10:31 pm
by rz
As a guitarist who does lots of improvising/composing I find modal concepts to be very useful and not the least 'soul-less'. The point about modes is the accompanying harmony - play a minor/m7 chord and there are immediately 3 modes (Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian) that you can choose to use from the Diatonic scale. I kinda categorise these as 'Jazzy minor', 'Spanishy minor' and 'Romantic minor', respectively. And so on.

Just remember its the chord formed from the mode that makes it useful -as in Miles' ' So What' (D Dorian/Eb Dorian).

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

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:57 am
by Glyn Barnes
Many years ago I used to play an Appalachian dulcimer. This is a very basic fretted instrument, typically there is a single melody string and two drone strings. The fret board has a diatonic scale; some models have a couple of extra frets to make it easier to tune in different modes without changing strings.

Given that this a very basic instrument harmonically it is important to understand modes in order to get any thing out of it. The Drone strings are typically tuned a 5th apart. The melody string is tuned so the lower string is one octave below the melody string when it’s fretted on the root note for the mode. A lot of traditional music is in the Dorian or Mixolydian modes, these have a very Celtic flavour due to the whole tone between the 7th and the tonic.