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Key and Modes advice

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Key and Modes advice

Postby m1a1t » Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:24 am

Hi, I am working through learning keys and modes properly on guitar, I've been playing 20 years but only working it out properly now - doh and I would really appreciate just a little clarity on what I am doing from the wizards here.

So I made a practice track, it's in E Major that I'm aware of, it uses two chords only sort of 8 bars each just droning on EM9 and AM7.

I have learned all the 7 modal scale shapes and its a beautiful little backing sequence for storming through these scales. On a piano I suppose it's a lot easier to figure out with just using the white keys - and also being able to play both rhythm and lead - one with each hand but on guitar, a little more complex.

Anyway, I digress, what I want to know is that am I right that this is E Major? (pretty sure that is right) but what is making me less sure is that in using the modal scales to play lead over my sequence I am getting more of a meloncholic vibe that I wouldn't have expected from playing the Major scale. I understand that the start and stop root note is what defines the mode but well I guess I'm just confused because I am learning and also using this M9 chord.

I hope you understand where I am here without me explaining more, I look forward to hearing your comments, Many thanks.
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Re: Key and Modes advice

Postby damoore » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:08 pm

How are you treating the Amaj7? That's the IV chord of E but also the I chord of A. So you could be playing modes from either scale over it.

If using A then you lose d#, so that could give you a minorish feel.

On the other hand you may be sensing that from the modes on Ii Iii and Vi; Dorian , Phrygian,Aeolian, which all have a minor third above the modal centre.

Not much useful info there, but I don't think there is anything wrong with what you are doing or hearing. In any case, even if there were, if it results in interesting music, it's not wrong.
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Re: Key and Modes advice

Postby artzmusic » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:18 pm

damoore has made a very astute observation here and I would have to agree.

As a bit of advice, forget about modes for a little bit in order to do this exercise FIRST....
Play all the chords of the E Major scale in succession. And since you know the E scale in each of it's positions, as you play each chord, pause and noodle with the E scale in that position. It doesn't matter which notes you hit as long as they are in the E scale.
Move along to the next chord and play what you find in the E scale in that position.

You will find your treatment of the A chord is different from what you are playing now and represents the notes contained somewhere within the mode you are looking for.

To sum this up, first make sure you have the scale notes readily at hand surrounding each of the chords in the key. This may take an entire month of practice for a couple hours each day. Your ears and fingers will then start working together.

THEN, your ears will find the modes as a matter of course. In my opinion, modes are only a way of describing what you will have learned AFTER you've learned them.

I usually recommend the Key of G for one month. Then the Key of C for one month as the roots start on different strings and it really prepares for playing in any key whatsoever.

You'll be having fun with this in no time!
All the best to you

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Re: Key and Modes advice

Postby petev3.1 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:22 pm

Thanks artzmusic. Very practical and useful advice.
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