What is the point in Modes?

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  • merlinmerlin Frets: 2016
    "Happy" and "Sad" are purely culturally learned understandings and are not inherent. 
    Listen to Klezmer, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek folk tunes etc etc and you'll find that many happy tunes are played in "minor" modes. 
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  • merlinmerlin Frets: 2016
    Jalapeno said:
    Long overdue .....


    Superb film! 
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  • sev112 said:
    NelsonP said:

    it was useful saying that one of Santana’s songs sounds Dorian. Well that was useful.  Some more examples of other songs which are in certain modes will help us work out others :)



    The classic "introduction to modes" track is So What by Miles Davis. Unfortunately, its also Dorian!



    To be honest, anyone with an interest in modes* should just devour the entire Kind of Blue LP which is almost entirely modal. If I remember right, Blue In Green works its way through three or four modes and All Blues is basically mixolydian the whole way through. 



    *or just anyone with an interest in absolutely banging classics, to be honest...

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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3082
    viz said:
    merlin said:

    Think about Arabic/Turkish Music for a moment. They have incredibly complex modes (not scales) that contain not just quarter tones, but much smaller divisions. And they have amazing complex systems during improvisations to move between modes. Also those modes have specific melodic "personalities" that according to the system have to behave in certain ways, otherwise you're not actually playing the mode correctly. They're not just choices of notes ascending or descending, but the modes have very specific emotional and melodic shape. 
    Is that also true of Ecclesiastical modes? They weren't just sets of notes being a re-ordered scale, there were also rules about how you used those notes and what sequences of notes were legal?
    They weren’t rules so much as conventions - there were 4 modes and 4 hypomodes (like modes but bounded top and bottom by the dominant - a bit like the skye boat song or happy birthday, though they’re both Ionian, and Ionian (or hypoionian) wasn’t in the initial list of 4). 

    Edit: this is quite good: https://youtu.be/lyq48eybjZw
    I finally got around to watching this... really really interesting..
    thanks loads for posting it..
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 583
    edited January 8
    Most English traditional songs are in either the Ionian, Mixolydian, Dorian or Aeolian modes (or gapped scales derived from them).

    A good example of an Aeolian one is God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; also O Come Emmanuel.

    Dorian:



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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 1723
    axisus said:
    My main failing with modes and improv - am I correct in that you need to know all the underlying chords so that you know what mode to play over them? That's me royally fecked as I wouldn't have a clue unless they were written out.

    Also, does one change mode when chords change or generally stick with one??

    No that's wrong. You need to know the chord tones.

    You can use scales over chord progressions, but it is not the only approach.

    The idea that you change scale with each chord is a pathway to some very tedious music in my opinion.


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  • newi123newi123 Frets: 450
    Steve922 said:
    I just don't get it. Apparently, Phrygian Mode is different to Mixolydian Mode or Ionian Mode or .....  But they all use the same notes! So what gives?
       Don't misunderstand, I believe I know what the various modes are, i.e. simply playing the same 7 (or 8) notes in the same order but starting on a different one. My question is why? i.e. what is the point? Since there's so many people referring to these modes I'm assuming there is a point, I'd like to know what I'm missing.
    You can get very very complicated in thinking about modes..............

    The statement above is both correct and incorrect. If you`re for example playing a c major scale against a chord sequence of C major, A minor, F major and G, then you are indeed playing the same notes but playing four different modes when viewed against the individual chords. For me this really isn`t what most people mean when they talk about modes, as the whole thing has one very obvious tonal center - in this case C major.

    However, if you start to compare C Ionian / Major, C Aeolian, C Mixolydian, C Lydian etc directly against each other you really get an idea of how the different modes sound - and in each case they do now have different intervals to create the scale, which gives the different `flavours` 

    I find the best way to do this is to record a simple one chord groove yourself - just the root note on bass or guitar - and start to play the different modes for that root note against it. You`ll quickly hear they sound vastly different. C Aeolian will be familiar from countless 80s rock widdling, C Ionian (major) is familiar as ingrained in our western music, C Mixolydian will give a bluesy edge, and C Lydian is instant Vai.

    And in talking about the Miles Davis above - that is why it is so obviously modal - the groove has a very obvious key center (often a one chord vamp) and the dorian mode is played against that. 


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  • Steve922Steve922 Frets: 38
    Thanks SO much for all the replies guys. I'm the OP but have been really ill since posting so am only just reading the replies.  There looks to be a load of info/opinions/etc. here and much to try to digest. I suspect it is going to be hard going for me. I'm looking forward to being confused?  :-)
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  • BradBrad Frets: 232
    Steve922 said:
    Thanks SO much for all the replies guys. I'm the OP but have been really ill since posting so am only just reading the replies.  There looks to be a load of info/opinions/etc. here and much to try to digest. I suspect it is going to be hard going for me. I'm looking forward to being confused?  :-)
    Learn to enjoy the pain :smile: As there are many ways to approach this, there are always going to be a lot of differing view points but it helps looking at things from a different perspective every now and then. Stick with it, you’ll get there. And when you do, you’ll wonder what the big deal was :wink:

    Here’s an example of the approach I’m talking about (getting modes from a fixed point). Solo is around the 2:20 mark. 

    https://youtu.be/Mj7CbQeQzu8


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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 642
    Emporor’s New Clothes methinks. ....... ;)

    (lights touch paper, retreats and watches ... ‘
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