Do you use Major Scale MODES? Do you really understand them?

What's Hot
2

Comments

  • vizviz Frets: 5917
    edited February 2019



    sev112 said:
    viz said:
    sev112 said:
    Another long thread on modes.
    i can play the, all, I can remember them, I know why they exist, and I know they apparently have different feel

    still haven’t got a clue how to use them in day to day playing 


    Just play something with them and see what pops out. 
    I appreciate that, but it doesn’t help
    i can noodle til the cows come home
    and certainly since the recent post of Modal something or other which basically says you can just pick any note you want anywhere on the neck because it belongs to a different chord that’s not in the scale or progression and that’s fine !?

    is it the chord that you are playing over or the progression which defines / suggests the mode ?
    e.g. Am C Dm sounds like A Aeolian, by might be Dorian? 
    What if I stick E7 on the end ?  E7 isn’t in the scale above, so can I just play E Mixolydian over that chord because A aeolian doesn’t suit it?

    im not looking for that specific answer, but can you see that’s what I mean when I ask “how you use them”?
    .







    Yep I see. 

    I think the missing link for you could be the chords. 

    You know Dorian is Aeolian but with a raised 6th. But so what? You noodle away in dorian but why, and so what?


    Well maybe this is interesting for you:



    If Dorian has a raised 6th, what does that tell you about the chords underneath? The most important chord in dorian (apart from the minor i chord) is that it has a MAJOR IV chord!!! It can’t have a minor iv, because then the raised 6th would be absent. 

    So in your example above, Am, C, Dm, that can never be dorian because the iv chord is minor. It’s gotta be Aeolian. But as soon as you hear minor i and major IV, it’s Dorian. 

    Here are some examples:

    Hank: Apache
    https://youtu.be/EzgbcyfJgfQ

    DLR: Coconut Grove
    https://youtu.be/kQZQ38mO3OA

    The Mission: dancing barefoot
    https://youtu.be/f7yDGjxeX2U

    Venus
    https://youtu.be/d4-1ASpdT1Y






    You know each mode has a signature notes in the scale but they all also have signature harmonies:

    Major I and Major II? Lydian. 
    Major I and Major bVII? Mixolydian. 

    Minor i and minor iv? Aeolian
    Minor i and Major IV? Dorian
    Minor i and minor vii? Phrygian. 


    Is that of interest?






    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
    0reaction image LOL 1reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • RolandRoland Frets: 3339
    sev112 said:
    viz said:
    sev112 said:
    Another long thread on modes.
    i can play the, all, I can remember them, I know why they exist, and I know they apparently have different feel

    still haven’t got a clue how to use them in day to day playing 
    Just play something with them and see what pops out. 
    ... is it the chord that you are playing over or the progression which defines / suggests the mode ?
    e.g. Am C Dm sounds like A Aeolian, by might be Dorian? 
    What if I stick E7 on the end ?  E7 isn’t in the scale above, so can I just play E Mixolydian over that chord because A aeolian doesn’t suit it?

    im not looking for that specific answer, but can you see that’s what I mean when I ask “how you use them”?
    Modes don’t tell you which notes to play. They are an academic explanation of the notes you have played. At best they tell you what are the safe notes. So if you’re playing C major and you put in a flattened 7th note (Bb) instead of the natural 7th (B) then someone could say that you’ve used the A mixolydian mode. Actually what you’ve done is just used a flattened 7th because it suited what you were playing.

    If you’re playing in a minor key then the analysis can rapidly get more complicated. There are a lot of different notes that you can throw in without sounding strange. The Pink Panther theme is a good example.  Depending on how you choose to analyse it those notes can either be called incidentals, or you’ve moved between Aeolian, Locrian, and melodic minor scales. In truth all you’ve done is played in a minor key and thrown in some melodic interest.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • sev112 said:
    viz said:
    sev112 said:
    Another long thread on modes.
    i can play the, all, I can remember them, I know why they exist, and I know they apparently have different feel

    still haven’t got a clue how to use them in day to day playing 


    Just play something with them and see what pops out. 
    I appreciate that, but it doesn’t help
    i can noodle til the cows come home
    and certainly since the recent post of Modal something or other which basically says you can just pick any note you want anywhere on the neck because it belongs to a different chord that’s not in the scale or progression and that’s fine !?

    is it the chord that you are playing over or the progression which defines / suggests the mode ?
    e.g. Am C Dm sounds like A Aeolian, by might be Dorian? 
    What if I stick E7 on the end ?  E7 isn’t in the scale above, so can I just play E Mixolydian over that chord because A aeolian doesn’t suit it?

    im not looking for that specific answer, but can you see that’s what I mean when I ask “how you use them”?
    .
    The chord defines the  mode, not the progression.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • sev112sev112 Frets: 782
    Thanks - 3 very helpful posts :)

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I like that video as it does help to hear how the modes can sound.

    I think a lot of confusion about modes is down to a misconception that they are 'scales'.  They are not scales. Scales have a number of key features some of which are common to all scales and some make certain scales unique (i.e. the Diatonic scales - Major  & its relative Natural Minor).  The 'core' common feature of any scale is that it has a 'tonal centre' i.e. a tonic note, around which all other notes in the scale consistently and predictably interact in terms of our hearing/recognition of that scale.  That is why the human ear recognises a scale and is able to differentiate one scale from another.

    Modes, however, are not scales* as they do not have their own tonal centre - that is determined by the parent (Major) scale and its key signature.  What they do have, however, is a unique tonal quality.  This is due to two factors.  Firstly, the different scale intervals they possess relative to each other and the parent (Major) scale.  Secondly,  the effect of the scale's tonic note shifting its position (between 1 and 7) within each mode and, consequently, performing a different modal tonal function (Tonic, Supertonic, Mediant, Sub-Dominant, Dominant, Sub-Mediant, Leading/Sub-tonic) within each mode relative to the parent (Major) scale and each other.  These 2 interactive factors are what makes each mode sound/feel different even though the same scale notes are being played. No book or online source I found on the subject of major scale modes ever explained that yet how can modes be properly understood or explored without having a clear perspective on what they are and why they sound the way they do?  I deduced that myself from writing my book via a logical (to me) and structured analysis of  what the major scale is, how the modes are derived from it and how they work/sound in relation to it and each other.  Of course, the above perspective focuses on the 'Melodic' or 'Horizontal' dimension of modes i.e. playing notes as a melody line.  The 'Harmonic' or 'Vertical' dimension of modes is a much more complex matter as witnessed by the many contributions to this thread so far.  

    *The question of what modes are if they are not scales is also explored in my book.  Of course, they are simply 'Modes' but for reasons explained in my book I prefer to call them 'Root Variants' (of the parent scale) because that is the way I see them logically working in relation to the (Major) scale and each other. 


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • sev112sev112 Frets: 782
    another video where a more knowledgeable and talented person than me attempts to explain modes using subjective feelings for what something sounds like .  

    We get people saying Aeolian is Blues, that Dorian is Dave Gimour, Mixo... is rock etc etc. On top of major being “happy” and minor being “unhappy”

    I cannot believe it is this subjective if they have been a key part of music theory for hundreds of years.  There must be some science to them?

    what I’d really like to know is how they taught modes to young Herr Beethoven, Signore Rossini and young Comrade Tchaikovsky when they were moving past grade 5 theory in their primary schools in 1647 or whenever they were around

    “ok children, today we are doing the Aeolian mode.  To use the Aeolian mode you have to imagine that you have been subjected to hundreds of years of slavery and this allows you to play a minor 3rd note alongside a major chord, and if you combine it with the 5th it will remind you of the steam trains which will provide your route to escape from your miserable life, if you can imagine what a steam train is”

    or 
    “in 300 years time the only people who will have long wavy hair like you currently have will be outcasts of society, who will play a special type of lute which makes much more noise than you think is possible using something called electricity but which makes the noise sound very muffled and like a loud squeal of a pig being slaughtered.  If you can imagine the music of those peoples, that is the Mixolydian”


    So so can anyone point me to a reference which explains how they taught modes to the classical composers ?  




    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 3403
    edited March 2019
    I was jamming last night in Am, so I identified the tonic and the dominant, and then I decided to start my melody line on the 7/G, because it sounded great against the chord progression I was using. I didn't really care what mode I was in, as I had already plotted out all the usable notes that sounded good in that context. I like to construct sound palettes, consisting of both note values and timbres, and then work within those constraints. The secret is knowing when to use chord tones and non-chord tones, and I usually chart my stuff when I get past the messing about stage, as it helps with arranging/orchestration. I think I am typical of a self-taught person, as I have constructed a system that meets my own personal needs, and I'm not even sure if it would be easily understood by other players. In that sense formal music theory is useful, as it is a common language.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 5917
    edited March 2019
    I like that video as it does help to hear how the modes can sound.

    I think a lot of confusion about modes is down to a misconception that they are 'scales'.  They are not scales. Scales have a number of key features some of which are common to all scales and some make certain scales unique (i.e. the Diatonic scales - Major  & its relative Natural Minor).  The 'core' common feature of any scale is that it has a 'tonal centre' i.e. a tonic note, around which all other notes in the scale consistently and predictably interact in terms of our hearing/recognition of that scale.  That is why the human ear recognises a scale and is able to differentiate one scale from another.

    Modes, however, are not scales* as they do not have their own tonal centre - that is determined by the parent (Major) scale and its key signature.  What they do have, however, is a unique tonal quality.  This is due to two factors.  Firstly, the different scale intervals they possess relative to each other and the parent (Major) scale.  Secondly,  the effect of the scale's tonic note shifting its position (between 1 and 7) within each mode and, consequently, performing a different modal tonal function (Tonic, Supertonic, Mediant, Sub-Dominant, Dominant, Sub-Mediant, Leading/Sub-tonic) within each mode relative to the parent (Major) scale and each other.  These 2 interactive factors are what makes each mode sound/feel different even though the same scale notes are being played. No book or online source I found on the subject of major scale modes ever explained that yet how can modes be properly understood or explored without having a clear perspective on what they are and why they sound the way they do?  I deduced that myself from writing my book via a logical (to me) and structured analysis of  what the major scale is, how the modes are derived from it and how they work/sound in relation to it and each other.  Of course, the above perspective focuses on the 'Melodic' or 'Horizontal' dimension of modes i.e. playing notes as a melody line.  The 'Harmonic' or 'Vertical' dimension of modes is a much more complex matter as witnessed by the many contributions to this thread so far.  

    *The question of what modes are if they are not scales is also explored in my book.  Of course, they are simply 'Modes' but for reasons explained in my book I prefer to call them 'Root Variants' (of the parent scale) because that is the way I see them logically working in relation to the (Major) scale and each other. 


    Hi dude - thanks for such an interesting post! I have a contrary point to make, which is that modes can be thought of relatively (as in, relative to their parent major or minor scale), or absolutely, as scales in their own right. There are 462 heptatonic scales, of which major, minor, dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian and locrian are but 7 (the 7 diatonic scales by the way). 

    They are all heptatonic scales (from the Italian scala meaning ladder) because they all have a root note and 7 rungs to the octave above. Sure they are similar to major and minor (as are harmonic and melodic minor scales), but that is only one feature of them - it doesn’t mean they aren’t scales in their own right.

    i think the best way to discuss those modes is a) as for example a flat 7 palette of notes in V position, and b) as a mixolydian scale on which to base a piece. 

    Summary: you can think of modes in two ways. 
    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Hi dude - thanks for such an interesting post! I have a contrary point to make, which is that modes can be thought of relatively (as in, relative to their parent major or minor scale), or absolutely, as scales in their own right. There are 462 heptatonic scales, of which major, minor, dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian and locrian are but 7 (the 7 diatonic scales by the way). 

    Thanks viz. 

    Your perspective made me think back to how I tried in my book to logically reconcile (for myself) what music theory defines as 'scales' and what it says about 'modes'.  'Scales' have plenty of consistent definitions in the literature.  'Modes' on the other hand abound with inconsistent, confusing and contradictory literature. 

    So i started with what the theory books say about the Major Scale i.e. diatonic(notes are relative to a tonal centre), all natural notes, 5 full and 2 half tone steps, etc.  Then I asked myself can modes also be scales if they exist only within the context of the (Major) scale? If the scale is defined by its tonic note(the key signature) how can each of the modes also be scales in themselves when they (6 of them) actually are defined by a 'root' note other than the (Major Scale) 'tonic' note? There is an inherent contradiction there which I could only reconcile by not thinking of modes as 'scales' but as something else, which I call 'root variants' (of the major scale). 

    I developed this reconciliation in my book by exploring beyond the general conventional wisdom that modes sound different simply because they have different intervals.  I suggest that they also sound different because the tonal centre, 'tonic' note (of the Major Scale) shifts position sequentially and changes its tonality function within each mode. I have not found that analysis anywhere else and, of course, my interpretation could be flawed.   

    However, despite my attempt at a theoretical explanation I accept that, in practical terms, .we treat modes as scales in the way we play them. 

    Coming from a semi-scientific background I find music theory to be a pandora's box of such contradictions and unexplained and unproven assertions and yet, given its mathematical foundations I don't follow why this should be so.  However, I am really just a belated beginner on my musical journey so perhaps I'm expecting too much.


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 5917
    edited March 2019
    Fascinating and great stuff again. 

    I think you might have placed an artificial constraint in your framework that is then throwing up irreconcilable issues. 

    Firstly, the tonic is not just the root note of the major scale, but of any scale. A piece in a minor key has a tonal centre and therefore a I-chord, or a tonic; it also has a V chord, a IV chord and all the other chords. Therefore the minor scale degrees are: tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant, subtonic (minor lacks the leading-tone) and tonic. 

    Likewise Dorian and Mixolydian and the other diatonic modal scales also have a tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, etc. Some of them lack a leading-tone, others lack a subdominant or a dominant, but in all cases they have a tonic. Bb Dorian’s tonic is Bb not Ab. 

    Secondly, you say the scale is defined by its key signature, but this is not quite correct. The scale is defined by its key, because key-note and tonic are synonyms; the key signature is just the most convenient way a composer wishes to describe the palette of notes.

    These two facts unlock all the inconsistencies. Obviously everyone is familiar, having clarified the tonic note, with asking the question “is it major or minor?”. And then if minor the convention is to use the key sig for the relative major. if this were not the case, a piece in A minor would have a key signature of 3 sharps and have every note naturalised in the music! I guess if you were particularly perverse you could even have a key sig of Db major and spatter the music with accidentals. 

    But with Dorian for example, the choice of using the relevant key sig as though it were Aeolian (ie the Aeolian’s relative Ionian) and sharpening all the 6th notes in the music, or using the key sig of Dorian’s diatonic Ionian key, is one for the composer. I prefer the former because I see Dorian as a type of minor scale not a mode of major; others prefer the latter. 

    Then when we come to harmonic minor for example, there is no available key signature, because our key system is built around diatonic, so the key sig is as though Aeolian and the 7th note has to be sharpened in the music. 

    Good banter. 
    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Hi Viz,

    You are quite right to pull me up on "key signature".  I really meant simply "key".  Mistakenly adding "signature" means something else as you rightly point out.

    Now, on the tonality functions.  In my book I develop the following table to illustrate how I saw the 'tonic' note shifting and the consequence of that for the tonality functions within each mode.  One of my reviewers particularly thought that an interesting analysis of factors determining the different sounds of each node. What do you think?


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • OOPs.  The tables I referred to did not transfer to the post.  Not sure what went wrong there. Will try again later.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 5917
    Hi Viz,

    You are quite right to pull me up on "key signature".  I really meant simply "key".  Mistakenly adding "signature" means something else as you rightly point out.

    Now, on the tonality functions.  In my book I develop the following table to illustrate how I saw the 'tonic' note shifting and the consequence of that for the tonality functions within each mode.  One of my reviewers particularly thought that an interesting analysis of factors determining the different sounds of each node. What do you think?


    Sounds interesting - upload the table as a picture into Imgur or something and copy paste the direct image link. 
    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • You've got my interest.

    It's not a competition.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Hi Viz & Stratman - Not sure if I've done this right re: Imgur, but here goes:

    Page 1 - https://imgur.com/UgUxzSn

    Page 2 - https://imgur.com/rHPJm3I

    Notes -

    Where I use "Root Variant (RV)' (just my term) your term would be 'Mode'

    Page 1 Table 1  - read vertically and horizontally
    Page 1 Table 2  - I'm obviously referring to Myxolydian Mode ('C Variant) relative to Ionian Mode 
    Page 2 Table - read mainly vertically upwards from root/tonic, but there is a horizontal relationship shown too

    Cheers,

    Richard
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 5917
    edited March 2019
    Am I reading it correctly when I say you are thinking of modes in Relative terms in both diagrams (C ionian, D dorian, E phrygian efc), not in Absolute terms (C Ionian, C Dorian, C Phrygian ...)?

    In which case, yes the tonic note remains on C of course, even if the root of a chord may change (like in a ii-V-I, the D minor and G7 as chords have their roots on D and G, but the tonic is still C)

    But when you consider modal music, written in, say Dorian, the fact that Dorian is the 2nd mode of something is irrelevant. In fact, more relevant in that case is that Ionian is the 7th mode of Dorian!



    or am I talking cross purposes?

    btw if you select the direct link for your images they’ll show in the text of your post
    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Yes 'relatively' not 'absolutely'- those tables are simply trying to offer a perspective (beyond the 'conventional wisdom' interval differences explanation) as to why the modes sound different whilst playing the same notes from a different 'root'  note in the given major scale key.
    In 'absolute' terms (i.e. modes with the same 'root' note) of course mean a different (major scale) key in each case but, within that key, the same 'relative' tonal function differences apply.   
    I think (or rather 'hope') that I make that distinction clear, or  clearer, in the section on modal relatives/equivalences and in the section on 'Method' where these principles are applied to the fretboard.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 3403
    edited March 2019
    I know I am the most uncouth contributor to this thread, and I have been following what is going on, but am I the only person who constructs scales and modes by ear to fit a particular chord progression? Cycling through 12 notes quickly makes it obvious which notes are in or out of a scale/mode. I'm getting a horrible feeling that I may be doing something wrong 

    ( P.S. The perceived advantage when doing it this way, is that every scale/mode I construct always sounds brilliant with the chord progression).
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 5917
    Freebird said:
    I know I am the most uncouth contributor to this thread, and I have been following what is going on, but am I the only person who constructs scales and modes by ear to fit a particular chord progression? Cycling through 12 notes quickly makes it obvious which notes are in or out of a scale/mode. I'm getting a horrible feeling that I may be doing something wrong 

    ( P.S. The perceived advantage when doing it this way, is that every scale/mode I construct always sounds brilliant with the chord progression).
    Art IS uncouth and your approach is spot on!

    Theory’s primary purpose isn’t to inspire (though it can help in the creative process), it explains how and why something works. 

    I think we all do it your way :)
    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 5917
    edited March 2019

    Yes 'relatively' not 'absolutely'- those tables are simply trying to offer a perspective (beyond the 'conventional wisdom' interval differences explanation) as to why the modes sound different whilst playing the same notes from a different 'root'  note in the given major scale key.
    In 'absolute' terms (i.e. modes with the same 'root' note) of course mean a different (major scale) key in each case but, within that key, the same 'relative' tonal function differences apply.   
    I think (or rather 'hope') that I make that distinction clear, or  clearer, in the section on modal relatives/equivalences and in the section on 'Method' where these principles are applied to the fretboard.



    I think either I’m being a bit slow here, or maybe I’m trying to find new insight in something I already know. 


    Is this an example of what you are saying?:

    Take the key of C major. 

    Play a piece like Happy Birthday, and on the first ‘you’, the chord moves from tonic to dominant (the V chord), which is G.

    Then, if you were to play the notes of that chord, as a scale, they would be GABCDEFG, which if taken out of context is a mixolydian scale - ie. it is like a major scale but has a flat 7. 

    BUT (and is this your insight?) it’s not absolute  Mixolydian mode, because we’re still in C major, so the mental root of the piece still as to be C even though the temporary root of the chord is G? 

    Therefore when ‘playing mixolydian mode on the dominant’ in the context of its relative major, that root note (the C) has a special melodic function within mixolydian?


    If so, I would not use the word mixolydian mode to describe what’s happening on that V chord; I would simply say “we’re in C and we’re playing over the V chord”.


    (This point is well described by the hypomodes concept where the home note is not defined by the top and bottom of the scale, but the middle. I chose Happy Birthday, because it actually spans dominant-to-dominant - the top and bottom notes are G, even though it’s in C. Nobody thinks Happy Birthday is in G Mixolydian. The Skye Boat song is another one). 




    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 941
    edited March 2019
    viz said:
    Freebird said:
    I know I am the most uncouth contributor to this thread, and I have been following what is going on, but am I the only person who constructs scales and modes by ear to fit a particular chord progression? Cycling through 12 notes quickly makes it obvious which notes are in or out of a scale/mode. I'm getting a horrible feeling that I may be doing something wrong 

    ( P.S. The perceived advantage when doing it this way, is that every scale/mode I construct always sounds brilliant with the chord progression).
    Art IS uncouth and your approach is spot on!

    Theory’s primary purpose isn’t to inspire (though it can help in the creative process), it explains how and why something works. 

    I think we all do it your way

    Yes I agree. Whatever, works for you. My approach is biased towards being very analytical. Others might prefer a more artistic, intuitive or empirical approach. But I think there's a bit of each in all of us

    It's an interesting discussion and touches on how individuals think about things and how they apply the knowledge.

    To add my own thoughts:

    I just treat scales/modes/arpeggios/hybrid scales etc as useful labels (or models) for sounds ('palettes' to steal a phrase from @viz). To me, the labels (or models) are akin to mathematical models and I found the following pertinent statement on Wikipedia.

    "A model may help to explain a system and to study the effects of different components, and to make predictions about behaviour."

    In this context the 'model' is the scale/mode/arpeggio etc, and the 'system' is the sound (or palette).

    Take the Dorian mode as just one example. I heard the sound of players like Peter Frampton and Carlos Santanna and, not only wanted to copy things note for note, but also to create musical phrases of my own with that type of sound. I found I could do this by adding notes (i.e. the 2 and 6) to a minor pentatonic scale (model) I was already familiar with.

    So now I've got a new extended model called the Dorian mode. It's like the model I had before (the minor pentatonic) but with a couple of additional notes. But it's not only a theoretical thing. I'm familiar with the sound of a minor pentatonic and now I can build on that familiarity and add some extra sounds to my vocabulary (theory and 'ear' working together).

    Then I discovered that playing over a 12 bar blues (such as Crossroads) I could use the major pentatonic and minor pentatonic, or I could think of it as the two scales layered on top of each other. You end up with a scale which happens to be the same as adding a major 3rd to the Dorian mode I already knew.

    So now I've got another sound (major 3rd) I can add to the Dorian mode. And I can also relate that to the major and minor pentatonic scales I'm already familiar with. Again it's not just a theoretical thing, it builds on and forms connections to sounds I'm already familiar with (theory and ear working together).

    But this thing I'm calling 'Dorian with an added major 3rd', which is useful for blues soloing, I could also think of it as Mixolydian with an added b3. Well it all makes sense in my mind at least

    So, through this process, the basic models are adaptable and extendable. And there are connections with previous and other knowledge (theory and 'ear' working together).

    It all sounds complicated when it's put into words, but words are clumsy tools for describing sound. I'm fairly confident Clapton wasn't thinking 'Dorian with an added major 3rd' when he played his 'Crossroads' solo. It's just a label I might choose to put on it to rationalise it in my own mind.

    I'm not saying my method is right. Different people might think of the same thing in different ways, but I don't view this as an real inconsistency. It's just a different viewpoint (perspective).

    Continuing with the Dorian mode as an example:

    Below are just a few ways of thinking about D Dorian:

    1) Like a C major scale, but starting on a D note.
    2) In terms of its intervals (1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7). Which is a bit like thinking of it as D major with a b3 and b7.
    3) D minor pentatonic with an added 2 and 6. My preferred way (although I'm aware of other ways).
    4) The relative major of D minor (i.e. F major) but using the Lydian form. This might seem somewhat convoluted but it was how I used to attempt to rationalise things. Probably because I knew major scales first and used to think of minor scales as similar patterns moved three frets up.
    5) And on and on ....Feel free to add your own thought process.

    I feel that the important thing is that everyone ends up at the same destination (i.e with the same notes) when they say 'D Dorian'. They might get there by a different thought process, and that's good and shows individuality. I'm not convinced there's an absolute right or wrong way. There's only a problem (a real inconsistency) if the thought process leads to a different end result.

    That's just the Dorian mode. Don't get me started on the other modes, or the modes of the minor scales

    It's not a competition.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 5917
    Dorian is a mode of the minor scale ;)

    I 100% like your empirical approach. Wish I could claim palette as my own but I’m sure I read it somewhere else!
    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • viz said:

    ...I 100% like your empirical approach...
    And here's me thinking my approach was mainly 'analytical' :)

    It's not a competition.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 5917
    Well analytical through discovery maybe :)
    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 3403
    edited March 2019
    stratman3142 said:
    Yes I agree. Whatever, works for you. My approach is biased towards being very analytical. Others might prefer a more artistic, intuitive or empirical approach. But I think there's a bit of each in all of us

    It's an interesting discussion and touches on how individuals think about things and how they apply the knowledge.
    I know how the modes work, but I am trying to get away from the theoretical aspect. I want to hear what sounds good, instead of thinking about it.

    I've taken art classes and we learned about colour theory, but the real action was on the palette where we mixed the paint. My approach to music is influenced by painting, and also elements of computer science! I always sketch ideas, and then use stepwise refinement to flesh them out. It's not such a strange idea, as when we were learning to draw, we would practice by focusing on one area at a time, e.g. the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, and then ultimately combine them all together.

    I read the rest of your piece, it's very interesting and I agree with your thought process,  but you covered quite a bit of ground there for me to comment on everything. You got a Wiz though 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Hi Viz, Stratman, Freebird and all other contributors.

    I don't disagree with any of your contributions or perspectives and I don't think that anything in my book does either.  It just looks at them perhaps a bit differently and maybe even naively or too simplistically.  The book was the result of simply writing down my own thought  processes in some sort of logical (to me) order starting with a premise*, then a set of principles^ and then attempting to reach conclusions~ based on those principles (see the summary of how I organised my thoughts below).
     

    The premise^, the principles^ and the conclusions~ are solely how I see them based on the way my brain works when attempting to learn new stuff in circumstances where there are no clear sources of knowledge that are sufficient and authoritative enough to be relied upon.   You only have to read posts on forums like this and the huge range of written literature to see that there is so much 'matter of opinion' stuff on modes.  Perhaps in the end that is exactly right, they are a 'matter of opinion'.   I might reach that conclusion myself in the end but for the moment I like to think that at least I can operate (at my simplistic level) with a logic and a structure that I can work with and see where it takes me. 

    I have found this forum and contributors like yourselves encouragingly willing to participate in an exchange of views and ideas.  Other forums vary.  Some are like this one.  Others seem to have self appointed  'resident experts' who are quick to be dismissive of someone like me who openly admits to being an 'amateur' on the subject. They don't bother me personally but. unfortunately, they may well intimidate others from participating in fear of being put down. 


    *Premise:
     

    The MAJOR SCALE (and its 'relative' Minor) is the 'Parent' of all other scales (not meant in any 'authority/superiority' sense of parent, purely in the sense that all other scales are derived from it and that their scale notes - natural, sharp, flat - are defined relative to it)

    OTHER SCALES  are 'alternative' tonal entities in their own right but are still notated relative to the Major Scale.


    ^Principles:

    Modes are 'intrinsic' to the Major Scale (they are not OTHER SCALES).

    Modes have a uniqueness but also a commonality.

    Modes can be Major or Minor (Locrian as  a special case).

    Modes (6 of them) sound different from the parent and from each  other.

    Modes are identifiable and available across the whole guitar fretboard.


    to reach ~Conclusions on :

    What are Modes?

    How do Modes relate to  the Major Scale and each other?

    What are their similarities and differences(uniqueness)?

    Why do they sound different?

    How can they be used in a Melodic context?

    How can they be used in a Harmonic context?

    Where can they be found on the guitar fretboard?

    How can 'relative'  and 'absolute' modal patterns be applied to the guitar fretboard?


    Best Regards,
    Richard

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 941
    edited March 2019

    ...OTHER SCALES  are 'alternative' tonal entities in their own right but are still notated relative to the Major Scale.


    ^Principles:

    Modes are 'intrinsic' to the Major Scale (they are not OTHER SCALES)...



    The above is an area that's interesting to discuss. It relates to a discussion on another recent thread.

    Suppose you're playing a song like I Wish by Stevie Wonder, which is essentially Dorian. For the sake of argument, and to keep things simple, lets assume it's in D Dorian?

    By your argument (i.e. relative to the major scale) would you set the key signature without any sharps or flats, which equates to C (or its relative minor, which is A minor).

    But if anyone were to ask what key it was in, I think most would say it's in D minor, which would be notated with a key signature that has one flat, then accidentals would be included to convert each Bb to a B natural.

    Btw. I was once given a chart for Funky Music that had a key signature with three sharps. That might indicate a key of A, but in fact it was in E (Mixolydian). So the person that generated the chart was  saving on the number of accidentals that needed to be included to convert every D# to a D. But I found it confusing and would have preferred 4 sharps in the key signature to indicate that it was in E 

    It's not a competition.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 5917
    edited March 2019
    Stratman your example of I Wish is a classic use case. Both options are ok, but I also prefer your method. It’s more practical, and the reason is that Major and Minor are SOOO much more prevalent than the other 4 scales that they serve as the two foundations, off which the modal pieces deviate.

    Maybe that will change in time. Originally there were 8 modes (4 modes and 4 hypomodes); Ionian wasn’t even amongst them.

    Then Ionian and Aeolian became prevalent. Ionian rose as the standard due to the popularity and consonance of hypolydian. 

    So ClearyRich, I’m just not sure I agree your premise about everything being based off Major. In my mind, Ionian and Aeolian take equal place like king and queen on the thrones of the musical kingdom, and all other modes derive from them. For convenience’s sake, Ionian is chosen as the one to base the others off in construction, but not in musical sound. When we look at a piece in A minor with no sharps or flats, we don’t keep dragging the concept of C major into it once we’ve worked out it’s in A minor - C major is irrelevant. 



               Home note
                        |
                        |
            major or minor?
                        |
              _____|_____
              |                   |
              |                   |
              |                   |
         Ionian         Aeolian ——— Harm / Mel?
              |                   |
              |                   |
        ___|___       ___|___
        |           |       |           |
        |           |       |           |
        |           |       |           |
    (adding chromatic interest)
        |           |       |           |
        |           |       |           |
      Lyd?   Mix?  Dor?   Phr?




    But that may change. Nowadays in popular music Mixolydian and Dorian are more common, and in jazz, melodic minor is prevalent. Who knows, maybe in time, we will glance at a key sig of zero sharps and flats and immediately assume it’s in D Dorian. 


    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • So ClearyRich, I’m just not sure I agree your premise about everything being based off Major. In my mind, Ionian and Aeolian take equal place like king and queen on the thrones of the musical kingdom, and all other modes derive from them. For convenience’s sake, Ionian is chosen as the one to base the others off in construction, but not in musical sound. When we look at a piece in A minor with no sharps or flats, we don’t keep dragging the concept of C major into it once we’ve worked out it’s in A minor - C major is irrelevant. 

    I agree with you on that totally,  When I finally get a copy of the book to you you will see that I interpret the Ionian as the head of the major modes and Aeolian for the minor modes (Locrian is a bit of an outsider).
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.