Modes - think I finally get it

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relic245relic245 Frets: 229
I've known the mode shapes for many years but always played them as pentatonics with added (usually passing) notes. 

I knew that wasn't it but that's all I had. 

I watched this video below this week. 

I was playing with Ionian and the guy said practice targeting the arpeggio toNes. Play with the 7th for a while until you can start to hear it then play with the others. I've known that for ages but never actually done it.  By actually doing that for a week and my understanding of where intervals are on the fretboard has gone up massively.

Today I decided to play about with the Dorian mode and as usual, played pentatonic licks with a few extra notes. Then started targeting the chord tones but it still sounded like pentatonic. 

Then it hit me. What's the difference between Dorian, Phrygian and aoleon? It's the 2nd and the 6th, whether they are natural or flat. So I started to target the notes that are the difference between the 3 minor modes, ie the natural 2nd and 6th and voila, instant Santana. 

Then if I play a flat 6th instead of the natural I get a completely different sound. Suddenly I get where the flavor of the sounds comes from. It's the notes that differentiate the mode from others.

Maybe it's not a good technical explanation but it makes sense to me where it didn't before. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0-MPqNMTwY

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Comments

  • Yep, it's a good thing to know how modes work Relative to one another,  start from the next note in your counting or on the fretboard eg:
    Ionian (Major) CDEFGABC
    Dorian DEFGABCD

    A cool thing I like to do is to set up a power chord backing track, just on one chord, say C, with a C5. Then play through the Parralell modes in the key of C.

    Then do a little modal interchange between the 'Major based' modes
    • Ionian C D E F G A B C
    • Lydian (Major w/ sharp 4 - little spicy against the perfect 5th in the C5 but it works) C D E F# G A B C
    • Mixolydian (Major w/ flat 7) C D E F G A Bb C
    And then the 'minor based' modes
    • Aoelian (minor) A B C D E F G A
    • Phrygian (minor w/ a flat 2)  A Bb C D E F G A
    • Dorian (minor w/ a sharp 6 again, same rub as the sharp 4 but it works) A B C D E F# G A 
    The perfect 5th is present in all these modes,  just like in a power chord, so it's quite liberating and easy to set up a simple power chord loop and hear the effects of the 'magic notes' over the same backing and what it does to the feel. 

    Nice to see the 'polarity' or tonality of the Major sound and minor sound using modes, particularly as in this example it's 3 each side.

    You may also notice that from all the notes above, we have A B C D E F G for naturals, and only Bb and F# for the 'accidentals' (but played very much on purpose!) 

    Hope this helps and is fun to explore!
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 18
    Nice post man,  I’m currently trying to get the “feel” of the modes in my ears/head by playing against a drone note , I like the arpeggios section too. I think I will check out all his videos and course on this. Very good post , pleased I looked at it . Thank you
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  • beed84beed84 Frets: 1433
    edited July 11
    There's a very interesting section in Plato's The Republic. It covers "musical requirements" and to some extent why modes exist. Ionian was considered relaxing, Lydian mournful, and Dorian and Phrygian expressing courage and self-control. Modes were determined to represent people and soldiers appropriately, some being discarded or rarely used because they were deemed unsuitable, e.g Mixed Lydian. That's a rough overview, but you get the gist. Nevertheless, having ancient understanding why modes are the way they are certainly helps consolidate ones use of them.
    "It's not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it" – Seneca
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  • vizviz Frets: 5464
    edited July 12
    There’s also the four modes’ and hypomodes’ alignment to the four temperaments - melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic and choleric
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  • proggyproggy Frets: 2485
    viz said:
    There’s also the four modes’ and hypomodes’ alignment to the four temperaments - melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic and choleric

    A course of antibiotics should clear up the last two.
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