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modes

Music Theory
devilchild  
3 Aug 2011 11:33 | Quote
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I learnt about modes and all that but I don't get how you use them in music, e.g. what is the difference between writing something in D dorian and c major, they both have the same key signature and notes. What is the difference?
DanielM  
3 Aug 2011 12:04 | Quote
Joined: 11 Apr 2011
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devilchild says:
I learnt about modes and all that


Judging by that you need to learn a lot more.

Now as a matter of fact most music isn't modal as such people like to think of modes either positionally (in other words wrongly) or in terms of what notes sound good over chords e.g play D dorian over D minor instead of C Ionian.

Now the second idea of modes isn't modal either, this is because the chords you play under and were they go and cadence to defines the scale as well, maybe if they weren't there you could make it modal but they are so there is an incredibly small chance what you are doing is actually modal.

Lets say we have a chord progression C/// F////G7////C/// if you've learnt well you will know this is a perfect cadence. (If you don't know this then you need to rethink how you're learning go scales, chords, cadences)

Now if I were to play what some would call C ionian over the C switch to F ionian and then G lydian over the G some would say that is me being a modal guru who has focused his chi and made a godly amalgamation of notes that most mere mortals comprehend.

Those people are all wrong. Very wrong.

In actual fact my chord progression clearly resolves to C major (irrefutably some might say and in most cases they would be just in saying that). And in fact all that modal smodal foreplay you got going on is just throwing in the odd accidental.

This is where the confusion comes in people think they are doing modal music when in actual fact they are just throwing in out of scale notes. Which are still spicy.

Now for more notes in this essay of mine, people recommend certain modes played over certain chords (in numeral so someone might say play dorian over the VI of the scale). Guess what... This isn't modal either it's just the notes in that "mode" that go well over that chord in context of the chord progression are the out of scale notes that work in it.

If you understand chords and intervals well you don't need to think about it in terms of "modes" you can think about it correctly, correctly being: ah if I insert a flat 7th over this major chord and resolve it I could imply a dominant chord there etc etc

Now if you are interested in modal music my advice for now hit the books on what I've told you and what other members may say and come back in a month or so's time. I have a really helpful article on modal music and harmony that explains it correctly and in easy to get terms (if you know about chords etc)

Right Daniel out. *Plugs in to recharge*
Guitarslinger124  
3 Aug 2011 12:14 | Quote
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Good question dude. I'm not going to type your answer here, as I have already created several awesome lessons dedicated to the subject.

Beginner/Intermediate Mode Lesson

Music Theory: These Ain't For No Weight

Hope those help you out.

Check out some of the other great lessons regarding modes as well.

Rock on!
RA  
3 Aug 2011 14:46 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
United States
Karma: 16
while, daniel's post is excellent and really covers an introduction to modal tonality vs Major/Minor tonality and the errors you find over the internet, I will give a more brief (maybe) direct answer. However, keep daniel's advice in mind as it is excellent much better writing than mine.

@daniel I know how you feel, the idiocy of the internet makes me want to get a hammer and just start beating the life out of people in their own self righteousness (irony). the lord knows I have gone on many a rant the second I see "I know modes But..."; however, I'm reading the post as

devilchild says:
what is the difference between writing something in D dorian and c major


rather than

devilchild says:
I learnt about modes and all that but I don't get how you use them in music


because I too saw that and was oh ** this ***. But as always correct me if I'm wrong.



@ON "Difference Between Modes"


the difference between the modes are their intervals. So Dorian is 1,2,b3,4,5,6,b7 and Ionian is 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 that is the difference. Even though their in the same Key sig as you stated with D Dorian and C Ionian when you change the tonic in the scale set (this case Diatonic major [or just Diatonic], but don't really worry about that just yet) the intervals between the notes change relative to the tonic, be it D or C or any other note in that key sig. The reason for this the math the goes into creating the scales/modes has change. Without going to deep into the mathematical side of music (if your serious you should) the easy way of "seeing" this is to look at the Lydian scale.

LYDIAN SCALE CONSTRUCTION

the scale is made by stacking Fifths. In case you don't know The fifth is the factorial relationship of 2/3 relative to the Tonic. SO, if our key sig is C (we wont be playing any # of b) then the Lydian has a tonic of F. So, lets build it!!! first our tonic F and the fifth C, then C's fifth G and so on to get; F,C,G,D,A,E,B. We stop at seven for many reasons but to keep it simple we only want to build heptatonic scales. Which is the Lydian scale F,G,A,B,C,D,E or 1,2,3,#4,5,6,7. Know look what happens when we stack fifths on C; C,G,D,A,E,B,F#; we still get Lydian however, now there is a sharp and we are no longer in the same key sig. So to make it C Ionian we need to flatten the F; however, that would mean we are no longer stacking fifths but stacking fifths with a tri-tone on top. The Tri-tone is 45/32, thus changing the math behind the scale.


Hopefully, that explains why the differences between the modes are in the intervals.

My whole post should be seen as an introduction to Guitarslinger lessons which goes over it in much more detail and much more practically (less math and more usefulness than just so you know stuff).

so i hope that helps and if any questions arise just ask.
DanielM  
4 Aug 2011 03:31 | Quote
Joined: 11 Apr 2011
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@RA I did see that but I was hoping that devilchild would follow my advice and *checks* oh wait I missed that paragraph or two out.

Along with chords and intervals I was going to recommend you learn scales minor and major. If you learn about chords and cadence (therefore learning resolution) you should understand what makes it A minor instead of C major etc.

Also on a side note that first reply I did felt quite short until I posted it and saw the length.
Appetite_4_gnr  
8 Aug 2011 05:29 | Quote
Joined: 08 Aug 2011
Karma
TO DANIELM....i see guys online though such as Dave Weiner, the guy who plays with freakin steve vai on tour saying to actually do what you say is wrong about the modal approach over chords.

here is a vid of him ...start the vid at 6:55

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gARRfdHsYZo
DanielM  
8 Aug 2011 06:24 | Quote
Joined: 11 Apr 2011
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@Appetite He's wrong, he never strays from minor. In fact I'm also pretty sure he doesn't add any out of scale notes to that improv either.

Most guitarists actually have a very poor grasp of theory, it's why a lot of classically trained musicians look down on us.

Now what he is doing is doing pretty much what my second point was which imo is the less interesting thing to do. Both work well over the chords however referred to as modal it's completely wrong.

Lets look at his "lydian" section

Right his chords are Am F G

Now for his "lydian" section to actually be lydian it would have to resolve to it's tonic which would be the F major so there would have to be some sort of cadence there that resolves it to lydian.

There isn't.

Nor is there a modal vamp, in a modal vamp I would find the note that made F lydian different to F major (#4) and I would then find chords containing that note (B) and I would constantly change from Fmaj or Fmaj7 to one of those chords and back again while soloing over it.

The most popular lydian vamp I believe is Fmaj7-G/F

Now I'm going to leap back and state this, that chord progression Amin F G Amin clearly resolves to the A minor. Play it. No seriously play it and listen.

How about this if you don't believe me

play Aminor F

Now Amin F G

Now Amin F G Amin

Out of those 3 which sounded the most complete... Hopefully by now you're saying the last one when it went back to that A minor chord. There is no resolution to the F or the G during any of that, nothing which defines them as the tonic. So therefore they can not be the tonic. Meaning we can't be entering F lydian or G mixolydian.

And you may be thinking but hang on a damn second boyo the melody is what makes it happen. Well hate to break it to you but he wasn't doing anything particularly harmonically advanced there. Nothing that could mess with or cause a cadence earlier on.

Now I may be being silly but if you really want to know how to be modal I would recommend whole heartedly this link:http://www.lifesmith.com/Berkeley%20Teaching/Music%20Theory%20-%20Advanced.pdf

If you have any more questions post back and ask and I'm sure some other members will come in and help out as well.

-Daniel "bleeding fingers" M
RA  
8 Aug 2011 11:38 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
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I'll back up Daniel here (though I doubt he needs me to). You got to take everything rock musicians say with a grain of salt. I have heard even Steve via say some quite silly things.

the point is many musicians (rock) have a hard time with understanding keys. you should look into them, and know the common mistakes that people make in thinking keys = key signatures; they are two different things.

the best thing to do is to start listen to modal music. Indian, Irish, sometimes jazz namely modal jazz (jazz is just to big to say all/most/many).
DanielM  
8 Aug 2011 12:19 | Quote
Joined: 11 Apr 2011
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Thanks RA and Appetite on the topic of modal jazz, Miles Davis kinda blue(album) is seen as a classic.
matt8675  
8 Aug 2011 17:50 | Quote
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Im not the best musician, but to stay in the same key you must switch modes (scale shapes) while moving on the fretboard to stay in the same key. Since there's 7 notes in a major scale until you play the same note again, theres 7 modes, not including the minor modes. You can change the shapes into pentatonic scales which are very useful. An A major scale and a B dorian scale have the same notes because the B dorian is just an A major scale moved up a step.

I cant really explain it, but hopefully I made some sense...
thatguitarguy  
8 Aug 2011 18:22 | Quote
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the way I leaned them is that they are just one scale with different starting and ending points. so if you play c major starting and ending from c (c,d,e,f,g,a,b,c) then decide to play the same notes but starting and ending with A (a,b,c,d,e,f,g,a) then you played A Aeolian (or A natural minor) so they technically are the same scale.
RA  
8 Aug 2011 20:19 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
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@matt while your post is kind of confusing, and some inaccuracies, what I'm amusing your saying is right, in that you can look at it as playing different modes over different chords, but you not playing modaly. What your doing is rationalizing scales to chords. To play modaly you have to be keyed in a mode, which is what Daniel is talking about. Trying to help people, by telling them they should look into how they are establishing their keys by their progression/cadence. Which is not the only way but chords give you more info at once thus establish keys faster and it's easy to explain that way and to type.

@Thatguitar/matt looking at modes at as just starting and ending at a different point is very wrong (they do but that's not what makes them different). Modes are different by the intervals they contain and in that the math that goes into making them (as I have previously discussed above). They are not the same scale they are each their own scale as they are developed and imply very different things/ways. This is also a major clue as to why you are having trouble with understanding modal playing as you don't understand the modes.
thatguitarguy  
9 Aug 2011 00:31 | Quote
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no no I know that. ionian is major, dorian is minor, lydian is major, aeolian is natural minor, and locrian is deminished. Thats why they go so well over their chords in a progression, they fit in with the maj, min, min, maj, maj, min, dim pattern of chords that appear in any major key. I just meant that that is how I first learned them and a lot of the stuff on hear was way more complicated then it had to be.
DanielM  
9 Aug 2011 02:25 | Quote
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@Thatguitarguy The point I was trying to make in this thread was that playing modally isn't easy, in fact it requires a level of thinking that means that most stuff that claims to be "modal" is really just tonal.

Also Locrian would technically be minor as the 7th chord built off it is a m7b5.
thatguitarguy  
9 Aug 2011 09:03 | Quote
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if you take away the seventh it is a diminished triad thats why I always get confused. thanks for correcting me. and I totally agree with you. I never thought there were people that try to be model players. I always thought that modes were meant to just make soloing easier by making the beginning note the same as the root of the chord your playing over so that it is easier to find the 3rd, 5th or 7th to end the lick on.I dont know, Im no genius.
DanielM  
9 Aug 2011 11:02 | Quote
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You might find it works better to think in terms of intervals in relation to the chord and chord tones, also if you're interested marty friedmanns melodic control video is on google videos in it's entirety and is good for making soloing easier.
RA  
9 Aug 2011 16:04 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
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thatguitarguy says:
no no I know that. ionian is major, dorian is minor, lydian is major, aeolian is natural minor, and locrian is deminished. Thats why they go so well over their chords in a progression, they fit in with the maj, min, min, maj, maj, min, dim pattern of chords that appear in any major key. I just meant that that is how I first learned them and a lot of the stuff on hear was way more complicated then it had to be.


That's still not demonstrating what the modes are. The maj, min stuff is just a simplification to let people began to see the relationship between chords and scales. As demonstrated with locrian it becomes wrong. The next step would to be to start learning 7th chords, then on to extended harmony, and then start involving different scale sets. Obviously, you go as far as you need too, as rock generally has no use for extended harmony nor other scale sets (neo-classical does go into different scale at times depend on who your listening to).


but There is no way around it, the view that the modes are just one scale starting and ending at different points is wrong. I would like to use Satie and other more simple turn of the century composers who messed around with scales but no one really knows them or listens to them (that I know of if you do I'll go through certain songs if you like) so I always use "Norwegian wood" as people know it.

"Norwegian wood" is good as it uses the modal tonality still has a western tonal feel and at time is and has a nice resolve. The song's main melody is key in D (well actually E on the record) and the scale the whole time is D mixolydian; however the song starts and ends on A, yet never once hits at A Dorian.

try it yourself, drone the open D string and play the main melody on the G string; then play a open A drone and the song is all messed up. This is due to the melody implying a D major chord. With the A being the drone it wants the key to change to A making an unstable A sus-6
and the melody wont allow that so it gets all screwy. It becomes more apparent on the piano with sustain down with droning power chords.

all in all with the exception of my rant of chord construction (which should read in the same light as when you learn limits, as approaching to infinity, the teacher will tell you to divide all by X when you really only have to care about the highest exponent. the background info as it be not what you should be thinking about) none of it was more complicated then it had to be. If you think perfect cadences are more complicated then they have to be you got another thing coming in music theory as that's basically 101 of tonal music.
JazzMaverick  
9 Aug 2011 17:53 | Quote
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100% agree with what RA just said.

He's right, there really is no way around it.

This is not something you can just expect to fully understand over night, it takes time to fully grasp.

"If you can't explain it simply; you don't know it well enough." - Albert Einstein.
thatguitarguy  
9 Aug 2011 23:42 | Quote
Joined: 24 Aug 2010
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well I guess its a good thing Im taking music theory next year. there is a lot that I missed. sorry if I seem a little ignorant.
Appetite_4_gnr  
10 Aug 2011 05:02 | Quote
Joined: 08 Aug 2011
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On wikipedia if you look up dorian mode it says that Michael Jackson's Bille Jean is in it. I have also read online that so is thriller.

Is this true?
DanielM  
10 Aug 2011 06:18 | Quote
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I had quite a bit typed out but I accidentally closed chrome so I'll retype the vast majority of it _

Billie gene is F# minor. Kinda leaps into harmonic minor to allow a V7 i cadence.

Thrillers whole verse is just C#m7 to F#7 (except for an Abm at the end of the verse). In fact the vast majority of the song is just those two chords. There are other chords thrown in but they are few and far between.

As it stands im7 to IV7 is a modal vamp for dorian, and as with most modal vamps/music this chord sequence makes for like 80% of the harmony. The reason they just use two or three chords is because if they used more from the scale then they would be hard pushed to stop it resolving to a straight up major or minor.

But yes thriller is in dorian.
btimm  
10 Aug 2011 09:59 | Quote
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There is a ton of great information in this thread, thanks for all of the posts everyone!


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