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Thread: Finally!

  1. #1
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    Finally!

    I think I've cracked it. I honestly feel like the biggest idiot because the plethora of sources of information about on modes has done nothing but confuse me. Twice I've thought I'd "had it" but apparently not. Now I feel I understand. My problem hasn't been realizing what a mode is, or how they work etc. but rather, constructing a chord progression for each mode. I hope what I'm posting is a little different from a typical modal question so as to give you a break. Here we go...(Working from Guni's article)

    A Aeolian is from the key of Cmajor. So, if I take the three major triads from Cmajor and have an A note added to each of those three triads (to keep that 'aeolian' sound) I have the following:

    Cmaj triad: C, E, G. With the A note this becomes Cmaj/A, or in simpler terms, Amin7.
    Fmaj triad: F, A, C. With the A note, this is still Fmaj.
    Gmaj triad: G, B, D. With the A note, this becomes Gmaj/A, or, Gsus2.

    So then if I create a small chord progression/vamp with the chords Amin7, Fmaj and Gsus2, I technically have an A Aeolian progression there, correct?

    Just to make sure I've gone about this right, here's another example I've worked out, this time, A Phrygian:

    A Phrygian is from the key of Fmaj. Thus we get the three major triads, Fmaj, Bbmaj, and Cmaj. Again, with the A note to keep that Phrygian sound blasting, we get:

    Fmaj triad: F, A, C. With the A note, this is still Fmaj.
    Bbmaj triad: Bb, D, F. With the A note, this becomes Bbmaj7.
    Cmaj triad: C, E, G. With the A note, this becomes Amin7.

    So then again, a vamp/progression using those chords would technically be a phrygian progression?

    Now I'm about 90% sure I'm right with what I've posted above.

    Now, keeping with my examples, the only chords I've used to create modal progressions are the I, IV and V from their respective tonic key. Can other chords be used? I know that the chords mentioned can be embellished in various ways, but how about different chords? If I'm correct in my thinking, to introduce new chords into these types of progressions, would this work by substituting existing chords?

    You should know by now I hate to bring this topic up that so many of you must hate seeing, but I feel I've finally come to a close on it now.

    Thanks in advance,
    Nick
    I'll disagree with you for the sake of being contraversial.

  2. #2
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    You would fail in the phygrian one because you resolve to the tonic of the parent major scale when you include the Fmaj chord.

    When looking at modal vamps it's best not to include Aeolian and Ionian because they are the regular scales and you can use all the diatonic chords and not fall into that trap. There are not too many other examples where'll you get past two or maximum three chords without losing the modal sound.

    For the A phyrgian example an "Amin Bb" vamp would be the classic to highlight the b2.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashc
    You would fail in the phygrian one because you resolve to the tonic of the parent major scale when you include the Fmaj chord.

    When looking at modal vamps it's best not to include Aeolian and Ionian because they are the regular scales and you can use all the diatonic chords and not fall into that trap. There are not too many other examples where'll you get past two or maximum three chords without losing the modal sound.

    For the A phyrgian example an "Amin Bb" vamp would be the classic to highlight the b2.
    Whoops. Overlooked that. Yes, that makes sense. Same for the Fmajor bit. At least I know how to go about creating them now, and actually understand what I'm doing; just got to make sure I remember the little details.

    I feel like someone has taken a huge 5-ton weight from my back. Thanks a lot.

    CASE CLOSED. (until I get confused with a different subject)

    Nick
    I'll disagree with you for the sake of being contraversial.

  4. #4
    Jazzman Poparad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowthorpe
    A Aeolian is from the key of Cmajor. So, if I take the three major triads from Cmajor and have an A note added to each of those three triads (to keep that 'aeolian' sound) I have the following:
    Just adding the note 'A' to the chords won't give you the sound of a particular mode. It will just keep a common tone between all the chords. What makes a progression modal is the use of a chord other than the I of the major key (a C major chord in the key of C major, for example) as the tonic of the progression. It helps to have this chord placed first in the progression and not have more than 1 or 2 other chords in the progression (too many chords tend to make it want to go back to being a major key progression). Also, spending more time on each chord will enhance the modal sound of the progression.

    However, if you put the A on the bottom of all the chords, keeping an A pedal point going through the entire thing, then you will have a strong Aeolian feel provided by that, but only if it's the bass note of each chord.


    Cmaj triad: C, E, G. With the A note this becomes Cmaj/A, or in simpler terms, Amin7.
    If the A here isn't in the bass, it could be C6


    Gmaj triad: G, B, D. With the A note, this becomes Gmaj/A, or, Gsus2.
    Sus2 implies that there isn't a 3rd in the chord (such as G A D). This would be Gadd2 or Gadd9, depending where you voice the A (in the same octave or in the octave above the root, respectively).

    If the A is below the chord, then it will only be G/A.

  5. #5
    Registered User SkinnyDevil's Avatar
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    Well said, Poparad.

    Lowthorpe - you might try, instead of adding notes to existing chords (which may yield cool chords, but won't necessarily get you in the mode), just transposing a progression to the new mode. Keeping it in C (no sharps or flats), you have these chord options:

    C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim

    Adding the 7th yields Cmaj7, Dm7, Em7, Fmaj7, G7, Am7, Bm7b5.

    I'm sure you already know that, but...Now, instead of altering your chords with "A", just take a standard chord progression (like 1-4-5) and instead of doing it in C (C, F, G or Cmaj7, Fmaj7, G7), do it in Am (Am, Dm, Em or Am7, Dm7, Em7) or Dm (Dm, G, Am or Dm7, G7, Am7) or G (G, C, D or G7, Cmaj7, Dm7) or whatever. Then do a little improv over your groove. BUT, be sure to start your improv with a pentatonic scale so you drive the tonal center home, then add your other 2 notes.

    For example, if your doing a Dm groove using Dm7, G7, and Am7, begin your improv using the D pentatonic minor so you really hear it as a "D mode" rather than as, say, Am. Then start running that C major scale over the top and the mode-light will really turn on.

    Frank Gambale did a fabulous modal lesson like this. You can really hear the unique flavor of each mode this way.

    There's also the Miles Davis approach of really hanging out on that Dm chord while burning in dorian, or hanging on that Em7 (phrygian) while your trading between the E pentatoic minor and the E phrygian (no sharps or flats - same as C major scale).

    I always suggest recording these expeiments, too.
    --
    David M. McLean
    Skinny Devil Music Lab
    www.skinnydevil.com

    "...embrace your fear..."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyDevil
    Instead of altering your chords with "A", just take a standard chord progression (like 1-4-5) and instead of doing it in C (C, F, G or Cmaj7, Fmaj7, G7), do it in Am (Am, Dm, Em or Am7, Dm7, Em7) or Dm (Dm, G, Am or Dm7, G7, Am7) or G (G, C, D or G7, Cmaj7, Dm7) or whatever. Then do a little improv over your groove. BUT, be sure to start your improv with a pentatonic scale so you drive the tonal center home, then add your other 2 notes.

    For example, if your doing a Dm groove using Dm7, G7, and Am7, begin your improv using the D pentatonic minor so you really hear it as a "D mode" rather than as, say, Am. Then start running that C major scale over the top and the mode-light will really turn on.
    You see, this is where I confused myself. The way you mentioned there was the I originally did things. However, when I took a quick look over Guni's modes article, that's where I began to get confused with keeping the bass note over chords. That was when I thought I had it down, but Guni's article (which is brilliant, of course, not saying it's not) confuses me a little because it explains it differently to how I've learnt. I assumed that you could come up with long modal progressions, yet I only knew how to play between 2 & 3 chords to get that modal sound; seems those vamps with just a few chords are the norm, however.

    Thank you. You see, now I know I'm 100% clued in now you've explained. This was the understanding I had beforehand.

    Thanks again,
    Nick
    I'll disagree with you for the sake of being contraversial.

  7. #7
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    If it sounds right

    After years of trying to figure out exactly what scale will work with which chord, I have discovered one simple rule that helps me keep from trashing my guitar.. If it sounds good, it is good, other than that, who gives a rats behind in a wind storm if it is the right scale.

    And with Jazz, heck, even if it doesn't sound good, then it's probably a bebop scale with a 5b or #5.

    When it comes to Jazz improv, the changes move so fast that it is really a matter of just thinking on your feet. Like a boxer or fighter that has never met his opponent.

    He may take a few shots but if he knows how to think on his feet he will get through without too many bumps. Good luck.
    Joey D




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