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Thread: ionian chord, dorian chord,myxolydian chord,etc,what?

  1. #1
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    ionian chord, dorian chord,myxolydian chord,etc,what?

    i read a few lessons lately n found some new terms for me...it was named with modal names : ionian chord,dorian chord,phrygian chord, lydian chord,etc..what is it actually?thx u
    sorry for my bad english..hope you know what i'm asking..thx again

  2. #2
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    I can only think they mean a chord that explicitly accents the tonality of the mode.


    But in reality that is not different to simply harmonising the major scale and saying each chord is the modal chord.

    Cmaj7 - Ionian
    Dmin7 - Dorian
    Emin7 - Phrygian
    Fmaj7 - Lydian
    G7 - Mixolydian etc.

    But in reality some are interchangeable Cmaj7 could be a basis for an Ionian passage but could also support a Lydian phrase.

    I'm not really sure what they would mean by this, it doesn't seem to make sense to me. Chords in themselves are not usually mode specific to that degree.

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    The only time I see terms like that used is in relation to tunes that hang out in, or are based around, strange modes.

    A Phrygian chord would accent what being in the phrygian mode is all about. That would mean a minor 7th chord with a b9. An aeolian chord would be a min7b6 chord. Some are more useful then others. Dorian is seen every once an a while because a minor13 isn't a commonly used chord. Terms like ionian chord or even lydian chord really don't mean much as far as I can figure because a regular Maj7 and a Maj7#11 are pretty interchangeable. Unless it's just a different way of explaining the relationship between chord and scale. Instead of 'chord scales' you have 'scale chords.'

  4. #4
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Jazz has certain chords that indicate specific modes:

    maj7#11, maj9#11, maj13#11 = lydian
    susb9 (7sus4b9) = phrygian
    7#11, 9#11, 13#11 = lydian dominant (4th mode melodic minor)
    7alt = altered scale (7th mode melodic minor)

    In each case, only the one scale will fit each chord.

    There are others which tend to indicate certain modes, even though other modes will (theoretically) fit:

    7sus4 = mixolydian (usually)
    m11 = dorian (usually)
    m7b5 = locrian (usually)

    I've not seen specific ionian or aeolian chords. A "6/9" chord usually means ionian, but could mean lydian. A "mb6", or "m7b13" would specify aeolian, but I've never seen one in practice.

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    I believe in practice a sus4b9 chord is usually derived from the second degree of the melodic minor scale. Can't remember why, that part of improv class went over my head and hopefully wasn't all that important.

    But in general, a chord can rarely define only one mode. Even a 7#11 or a 9#11. Is it lydian dominant or is it whole tone? In practice, most likely the former, but the later is completely viable if the natural 5th isn't present.

    m7b6 chords are entirely viable and used somewhat commonly. It's like a m7#5 but with the natural 5th still in it.

  6. #6
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silent-storm
    I believe in practice a sus4b9 chord is usually derived from the second degree of the melodic minor scale. Can't remember why, that part of improv class went over my head and hopefully wasn't all that important.
    It's true a susb9 chord can take either phrygian mode or "phrygian natural 6", which is the 2nd mode of melodic minor.
    The derivation works either way, because a susb9 (1-4-5-b7-b9) has no 6th in it.
    I think in Wayne Shorter's music (which is the main place I've seen susb9s), he means them to be phrygian. But either scale works in improvisation, although you could argue that a b6 is an avoid note, and a major 6 sounds better.
    Quote Originally Posted by silent-storm
    But in general, a chord can rarely define only one mode. Even a 7#11 or a 9#11. Is it lydian dominant or is it whole tone? In practice, most likely the former, but the later is completely viable if the natural 5th isn't present.
    Yes, but in my experience, 7#11 is always used to indicate lydian dominant. Even if there is no 5th in the chord, the implication of "#11" is that there is a 5th in the scale (and the context generally backs this up).
    Wholetone scales can indicated by 7b5 or 7#5 - or 9b5 or 9#5 to be more sure.
    IOW, "b5" is used in the symbol instead of "#11" if the accompanying scale is not supposed to have a perfect 5th.
    Quote Originally Posted by silent-storm
    m7b6 chords are entirely viable and used somewhat commonly. It's like a m7#5 but with the natural 5th still in it.
    I don't disbelieve you, but can you give me some examples?
    The only place I've seen this chord is in Mark Levine's Jazz Theory book .

    Otherwise, I've seen m7#5s in passing - which might be better written as m7b6 or m7b13 (because the scale has a P5) - but not as modal chords. (Sorry if I wasn't clear on this.)
    I mean, I know the m-m#5(b6)-m6-m7 type sequence, but that's not really an aeolian modal context.

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