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Thread: Stable Phrygian

  1. #1
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    Stable Phrygian

    I'm having difficulty in keeping my Phrygian playing stable. It starts to sound major in some places and I'm purposefully trying to shift the mood to a more...erm..."less happy" sound and it works until some parts in the scale. Any tips to keep it stable so it actually sounds Phrygian. Russ's "Strictly Phrygian" topic has some guys who cna make phrygian sound really "imposing", but mine always slips into being mindlessly happy!
    We hurdle bodies that lay on the ground, and the Russians fire another round...

  2. #2
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    targeting the notes that make phrygian different from other scales is what will make it sound phrygian. Make sure the b2 is being heard, as well as the b6. Play a line that sits on the b2 for a while before resolving. If you play a line hitting just 1, 4, 5, b7, no one is going go know whether you're playing mixolydian, dorian, aeolian, or phrygian.

  3. #3
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    Maybe the actual Phrygian sound is not how you want it to be.

    On the other hand, maybe you're using a progression like Em - F. It will indeed sound more major than ie. Em - Dm, because of the nature of the chords. Try many different progressions and see which one that provides for your desired Phrygian mood.

  4. #4
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Trooper
    I'm having difficulty in keeping my Phrygian playing stable. It starts to sound major in some places and I'm purposefully trying to shift the mood to a more...erm..."less happy" sound and it works until some parts in the scale. Any tips to keep it stable so it actually sounds Phrygian. Russ's "Strictly Phrygian" topic has some guys who cna make phrygian sound really "imposing", but mine always slips into being mindlessly happy!
    Give us some more details about what you're doing.
    Phrygian should be a "dark" sound. As silent-storm says, focus on the b2 when resolving.
    And do make sure you resolve to the phrygian "final" - root of the mode. This is crucial. E.g., with E phrygian, you need to keep coming back to E, even if playing over an Em chord. Otherwise it will (probably) just sound like the C major scale.
    Phrygian is a weak mode, which means the root needs to be constantly underlined, either with a bass drone or phrases always ending on the root (or both).

    Of course, you should play fairly slow. Anything uptempo will sound fairly "happy", regardless of what mode it is. At fast tempos, dark modes make the mood more "intense" rather than "sad".

  5. #5
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    I have actually found that emphasising the root and the b2 does help greatly, but I think it's the way I move up along the 4th 5th and 6th that makes it sound weak. I'll have a go at implementing what you guys have told me to see if I can make it sound any better. Thanks : )
    We hurdle bodies that lay on the ground, and the Russians fire another round...

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