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Thread: Another question on Modes

  1. #1
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    Another question on Modes

    Im sure u guys get alot of questions on modes so i guess one more wont hurt.

    I think i understand the theory behind the modes somewhat. I know for example playing a ii chord with the major scale gives u dorian and playing V7th chord with major scale is mixolydian mode. Every chord progression pretty much have modes written into them already. Say if the chords goes from Dmaj7 - Bm7 - Gmaj7 - A7 in the key of D maj, the modes would go from ionian - aeolian - lydian - mixolydian as the D maj scale is played.
    Correct me if im wrong on this.
    My question would be how come sometimes i listen to songs that seems to have a consistent "feel" through out? for example a mexican song seems to be playing in phrygian/aeolian mode all the way through. then what happen when the song goes into a major chord? wouldnt that change the mode to major? do u then have to play a different scale that somehow to manage to tie a major chord to the phrygian feel?

    also:
    C#m - F#m - G# - A - G# with or without the E major scale playing sounds pretty phrygian already. so how does this particular chord progression have the phrygian feel written into it?

    could someone enlighten me on this?

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    I know people talk about chords being Phrygian or Mixolydian, etc. I've always felt that is a little out side or beyond the normal mode function. JonR will answer your question much better than I.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 04-05-2009 at 07:06 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riceboi89
    Im sure u guys get alot of questions on modes so i guess one more wont hurt.

    I think i understand the theory behind the modes somewhat. I know for example playing a ii chord with the major scale gives u dorian and playing V7th chord with major scale is mixolydian mode. Every chord progression pretty much have modes written into them already. Say if the chords goes from Dmaj7 - Bm7 - Gmaj7 - A7 in the key of D maj, the modes would go from ionian - aeolian - lydian - mixolydian as the D maj scale is played.
    Right.
    Except you wouldn't really hear the individual modes if the chords changed fairly quickly. You would just hear the overall major key, a I-vi-IV-V sequence. The modes are just labels in this case, not really musical effects or sounds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Riceboi89
    My question would be how come sometimes i listen to songs that seems to have a consistent "feel" through out? for example a mexican song seems to be playing in phrygian/aeolian mode all the way through. then what happen when the song goes into a major chord? wouldnt that change the mode to major? do u then have to play a different scale that somehow to manage to tie a major chord to the phrygian feel?

    also:
    C#m - F#m - G# - A - G# with or without the E major scale playing sounds pretty phrygian already. so how does this particular chord progression have the phrygian feel written into it?
    No idea. That sequence is a C# minor key sequence. Aeolian more than phrygian, but the G# major is the V chord pointing to the C#m tonic.
    I guess you'd get a G# phrygian dominant feel in the G#-A-G# section - but really that's just the normal V sound in C# harmonic minor. (C# is the overall tonic, not G#.)
    To get a (C#) phrygian feel, you'd need a D chord instead of G#, and the D would need to resolve to C#m (C#m still feeling like the "i" chord). The b2 is crucial to phrygian (which is why the G#-A-G# bit has that effect, but only relative to the G#).

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the reply.
    Although im still kinda confused. So in that I vi IV V progression the different modes dont really affect the sound? But say for example if i want to that piece to have a dorian sound by soloing over top of the progression, what scale would i play to accomplish that? im dont really how the treat each chord separately soloing concepts works but as far as soloing in one scale, which one would bring out the dorian feel?

    For the second part. I see now how the b2 would make it phrygian and the G# - A in there would make it relative to G# phrygian, but wouldnt that require the G# to be minor?

  5. #5
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riceboi89
    Thanks for the reply.
    Although im still kinda confused. So in that I vi IV V progression the different modes dont really affect the sound? But say for example if i want to that piece to have a dorian sound by soloing over top of the progression, what scale would i play to accomplish that?
    There is no way you will get an A dorian sound over that sequence (Dmaj7 - Bm7 - Gmaj7 - A7). If you want an A dorian sound, use a sequence that's in A dorian already - which means based around an Am chord, using the G major scale.
    Quote Originally Posted by Riceboi89
    For the second part. I see now how the b2 would make it phrygian and the G# - A in there would make it relative to G# phrygian, but wouldnt that require the G# to be minor?
    Yes.
    As I said, it's phrygian dominant if the G# is major. Phrygian dominant is the 5th mode of harmonic minor, or phrygian with a major 3rd.

  6. #6
    JazzNerd gersdal's Avatar
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    When you play the G major scale over a Am chord backing you'll get the A dorian mode.

    When you play chords that fits to a mode (e.g. the example you gave Dmaj7 - Bm7 - Gmaj7 - A7) you'll have a modal chord progression.

    If you, as you suggested, play D ionian - B aeolian - G lydian - A mixolydian over that progression you will let the solo stick to the same mode.

    However, you could play D lydian - B dorian - G ionian - A pentatonic if you find that more pleasing to the ear, or giving the "feel" you're after. You would not play in D ionian mode for the whole progression any longer, and you would have a few more difficulties (if the chords changes fast), but it could work out to be more interesting. It will still be a D ionian chord progression, though.

    To create what you think is a phrigian feel to the progression C#m - F#m - G# - A - G# may be acheived by carefull selection of scales over each chord. I can't think of ONE scales that would give me, what I would call, a prygian feel over all these chords. Maybe if I used several scales...

    Hope this helps

  7. #7
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Let's see what you understand about modes. I suspect some things are missing -- From the beginning.

    C Major scale C D E F G A B C = Ionian mode = Major attractive sound - THE Major scale
    Play that as.....D E F G A B C D = Dorian mode = Minor - Great minor jazz sound
    Play that as........E F G A B C D E = Phrygian mode = Minor - Exotic, Spanish sound
    Play that as..........F G A B C D E F = Lydian mode = Major - Day dreamy sound
    Play that as............G A B C D E F G = Mixolydian mode = Major - Blues or Latin sound
    Play that as ..............A B C D E F G A = Aeolian mode = Minor - Sad sound - THE Natural Minor scale
    Play that as..................B C D E F G A B = Locrian mode = Diminished - Dark and tense

    That's known as relative mode. Same notes different tonal centers, i.e. you walk the tonal center into different keys. Now you will not hear much difference when you walk the mode to a different tonal center -- sounds like the same ole C Major scale just started on a different note. It's not until you put the chords under the mode and play both at the same time that you hear the modal sound or mood. If you want the Dorian sound (mood) you will have to have minor chords as your tonal center. Same for a Major mode, it will have to have a major chord tonal center. The chords and notes have to be working together to give you the effect you are looking for. Instead of chord progressions think modal vamps. A vamp will sustain the modal mood much better than a chord progression. More on Modal Vamps. http://www.riddleworks.com/modalharm3.html {EDITED addition} IMHO it's a chicken or egg thing. What comes first - seems to work best for me if I decide first what mood I want, that dictates the mode - then decide on the chords to use that will augment that mood, i.e. minor mood, use minor chords i iv v, major mood, use major chords I IV V. As YOU decide on the chords think vamp and let that vamp drone in the background while you play the notes from the mode over the entire phrase. No need to change the mode over each chord - that's just too hard and not necessary.

    This site talks about modal chord progressions.
    http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/gui...showtopic=6023

    There is another way of doing modes......
    Parallel modes aka pitch axis has different notes but the same key, i.e. you keep the same tonal center, but, have different notes. Satriani likes this method, so do I (Satriani and I - LOL ) - up to you.

    C Ionian = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or C D E F G A B
    C Dorian = 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7 or C D Eb F G A Bb
    C Phrygian = 1, b2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7, or C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb
    C Lydian = 1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, 7 or C, D, E, F#, G, A, B
    C Mixolydian = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7 or C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb
    C Aeolian = 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7 or C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb
    C Locrian = 1, b2, b3, 4, b5, b6, b7 or C, Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb
    Take your Major C scale and if you want a Latin (Mexican) feel - flat the 7th. Yes, it's that simple.
    Take your Major C scale and if you want a nice minor jazz feel - flat the 3rd and 7th. --- What mood do you want for this melodic phrase? Play the mode that produces that mood. If you relate the mode to the Major or minor scale you only have to change one or two notes to get the affect you want. It's pretty simple really, we enjoy making it complicated. Remember the vamp or progression you use under the notes makes a world of difference.

    Check it out:
    http://www.looknohands.com/chordhous.../index_rb.html

    This site talks about using relative and parallel modes.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTuDl9q5tKM&NR=1

    Those patterns you've been learning - they'll work fine with parallel modes.
    http://www.guitarstuff.com/lessons/majmode/majmode.html


    Hope that filled in some of the gaps.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 04-07-2009 at 06:40 PM.

  8. #8
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riceboi89
    Thanks for the reply.
    Although im still kinda confused. So in that I vi IV V progression the different modes dont really affect the sound? But say for example if i want to that piece to have a dorian sound by soloing over top of the progression, what scale would i play to accomplish that? im dont really how the treat each chord separately soloing concepts works but as far as soloing in one scale, which one would bring out the dorian feel?
    I just realised I misread this part, and saw "A dorian" rather than "a dorian"

    The main point still stands - this is a major key sequence, not a dorian sequence - but the explanation could do with a bit more detail.

    Dorian mode is a minor key sound. It's like natural minor, but with a raised (major) 6th.
    Examples are Santana's "Oye Como Va", and the piano solo in the Doors "Light My Fire". Both these are vamps on an Am7 chord, with either D or Bm as secondary chord. So (from the chords alone) you have the scale A B C D E F# G. This is the G major scale, but the focus on an A root (tonal centre) makes it A dorian mode. (Although there are 2 chords, you can hear Am is the main one.)

    But let's say you took your sample sequence (D-Bm-G-A) and tried to impose a dorian sound over it. Let's also say we make each chord last long enough to hear its modal identity with the scale (at least 2 bars each).

    1. Going by D as the tonal centre, that means using D dorian mode, or C major scale. This is known as a parallel mode (same root note), or modal interchange (although to do that properly you would need to change the chords - see #3 below).
    This will give you a b3 and b7 over the D (major) chord - OK, that makes a blues sound. (Not really a dorian mode sound). Over the Bm you get a b5 (F) and b2 (C) - a kind of bluesy/locrian sound, a less comfortable fit on the chord. Over G, you get a b7 (F) - IOW, G mixolydian mode. (Given an overall D tonal centre, this is a D blues sound.). Over the A chord, you get a b3 (C) and b6 (F). This is another awkward fit, but may still support an overall D blues sound.
    IMO only the Bm chord will sound odd, but overall, you're still not getting a "D dorian" sound with your "D dorian" scale. You're getting a kind of "D blues" sound.

    2. What about using the dorian mode of the key? E dorian? This is known as a relative mode.
    Again, it won't sound dorian anywhere in this sequence.
    Assuming you focus on the E note (perhaps starting and ending phrases on it) what you will get is the following:
    On the D: Ionian mode with a stress on the 9th of the chord.
    On the Bm: B aeolian mode with a stress on the 4th/11th of the chord.
    On the G: G lydian mode with a stress on the 6/13th of the chord.
    On the A: A mixolydian mode with a stress on the 5th of the chord.
    And that's still assuming we spend enough time on each chord to get those individual modes. If not, if we have just 2 or 4 beats on each chord, you will get an overall "D major" sound, with the focus on the 2nd/9th of the scale.
    This may be a "different" sound, an attractive alternative to other uses (patterns) of the scale - but it is not a modal difference.

    3. Modal interchange. You want to make a dorian sound from a D major key sequence? Change the chords:
    D becomes Dm
    B becomes Bdim or Bm7b5
    G stays as G (G7 not Gmaj7)
    A becomes Am.
    Now you can use D dorian mode and it will (probably) give you an overall D dorian modal sound. (This only means using any pattern of the C major scale, with a focus on the D note(s), ending phrases on D as much as you can.)
    Even so, it has to sound as if Dm is your "home" chord. With the above sequence it may end up sounding as if Am is home - because Aeolian is a little more familiar than Dorian, and G-Am makes a good aeolian cadence.

  9. #9
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    You really need to start with just one chord when learning modes in order to get the modal sound. The reason why is so that you will "get" the fact that the mode's root note needs to be the tonic note and therefore you will not lose the mode's root as the tonic. You will maintain it as you need to do.

    Grab a chord form the Major Scale: I,ii,iii,IV,V,vi,or vii*

    Then grab the corresponding mode:

    I = Ionian

    ii = Dorian

    iii = Phrygian

    IV = Lydian

    V = Mixolydian

    vi = Aeolian

    vii* = Locrian

    Then just play that Major scale MODE over that individual chord.

    C#m would be the iii chord in the key of A, so just try playing in C# Phrygian over just a C#m chord. Or you can just think of it as playing the A Major scale over C#m, but realise that C# "IS" the root/tonic.

    It's easy to over think this stuff or to try and jump ahead and want to start adding more chords. But you need to hear the mode's root as the tonic so just playing the mode over just a single chord built on that mode's root will really help to enforce the importance of the mode's root.

    Start simple and build from there. GOOD LUCK!

    ~
    Last edited by Chim_Chim; 04-07-2009 at 12:41 AM.
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  10. #10
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    if this helps.major 7th=ionian;lydian;lydian#2;lydian augmented...minor 7th=dorian;phrygian;aeolian;dorian#4...minor major 7th=melodic minor;harmonic minor...minor7b5=locrian;locrian natual 2...dom.7th=mixolydian;lydianb7;aeolian major;altered dominant;phrygian major;dorian b2;whole-tone;symmetrical diminished (1/2,1,1/2,1,1/2,1,1/2,1)..major 7#5=lydian augmented...hope it helps...

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