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Thread: modes, stuck in my craw

  1. #1
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    modes, stuck in my craw

    hi, i'm new here. i'm sure there are thousands of posts here about modes, and i can't wait to browse them. but first i'd like to ask a particular question that will help sort this thing out once and for all for me.

    i understand modes and how they're derived. (personally i strongly prefer to think of them as altered major scales, as opposed to thinking of them as displaced major scales.) i also understand how to harmonize them into a modal key signature. the one thing i'm still a bit foggy on is when and how to use them in soloing. i've seen two different explanations. one makes sense. the other bothers me.

    i *think* i've seen this sensible method in print somewhere, but i could be wrong: maybe i just made it up and am making a mistake. basically, the one that makes sense to me is to be on the lookout for 'foreign' chords, chords that are technically out of key, or non-diatonic. once you hear or see one, you identify which of its notes are out of key relative to the tonic. that is, relative to the tonic what is that A flat? (say you're in the key of c major--it'd be a flat 6 or aug 5 relative to c.) after you do this, you can think about using different C modes to solo over that chord. for example, i suppose a chord containing A flat might be receptive to any mode with a flat 6 in it and no other clashing notes. maybe C aolian. the thing that makes sense to me here is that you're basing your soloing mode on the tonic C. you're simply looking for "outlier notes" in the song's chords and varying your usual home-base soloing scale (c major, perhaps) to a different C mode to exploit the chordal oddity when it appears in the harmony.

    that makes sense to me.

    tom kolb, in this month's guitar one magazine, suggests a different method. he says to be on the lookout for the chance to use relevant modes over top of the normal diatonic chords. for example, if you see the IV chord, you're allowed to use the lydian mode starting *on that root note* since the lydian mode is derived from the fourth scale step of C. so if you saw the F major chord pop up in a key-of-C song, you could solo over it using F lydian. if you saw the G chord, you could choose to momentarily use G mixolydian.

    my problem with this method, of course, is that it's just dressing up the normal C major scale in fancy modal lingo. playing G mixolydian in a key-of-C song is still just using the C major scale. you've just shifted your starting note from C to G. yes, it resolves differently, but...*no new harmonic material has been introduced.* you might as well just say to yourself "oh, i'll just stay in my familiar c major scale." the same thing is accomplished. if you have even a halfway decent ear, you don't need to think about modes if this is all you're going to do. you don't have to logically decide to reposition your starting note. your halfway decent ear will, instead, simply lead you to play the notes of the c major scale that sound best and resolve best. and so i have to question whether kolb is even really talking about modal soloing here. this method doesn't help me to really use modes and get cool modal effects. and that's what i want to do.

    i'm left feeling hollow, as if the world is trying to deceive me about modes. can anyone explain how to thnk about this?

    thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    Erm. Kolb has got the right idea (as you might expect from someone who's authored several books on soloing).

    Since you already mentioned having good ears I would say to play through each mode and use your ears. They all have different sounds/feelings.

    I'm not sure I know what you mean by "cool modal sounds" but try playing a C major scale in 3rds, 4ths and 5ths. I'll bet playing through a scale in 5ths may be the sound you're after.

    -Dan
    "In improvised music you easily can tell who is a guitar player and who is a musician." - Maarten (fellow IBMer)

  3. #3
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    You have the same mental block that everyone has when starting on modes.
    You think it is redundant to reiterate the major scale starting on a different note.
    The important thing about modes is which note is FUNCTIONING as the root. Pretend the root of the scale is note x use it for resolution. Seek it. Record a two chord vamp say Em and D and analyze what modes are possible on it.
    Em (ii, iii, vi) [D, C, G] {Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian}
    D (I, IV, V) [D, A, G] {Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian}
    D Major and G Major are common to both chords E Dorian/D Ionian or E Aeolian/D Mixolydian are choices that can stay in one key. You could choose to play a different key on each chord is you like. But in the begining you should try common keys.
    Last edited by szulc; 06-28-2004 at 10:26 PM.
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  4. #4
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    Erm. I'm not questioning tom kolb's expertise. give me a little credit there. i'm just saying that if this is all that's meant by modal soloing, then it's really, *really* easy. i guess that's why i wasn't buying it. it's like just using a fancy word for what you already know how to do intuitively. and given the amount of time it took me to finally understand what modes even were, this comes as a shock to me. i'm a bit let down. haha.

  5. #5
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    dan, by soloing in fifths you're suggesting what, moviing along the scale in fifths instead of linearly through it? can you tell me your thoughts on why you think a scale like c, g, d, a, e will sound modal?

    oh yeah, by the way guys...
    henry rollins once said that, growing up, he always pretended to be a know-it-all...even when he had no clue what he was talking about. if you need or want some rationalization for why i would have the audacity to question tom kolb, it's because that's one way you can learn things deeply. i would be cheating myself if i didn't.
    thanks
    Last edited by fortymile; 06-28-2004 at 07:17 PM.

  6. #6
    some guy Doug McMullen's Avatar
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    Hi 40mile...

    Go ahead and question everyone and everything, it is a good way to learn.

    When it comes to modes... I agree with the defense of Tom Kolb's perspective as offered by szulc. It _is_ where "everyone has a mental block" and it _is_ important to learn modes that way. It's not as trivial as you seem to think it is, 40 mi. However THERE IS MORE TO MODES THAN JUST DIATONIC APPLICATIONS <-- we'll get back to the more, okay.

    To get to the more, first let's continue with the diatonic modes thing: Some examples:

    If I know Dmin G7 Cmaj7 as a ii V I in C... and I play over it with a c scale, great, I'm playing on the key.

    If I play over Dmin7 G7 Cmaj7 thinking modally, ii -- d dorian, V -- G mixolydian, I -- C ionian... I'm doing the same dang thing, but I'm probably emphasizing the chord tones a bit more (just from the way I go at the patterns) and I'm also probably making things more complicated for myself than they need to be (although, in all honesty, I personally have gotten so comfortable with the modes, that I _do_ think in this "complicated" way now... I don't reccommend it thought and it certainly isn't necessary... it's just that a person can get familiar with anything if they keep at it long enough)

    Now, if the progression is C7 -- F7 -- G7 (in a twelve bar blues form)... we have a different application of the modes... I can go "okay, that's blues in C, so I'll play in the key of C blues scale" ... fine, that'll work... but using the same scale over a blues progression is a great way to sound like a very lame blues player...

    If I know my mode scales, I can go at the chords a bit more directly by playing C mixolydian, F mixolydian, G mixolydian, and that might make it easier to play parallel ideas from one chord to the next...

    Or, (and this leads to the same exact available note choices as the above, but just gives a different theoretical lens to view the note choices from) I can do (this is sort of your idea of using modes in your original post, and it's a good idea, too) this: I can say -- C7 = C mixolydian, F7 is found in the key of Bb major and in Bb major I'd have C dorian, so F7 = C dorain, and G7 is found in the key of C, G7 give C ionian...

    And now we see that C7 F7 G7 blues moves us thru the notes of these scales: C mixolydian, C dorian, C ionian...

    Now calling G7 C ionian is quite problematic (okay, 180 degrees off) but that's another story... the deal here is about note choices and perspective but looking at the modes of C we get a clear picture of the scale changing under our fingers from a single root (C) perspective. We don't have to stick to the modes giving, we can mix in our C blues ideas along with it... but if we're developing a melody over big chunks of the progression, or playing clal and response, knowing that the IV chord is related to C minor could really help us nail the playing.

    Now, in truth none of this actually means sheeeet in the long run. But in the short run playing around with these ideas gets you examining and learning the thing which _really_ matters... which is learning and playing with the sound of distinct intervals as heard against chords.

    There's this palette of intervals and you want to learn how the sound harmoniically in different contexts... the b9 and the #9 and the #4 and b5 and #5 and b6 and b7 and 7 .... Those are the things you want to hear and comprehend... and they can all be used all over the place. Studying modes, and their applications (which include, but also go beyond, the Tom Kolb diatonic modes idea) is a GREAT way to learn to think intervallically. Meaning -- interval against chord.

    Eventually you'll stop giving a crap about mixolydian this or that, and really hear the thing which matters, which is hearing the b7 interval against a major triad. Lydian schmidian -- hear the way a #4 works in variety of contexts.

    There's a chord, and there's the notes you play over the chord all of which have an intervallic relationship to the chord(root, primarily) -- modes are one way of grabbing a handful of intervals. You can grab a handful of diatonic intervals, or you can grab something with things that are a little out... you can grab whatever the heck you want so long as you do it with conviction and intention.

    ... And of course there's a whole nother way to use modes... it is how I think a lot of metal type players use modes (without quite realizing I think, but maybe I'm being a jazz snob, and anyway, what the heck I don't listen to a lot of metal) which is using modes over basslines/undefinedchords/powerchords....

    If you are playing with just a bass player pounding on the root, or root and fifth, and the rhythm guitarist is whanging away on power chords (R5 chords) ... well the darn harmony you are playing against is completely undefined... which is leaves things wide open for a soloist.... imagine four bars of C5 followed by four bars of F5.... what the hell, you could treat that a variety of ways in your solo. Power chords are like a solist's make your own Sundae ... you can add chocolate syrup or cherry or whatever... C5 is two dang notes, C and G... That is you can define (with your playing) the chord as C minor, or C major, or C dominant... you can get all kinds of pure C mode sounds out of the chord, because the chord doesnt' have any harmony of its own to interfere with your exotic scale explorations.

    To learn the unique sounds of modes -- outside of diatonic harmony as harmonic creatures on their own -- experiment playing over simple root only basslines and over simple powerchord progressions.

    By the way, a lot of "modal music" in jazz explores the sound of a single chord or mode from a variety of angles... for example "Impressions" a coltrane tune (based on the Miles Davis composition so what) explores Dm7 and Ebm7... Coltrane just goes nuts on them, (primarily) in the Dorian mode on each. This approach is what a lot of jazz musicians think of when they hear "modal" music. It means jamming on very very slow moving chords, a la the Kind of Blue album (miles Davis) which introduced this concept to jazz.

    Um, I think that's enough... but the mode scale fun continues with melodic minor scale and it's modes.

    Doug.
    Last edited by Doug McMullen; 06-28-2004 at 08:28 PM.

  7. #7
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    That's some really interesting information. I never really realized that before. Not because of a mental block, but just because nobody took the time to really explain the importance of it that well before.


    Now I've got something to experiment with tomorrow - and for a decade or so after that I guess

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    some guy Doug McMullen's Avatar
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    but just because nobody took the time to really explain the importance of it that well before.
    LOL CAT.... Now I believe you truly are a very well caffeinated cat -- because only a very alert soul could actually follow what I was saying. I just read over what I wrote and honestly I can barely make sense of what I was saying.... I made lots of errors from writing too fast. Well, I'm glad you got something out of what I said. The content IS good. But the form leaves something to be desired I think.

    I'm going to edit that post for clarity when the wine I had with dinner clears up (sometime tomorrow).

    Doug.

  9. #9
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    Doug,
    Thank you for the extensive post.


    I hear what youíre saying. The reason I say that kolbís method wonít help me that much is because I already play by thinking about intervals and so my ear for resolutions is spot on with the underlying harmonic flow. Thatís pretty much how Iíve learned to solo. I know a scant few patterns in a few positions only, so when Iím called upon to create a solo, I generally just feel out intervalsówhich I know by name and by soundóand although itís not something I can do quickly, I at least have the sensation that Iím playing from the heart and making music rather than following guidelines suggested by a pattern. I then memorize what Iíve created. The drawback is that I canít be truly spontaneous, because I do make errors on occasion. Iím not knocking kolbís diatonic method. Iím just saying that while it may (I have yet to try to apply it) speed me up and make me look more dextrous, perhaps, it really wonít be adding a new trick to my bag. I had a different impression of what modes could do for me.


    I hear what youíre saying about the various mixolydians in the blues progression there.

    If you didnít make an error in the section about the various C-root modes as the blues progression flips through the 7-chords, then I do, in fact, follow that. I never thought of it that way. Iíd love to be able to think that way when I encounter a new progression, but itís kind of difficult for me right now to see what the algorithm is for quickly seeing the possibilities. Dom7 chords are a special case. You know youíre dealing with mixolydian modes on each of them.

    I canít stop caring about modes until I ďgetĒ and fully understand all the ways people think about them. I may not end up using them in a traditional way. I may end up not caring. But first I have to care. I donít like the idea, anymore, of deciding that somethingís just too hard for me to grasp. I had that notion for the first 8 years I played guitar and I didnít move an inch in terms of ability. ThenówhamóI taught myself diatonic theory and a whole new world opened up.


    Yes, I know, those 5 chords are a world of opportunity, being harmonically neutral.

    SoÖ.about that mode shifting on the root note. I need to think more about that. Because I think thatís essentially what I was thinking about, while having no idea how to describe it. I think? I might be wrong? Does it sound like it?

    So, is there an algorithm? A set of questions that you ask yourself when encountering a new chord progression that will reveal these possibilities to you? Thatís what Iíd like to sort out now but it will definitely take some thought. Any further insights will be received with worshipful gratitude.

    And thanks, that was interesting reading.
    Last edited by fortymile; 06-29-2004 at 05:17 AM.

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    Wow, fortymile articulated the big nagging question in my brain perfectly. I read that same Tom Kolb article, and I thought to myself, "dude, i'm not worthy to wash your underwear, but it's the same damn scale!!!" lol.

    And Doug...what an effin awesome response. I'm cutting, pasting, and saving that forever.

    So many people have tried to explain modes to me and have failed (my denseness...not their fault), but it's always been confusing because when it is explained in the context of a diatonic chord progression (as is often the case), all I naively saw was a lot of stupid effort to give fancy names to the same scale tones!

  11. #11
    some guy Doug McMullen's Avatar
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    Hi 40 mi. thanks for the kind words.

    I don't have any magic modal decoder ring, my blues analysis is something I sort of stumbled upon and thought was neat-o... actually, if I had a system of modal analysis it would be the one you describe in your initial post, very nice to have come up with that way of looking at modal possibilities -- kudos to you.

    I look at chords the way most jazz dudes do: I look for ii Vs and V Is and other common cadential formulae, I look for common cycles and common turnarounds... I try to understand the composed melody and how the chords interact with it, and I try to glean from it all what sorts of ideas the composer was monkeying around with when he wrote the tune. That whole process makes sense for someone (me) playing jazz standards... but for a guy playing original music in another genre, like progressive rock for instance, well another process is no doubt in order when thinking about what to do with chords.

    But ultimately, all that counts is a fertile musical imagination and the ability to execute what one imagines easily and accurately on the fretboard -- hey that's all one needs -- LOL... easier said than done, eh?

    What analysis did hendrix use that told him it was okay to use the sound of the pickup selector switch as music, or to use howling feedback in his solos? What mode is "set the guitar on fire and pray to it"? -- I want to use _that_ mode.

    Watch Jim Hall play guitar -- he sure doesn't look like he's analyzing things when he plays, or thinking real hard about anything -- it looks like he's dreaming, dreaming music which his hands then conjure from the guitar. Now, Jim Hall has a docotorate in music composition too, he could be thinking hard if he wanted to be... I guess what I'm saying is -- it's a lot of work getting to the point where playing well isn't a lot of work. All this theory stuff is a stepping stone to the ultimate goal (for an improvisor at least) which is fluency in a genre.

    Don't get wrapped up in micromanaging your note choices -- via modes, scales, arpeggios, or any or technical device. Learn all the devices you can and just be sure to include your imagination as the final step in the process; use devices to prod your imagination, to find new things to explore. NOT to replace imagination, or as an alternative to imagination (which is actually what everybody does... when you run out of real ideas and real music in your soul, you fall back on all those little "tricks" -- we all do it.)

    A lot of guys try to learn how to play by rote, try to play from patterns and from eyesight on the fretboard as though music can be played without hearing or imagination but just by theory, by following rules -- not only is that a truly insanely hard thing to do, but it's a bad idea in the first place... it's not satisfying even if you succeed, and it's dang near impossible to succeed at!

    Feed your imaginiation. All notes are possible (that's the final analysis)... you just have to use them in phrases that mean something.

    You make notes right, or wrong, by the way you play, by the notes you surround other notes with... So when we talk about analyzing for "possibilities" -- there's no end to the possibilities.

    Doug.



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  12. #12
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    yeah, i have a hard time explaining my interest in theory to people. i often meet with warnings about becoming too technical or mechanical, but it doesn't bother me, given my DIY background in this.

    i was musically crippled. i took some piano lessons growing up and came out of it knowing very little about how music works. the best lesson i got came at the end of each practice session. as the daylight faded outside i would stop playing from the book and just start feeling around and playing whatever my fingers decided sounded good. i was learning how intervals worked. to this day i don't know how i know where to reach, but sometimes--like a lot of players--i just do. but of course, it doesn't always work. there's a hit or miss factor. and so my interest in theory, a lot of it, is aimed at schooling my intuition, not my prefrontal cortex.

    the play-by-feel thing is at the very base of me now. i grew up with that and it's been literally all i have. when i started studying theory, i learned the names for the intervals and i learned diatonic theory and i'm happy to report that these studies have done nothing (that i can see) to mechanize my tunes. it's only helped.

    granted there are some people who start with theory. sometimes i wonder about those dudes in the music stores who sit on a bench and dazzle passers-by with flashy, speedy scales as if to say 'i'm a real guitar player.' sometimes you don't really hear the music there as much as you hear patterns or a conscious attempt to be impressive. still, i've been jealous of those guys before! if for no other reason that i'm not fast like they are. if i try to go that fast, i end up hitting some 'landmark' notes that fit (as my fingers very roughly gravitate toward intuitive positions on the fretboard) but i hit a lot of wrong notes too.

    i spent my teens and early 20's listening to a lot of pixies and nirvana. kurt had the hendrix intuition going. he must have found his rules by doing what i've always done--experimenting, letting your mood and impulses pick the notes. letting intuition discover theory--without all the words. logic-chains, and explanations. playing by feel is so deeply ingrained in me now that i dont think i CAN lose that. even if i have a head full of theory, when i'm writing or playing, it goes away. the thing is, i just got tired of the dead times, the times when i was uninspired. the intuitive approach depends a lot on that, and sometimes, it's just a gray year. those are the times i want to expand my knowledge, just to keep moving forward. rather than lose interest in music altogether because nothing's turning me on.

    i think there's a point where the things you've learned become subconscious. you're using the rules and ideas, yes, sometimes, but you're also open to that chance impulse that takes you to a better, more surprising place. i don't know jim hall, but if he's got a doctorate in composition, don;t you think the same thing is probably going on with him? doesn't he have a lot of stored unconscious knowledge of what works and what doesn't? and when he's got the guitar plugged into his soul, i bet it's almost like his soul is reaching down into that latent mulch pile of possibilities and turning them into something apparently effortless, magical, and spontaneous.

    i still suck. the only thing i've got going for me is a good sense of relative pitch, and the occasional spark of inspiration that creates an interesting chord progression or rhythm. i guess i'm just hungry to explore, rather than to flounder in the temporary absence of inspiration. uncontent to randomly reach along my fretboard on a couch somewhere and hope that the next note i hit will turn me on. the forward activity that comes from studying theory is sort of its own inspiration sometimes. so, yeah! i want to know how to micromanage my notes! and then forget it all!

    by the way, someone up above commented that my approach to modes (in my initial post) might lead to a lot of implied key changes. i guess it might, huh? that was in the back of mind. just noticing the notes in an outlier chord and then playing a mode that contains that foreign note would probably work 50 percent of the time, depending on how those other modal notes fit in with the sense of key and the other chord notes. so i'm not sure i CAN use that technique.

    your blues thing led me to an experiment last night. in the key of C, using the progression I, IV, IVminor (a typical radiohead progression) i asked myself what key would IVminor be the VIminor of? turned out to be Ab, which made the available C-root mode on that chord a C phrygian scale. i could switch from c ionian to c phyrigian on the Fminor. it worked! soudned very odd, but definitely fit, and added something.

    if i get some energy here, i'll try to figure out what questioning i;'ve gotta do and in what order to quickly see when things like this are possible. it escapes me right now.

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    Modes

    Hey dudes,

    Modes, you can live with 'em but you certainly cant live without 'em eh?
    Well, i have been trying to understand the modes for quite some time but everytime i think iv got the hang of them something crops up, is there an end.

    Heres what i want to be able to do...
    I want to be able to write songs in a particular key using every theoretical tool available to me with precision and poise. Im feeling dizzy at the thought of this but hey.

    When writing a song in a key, you obviously have a set of notes that are in that key, right?, these notes form the major scale, and these notes tell you which chords to play and which note is the root of a particular mode, right? I understand 'em here.

    However when righting a song, how do you know which mode you can use? I know it boils down to the chords that you use but how? If you are looking for a particular sound how do know how to get it.

    Am i right in thinking that any note of the major scale can act as the root? So therefore you sinply play the chords as if that particular moe/note is the root. So in a Cmajor scale CDEFAG, E would be the phrygian mode, right, now must i approach this as if it were the Eminor scale and not the Cmajor? Simply by changing the role played by the notes in the scale, you know, with the I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii*. Also theoretically is it ok to play around and switch modes in a song, so you could do the above with the Eminor and then change the whole thing so that the F would be the root and change the direction and sound?

    Thankyou for your help

  14. #14
    some guy Doug McMullen's Avatar
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    Hey 40 mi.

    I think there was some miscommunication between you and I regarding my last post. Basically -- we're in complete agreement, you do realize that, right?

    i want to expand my knowledge, just to keep moving forward. rather than lose interest in music altogether because nothing's turning me on
    That's a great reason to study theory type stuff... maybe the best reason.


    i think there's a point where the things you've learned become subconscious. you're using the rules and ideas, yes, sometimes, but you're also open to that chance impulse that takes you to a better, more surprising place. i don't know jim hall, but if he's got a doctorate in composition, don;t you think the same thing is probably going on with him? doesn't he have a lot of stored unconscious knowledge of what works and what doesn't? and when he's got the guitar plugged into his soul, i bet it's almost like his soul is reaching down into that latent mulch pile of possibilities and turning them into something apparently effortless, magical, and spontaneous.
    Yes absolutely right -- that's exactly what I was trying to say when I said, "It's a lot of work getting to the point where playing isn't a lot of work." Jim Hall has taken an enormous amount of musical knowledge and managed to internalize very thoroughly. I was never saying, "just play like Jim Hall does," LOL man I wish it were that easy! I'll bet Jim Hall wishes it were that easy!

    I was saying, it's a long road to get to where Jim Hall is but when I listen to him, I know it'll be worth the work to get even 1/2 way there.

    There are no shortcuts (other than perhaps weird god-given talent) to playing.

    JH has paid his dues in full and the reward is that he can express himself thru music and the guitar very clearly. That must feel great.

    So, I wasn't saying "screw theory, just play by the seat of your pants" not at all... and I'm not saying the opposite either, which would be "the ONLY WAY to become a great player is to know your theory backwards and forwards." Nope, I'm not saying that either.

    It seems to me that top players all reach a place where they don't have too many technical concerns and just play "what they hear" -- I think there are many roads to getting to that place (all of which involve a lot of hard work and practice) and one road is the theory road. All I was I was trying to say is that studying theory is a path, not a destination.

    But at any rate I'm starting to repeat things you've already said, so I guess I can I can stop explaining to you: you already understand.

    Forgive me, I get worried when people start talking about algorithms and calculations -- I get worried that the person is trying to replace creativity with rule-following. Obviously that's not what you are going to do.

    I'm a great believer in theory being very useful for organizing ideas, organizing the fretboard, and for providing food for the imagination. The big trick is to assimilate intellectual ideas into one's knowledge of one's intstrument so that there is a smooth flow from imagination to instrument.

    I'll bet The Borg could play some good guitar.

    Take care,

    Doug.

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    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    doug--

    you rock. i'm really enjoying this conversation. i was just trying to explain my interest in this just to be clear that i think i get both sides of it. why intuition is important and why theory can be a great tool.

    what you said about just "playing what you hear"...yes, i think that's the key. being curious about theory can not only expose you to new sounds, but can show you that some of those sounds have names. the lydian sound is a certain interval played over a certain root, you know? if you didn't know it had a name, you might hear it in passing, think "hey thats cool, that guy's a good player, so creative. i wonder how he did that" and then forget about it. but for me, a benefit of theory is learning that things sometimes have names, or that you can name them. naming things is a power. once you name a sound you like, you can know that it's repeatable. you'll retain the sound in your head as a possibility and hopefully start to use it intuitively every now and then. ultimately, that's where i'm sure i'll end up. i just don't have a head for patterns or even algorithms.

    (i knew that word would rattle someone. he he .

    but in the beginning, learning an 'algorithm'--which i just consider to be a sequence of questions which can reveal new opportunities--is the way i'm going to have to understand modes.

    i'm still looking for one for the little trick you showed me. so far, it only works consistently for foreign minor chords when i re-frame them as "the six of something."

    i've started thinking about what you've said about screwing the scales and just learning to hear intervals against roots. i have a question about that. suppose you encounter a chord which inspires you to throw a sharp 11 note into your solo at that point. but doing so introduces a note that's out of key. this is either good or bad, right? on the one hand thats sort of what i meant by "introducing new harmonic material." ikt's what i wanted modes to do for me! on the other hand, another poster here said (up above) something like "introducing new modes will cause all kinds of conflicts with the key." an out of key note will seem jarring next to the tonal center--which your mind stays attached to even as the chords change, you know? won't it?

    you can tell this is all theoretical for me at this point. i've barely begun experimenting.

    and oh yeah, sorry for the length of my posts.

    40
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

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