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