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Thread: Modes. Why is it so hard?

  1. #136
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowthorpe
    Heh heh...just when you thought this thread had been laid to rest...he returns with one last dying question!

    About writing vamps/progressions to work with certain modes. If I wanted to write a vamp to work with the A dorian, how would I go about writing it? In the sense that, if I use the chords diatonic to the key of Gmajor, say, Amin7 - D7 (and we hold each chord for a really long time ) , that is still in the key of Gmajor. So over that I could use the Gmajor pentatonic, as well as the A dorian over the A chord, and D mixolydian over the D. How could I write it so that I could use the Amin pentatonic, and the A dorian? Would I use chords that aren't diatonic, such as Amin7 - Dmaj, so that essentialy that is in the key of A? This is the only thing left confusing me.

    Nick
    Your A Dorian vamp needs to:

    1.) establish the root (A)
    2.) establish the minor third (C)
    3.) establish the 6th (F#) as this is the characteristic note of A Dorian that distinguishes it from the other minor modes


    If your chords are Am7 to D7 then that should work fine.That's a common A Dorian vamp.The D7 wants to go somewhere,namely to the G chord.But if you go back to Am7 instead then it sounds like you meant to do it.It sounds as though you've started on Am7 and resolved back to Am7.Therefore it sounds like a looping vamp in A Dorian.It also meets the three requirements for establishing a vamp above.To make a vamp for any mode you must establish the root,the third(to tell that it's major or minor),and establish the characteristic note of the mode.

    To determine what the characteristic note is for a mode simply compare major modes to the major scale or minor modes to the natural minor scale.They will only differ by one note.

    major scale = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    lydian = 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 (different note = the #4)
    mixolydian = 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 (different note = the b7)

    natural minor scale = 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
    dorian = 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 (different note = the 6th)
    Phrygian = 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 (different note = the b2)
    locrian has two notes that are different (the b2 and b5)
    locrian = 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

    locrian isn't used a whole lot so don't worry too much about it
    Last edited by Chim_Chim; 01-08-2005 at 11:41 PM.
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  2. #137
    Licensed Moose
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    Just what I was looking for. Thanks a lot. Now I can get to work on producing vamps to work over. Yee haaww!

    Merci Beaucoup,
    Nick

  3. #138
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowthorpe
    Just what I was looking for. Thanks a lot. Now I can get to work on producing vamps to work over. Yee haaww!

    Merci Beaucoup,
    Nick
    For a much deeper understanding you should see Guni's excellent article on the subject.http://www.ibreathemusic.com/article/106

    There are other related articles by Guni too but I can't find them at the moment.Just check out all of Guni's articles.If you need to understand more of the basics or more advanced stuff then Guni's done some really excellent theory articles that run the gamut.

    There's all sorts of great articles on this site by alot of different people.

    And check out ChrisJ's excellent site too! chrisjuergensen.com
    There's a ton of great info there!

    cheers
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  4. #139
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Modal vamp

    When I want to get modal, (experiment with different modes other than diatonic) I like to have the chords be as simple as possible. If I am in the key of E minor and I want to experiment, I will have the Em chord played without the 7th and sometimes without the 3rd, thus opening the door for all the modes with the exeption of the Locrian. The simpler the chord, the more possibilities are acceptable. The more extentions you have in the chord, (as in Em6) the more confined you are to a certain mode. (E dorian)

  5. #140
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    i am so friggin lazy. i still havent gone and done your greensleeves experiment, LB
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  6. #141
    Amateur gynecologist smallbusrider's Avatar
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    Word of advice

    Hi, its me chiming in again...lol
    Just an obvious suggestion(in case this has not been stated before), make sure you know the major/minor scale all over the neck (with the roots) before you tackle modes...just advice for the beginners. otherwise its like putting a chevy 350 motor into a chevette. It just wont work...or you'll end up crashing....HARD!!!! lol
    Well im enduring this snowstorm in the northeast right now in Rhode Island.They're expecting 24-30 inches (just like my girlfriend! lol) good guitar practicing weather!!!!

    Good Day Y'all!!
    SBR

  7. #142
    Amateur gynecologist smallbusrider's Avatar
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    If you want a tool to produce good vamps, The personal music assistant by Roland is awesome...every instrument under the sun....can easily arrange progressions with a touch pen on screen...unfortunately they do not make these any more...take a look on ebay....

    Lata!!
    SBR

  8. #143
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fortymile
    i am so friggin lazy. i still havent gone and done your greensleeves experiment, LB
    And you've been avoiding me haven't you. You don't need a Piano for that stuff, It's all tabbed out for the guitar.

  9. #144
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    i feel guilty, lb, for not doing my homework, so i think i have been avoiding ibreathe...but i miss it.

    i actually do all my theory stuff on piano. even when i play guitar, i relate everything back to piano. but piano is where i learn stuff first...

    so i actually have to transcribe all that.

    but i am DEVOTED! i am unstoppable!

    (i'm hungry/what's on tv?)

    dang. soon.

    :|
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  10. #145
    5 years, still suck.. Leviathon's Avatar
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    Modal Possibilities...?

    Hey all, I have been working with this vamp in Cmin... It goes from Cmin to Ab - Eb - Bb.

    What are the Modal Possibilities of this vamp and why? Reading through the majority of this thread and I still find myself in that same rut... I am hoping this will help me a little...
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    "The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work."

  11. #146
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathon
    Hey all, I have been working with this vamp in Cmin... It goes from Cmin to Ab - Eb - Bb.

    What are the Modal Possibilities of this vamp and why? Reading through the majority of this thread and I still find myself in that same rut... I am hoping this will help me a little...
    It's C Aeolian.

    Why? Well because it's Cm something because it resolves to Cm,and the chords all fit C Aeolian:Cm Ddim Eb Fm Gm Ab Bb
    Last edited by Chim_Chim; 02-01-2005 at 08:39 PM.
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  12. #147
    Registered User SeattleRuss's Avatar
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    What you have written is a vi - IV - I -V progression in Eb major. I don't see the point in thinking modally here, as Eb major (ionian) will work fine here throughout. Plus, if you *did* think modally here, lots of things could happen, not many of them good. What of you thought in terms of playing the respective Ionian mode for each major chord? You'd end up all over the map a sfar as a perceived tonal center and wouldn't be any better off as far as actually making melodies. Or, you could think in terms of the "right" mode for each of the chords, in perspective of Eb major, so, C aeolian over the Cm, Ab Lydian over the Ab, Eb Ionian over the Eb, and Bb Mixolydian over the Bb. You'd still sound like you were in the key of Eb Major but you'd be doing a lot redundant thinking and still no closer to making melodies.

    To sum it up, this progression is not really suited for thinking modally. Progressions that are good modal candidates often have even fewer chords, which are often unrelated and the combination of tempo and the number of chord changes usually add up to being able to spend a fair amount of time in "the mode of the minute" to develope ideas.

    Another thing to think about concerning modal approaches is that, for example, in a typical modal progression like, Miles Davis's "So What", where you have 16 bars of Dm7, 8 bars of Ebm7 and finally 8 more bars of Dm7 and then start the cycle all over, you have to realize that the usage of "Dm7" here is a message from the composer to the musicians that during that part of the tune, they are to loosely think in terms of D Dorian and then Eb Dorian over the Ebm7 chord. But listen to the soloists. While they are aware of the underlying tonality, they are not playing too many scale sequences in Dorian - they are thinkng in terms of chord tones, superimposing chord tones, and are generally using tons of chromaticism. So the message comming from the composer here is not that you have to stay strictly in the chord's respective Dorian mode, it's much more of a loose kind of thing.

    With some modal music, a soloist may be told to play in any "D" harmonic situation of a Dm7 of D7 type chord, i.e. for 16 bars of Dm7, the soloist might start in D Dorian, move on to D Phrygian, then to D locrian - all over that same "D" tonality.

  13. #148
    5 years, still suck.. Leviathon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleRuss
    What you have written is a vi - IV - I -V progression in Eb major. I don't see the point in thinking modally here, as Eb major (ionian) will work fine here throughout. Plus, if you *did* think modally here, lots of things could happen, not many of them good. What of you thought in terms of playing the respective Ionian mode for each major chord? You'd end up all over the map a sfar as a perceived tonal center and wouldn't be any better off as far as actually making melodies. Or, you could think in terms of the "right" mode for each of the chords, in perspective of Eb major, so, C aeolian over the Cm, Ab Lydian over the Ab, Eb Ionian over the Eb, and Bb Mixolydian over the Bb. You'd still sound like you were in the key of Eb Major but you'd be doing a lot redundant thinking and still no closer to making melodies.
    Russ, thanks for the response... You pretty much reinforced what I had thinkg that the progression, even though it resolves to Cm is still in Eb and all notes are played in the Eb scale. I think this is what make people so frustrated with it. Because as I would play over it, nothing really great would come up, especially anything modally exciting. But I kept thinking that since I have taken the key of Eb, moved the tonal center to C that I have modal progression... And it is, but I see your point that Eb is still the scale of choice

    To sum it up, this progression is not really suited for thinking modally. Progressions that are good modal candidates often have even fewer chords, which are often unrelated and the combination of tempo and the number of chord changes usually add up to being able to spend a fair amount of time in "the mode of the minute" to develope ideas.
    So when you say unrelated, are you meaning completely different key, per say? Maybe clarify... And how do you know when unrelated is acutually related, modally?

    Another thing to think about concerning modal approaches is that, for example, in a typical modal progression like, Miles Davis's "So What", where you have 16 bars of Dm7, 8 bars of Ebm7 and finally 8 more bars of Dm7 and then start the cycle all over, you have to realize that the usage of "Dm7" here is a message from the composer to the musicians that during that part of the tune, they are to loosely think in terms of D Dorian and then Eb Dorian over the Ebm7 chord. But listen to the soloists. While they are aware of the underlying tonality, they are not playing too many scale sequences in Dorian - they are thinkng in terms of chord tones, superimposing chord tones, and are generally using tons of chromaticism. So the message comming from the composer here is not that you have to stay strictly in the chord's respective Dorian mode, it's much more of a loose kind of thing.

    With some modal music, a soloist may be told to play in any "D" harmonic situation of a Dm7 of D7 type chord, i.e. for 16 bars of Dm7, the soloist might start in D Dorian, move on to D Phrygian, then to D locrian - all over that same "D" tonality.
    I will have to chew on that....
    "The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work."

  14. #149
    5 years, still suck.. Leviathon's Avatar
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    Russ,

    I took the example you gave and made a quick two bar example of using Dm7 & Ebm7 chords and added a little improv to it... The reason I did this is because I would not think of using these two chords together...(that right there probably answers a whole lot) And then added a melody that would actually tie the two together that would actually make melodic sense. My point in posting these example is to see if I am making melodic sense in tying the two chords together using a possible mode, which right now I don't know what mode that would be...
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    "The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work."

  15. #150
    Registered User Sir Speedy's Avatar
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    He leviathan ,
    Cool screen name , was it inspired by Leviathan records ?? Chastain , Sick Society is a good CD .

    Anyway , Here's my take on the Minor Aeolean Riffing

    Play your repeted rhythm riff , and go through Patterns in sequences of 9 . Here's a power Tab , to show an example :
    ________
    Im_Yours live
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    Last edited by Sir Speedy; 09-15-2011 at 08:24 AM.

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