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Thread: Modes. Why is it so hard?

  1. #271
    Registered User bluesking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    ABCDEFG - is A Aeolian not C Aeolian.

    Thought I would clarify that one for the readers.
    ABCDEFG is just a list of 7 notes though, surely?

    What is CEGBDFA?

    What is GFEDCBA?

    ABCDEFG, when the note A is the tonic (for example when using these notes to solo over an Am chord) is A Aeolian though.

    Sorry to nit-pick, but this is the kind of stuff which causes kids to play scales linearly up & down, starting from the root. No one likes that...
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  2. #272
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    I think modes are the most underrated things I've ever come across in my life, judging by what people say and think about them on the internet,lol.

    Really, they are far,far more useful than they are given credit for in most internet circles.

    This has become beyond hysterical to me now.

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

  3. #273
    Registered User bluesking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chim_Chim View Post
    Really, they are far,far more useful than they are given credit for in most internet circles.
    Hmmmm, I have yet to meet a pianist who lends any significant weight to the study of modes. Jazz or Classical. I wonder how they get along?

    Anyway, the internet is buzzing with modes. Most online lessons etc. jump straight to modes, well before functional harmony is even mentioned.
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  4. #274
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    Hmmmm, I have yet to meet a pianist who lends any significant weight to the study of modes. Jazz or Classical. I wonder how they get along?

    Anyway, the internet is buzzing with modes. Most online lessons etc. jump straight to modes, well before functional harmony is even mentioned.
    Well people should spend ALOT more time with those lessons before arguing about them on the internet,lol.

    Modes = used in ****loads of songs PERIOD

    That makes them valuable to guitar players.

    The same arguments may be going on all over the internet, but the same things are said about modes over and over again about how they aren't needed or aren't useful.

    Maybe that's the problem,huh?

    Maybe that's why no one freaking understands them at all.

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

  5. #275
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    ABCDEFG - is A Aeolian not C Aeolian.

    Thought I would clarify that one for the readers.
    lol, nice catch

    C Ionian and C Aeolian are NOT the same thing, nor are C Ionian and A Aeolian the same thing.

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

  6. #276
    Registered User bluesking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chim_Chim View Post
    Modes = used in ****loads of songs PERIOD
    Not trying to be antsy, and I will say no more on the issue, but can you give me some examples of songs which "use modes" in your opinion?

    Also, I'm not sure its correct to say no one understands them. They aren't complicated. Basic literacy and logic are required (hence exempting fingerpickingood of course). I would think most guitarists understand modes. I understood modes well before I needed to. I understood modes before I could play the chords to "Autumn Leaves". Thats about as simple as anything gets. To this day, I have learnt more from "Autumn Leaves" than I have from modes.
    Last edited by bluesking; 10-04-2009 at 03:20 AM.
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  7. #277
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    The problem with modes, on the internet, is indeed that no one understands them in context. All the lessons I ever see online are just some guy playing an A done and the notes from C major. Sure.. This is a good start and if you bother to listen (which many people don't seem to do) you can hear why its unique.

    Modes are about harmony.. Not just playing Cmajor from a different position.


  8. #278
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    The problem with modes, on the internet, is indeed that no one understands them in context. All the lessons I ever see online are just some guy playing an A done and the notes from C major. Sure.. This is a good start and if you bother to listen (which many people don't seem to do) you can hear why its unique.

    Modes are about harmony.. Not just playing Cmajor from a different position.

    I don't think many people are hungry enough to really take advantage of all of the free lessons out there. I think they just sort of take them for granted.
    I also think alot of them just take music for granted and aren't really into it to where they have discerning musical taste. They aren't very discriminating in their taste and so rather than going after what they like they just sort of accept whatever falls in their lap. They sort of take it all for granted, like the internet lessons.

    I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  9. #279
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    Not trying to be antsy, and I will say no more on the issue, but can you give me some examples of songs which "use modes" in your opinion?

    Also, I'm not sure its correct to say no one understands them. They aren't complicated. Basic literacy and logic are required (hence exempting fingerpickingood of course). I would think most guitarists understand modes. I understood modes well before I needed to. I understood modes before I could play the chords to "Autumn Leaves". Thats about as simple as anything gets. To this day, I have learnt more from "Autumn Leaves" than I have from modes.
    They may well come up in blues, rock, modal jazz, psychedelic rock, jam bands, classic hard rock, fusion, instrumental rock and shred, and perhaps in some more classic-rock-ish type metal or more shred-type metal. And so on and so forth. Maybe in some video game or cartoon or other types of themes,etc.

    Modes aren't just like these weird obscure things designed to screw with guitar players' heads.

    They're fairly common in more improvisational types of music and songs, rather than in say the typical pop ballad.
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  10. #280
    Registered User bluesking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chim_Chim View Post
    They may well come up in blues, rock, modal jazz, psychedelic rock, jam bands, classic hard rock, fusion, instrumental rock and shred, and perhaps in some more classic-rock-ish type metal or more shred-type metal. And so on and so forth. Maybe in some video game types of themes,etc.

    Modes aren't just like these weird obscure things designed to screw with guitar players' heads.

    They're fairly common in more improvisational types of music and songs, rather than in say the typical pop ballad.
    Any actual songs you could name (excluding all modal jazz)? You can't say "The Simpsons" theme tune, as I already stated it.
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  11. #281
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    Any actual songs you could name (excluding all modal jazz)? You can't say "The Simpsons" theme tune, as I already stated it.
    Sorry I don't listen to much outside of 50's bebop lately. So I cant make a comprehensive list of pop or rock tunes that clearly utilize modes for texture.

    As an example though.
    Flying in a blue Dream. Satch.. Of course. Most of that tune is build around a D/C - Cmaj vamp indicating C Lydian, Which he uses beautifully I must say. I think the title even suggests that he knows what he is doing with that mode. I always found Lydian to have a sky blue kind of feel. It reminds me of clouds.

    That is one of the perks of 'power chords' too, which appear in rock tunes more than any other. The qualities and implications of each chord are a bit obscured so you are free to chose from almost any mode, so long as your clever about it. Unlike Jazz where we feel compelled to outline chord qualities a bit more.

  12. #282
    Registered User bluesking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    Flying in a blue Dream. Satch.. Of course. Most of that tune is build around a D/C - Cmaj vamp indicating C Lydian, Which he uses beautifully I must say. I think the title even suggests that he knows what he is doing with that mode. I always found Lydian to have a sky blue kind of feel. It reminds me of clouds.
    Well, I think with the name we are playing guessing games (Lydian is also the major scale with a blue note...)

    Anyway, I had sort of expected that examples of "modes being used in ****loads of songs" could only throw up songs from 2 catagories:
    1.) Modal Jazz
    2.) Guitar music perpetrated over the last 20/30 years.

    The reasong for the latter catagory is obvious. If you teach modes: guitarists will have to use them. They don't have any other choice, because they generally don't understand functional progressions, key changes, all that good stuff which every non-guitarist knows like the back of their hand.

    Its a self-fullfilling prophecy.

    Some people like the sound of this kind of music, thats great. But I don't care for it. You will find most people who don't play guitar don't care for it. Ever wonder why? Perhaps with modes we are fencing ourselves in and killing the popularity of our instrument....

    ... give me 50's bebop any day over Satch.
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  13. #283
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chim_Chim View Post
    Right.



    Wrong.


    Well apparently, you are.



    You asked. So I tried to explain it to you. And then you act as though I am forcing some sort of abstract subjective opinions on you.

    You said you didn't "get it." Well, you're never going to "get it" until you change your own mind and your silly little attitude.




    My point is that they are actually entirely different, though they do share the same notes.

    no the intervals between notes in any given mode is the same. the interval between degrees is different.

    ya i don't see how modes are useful to people. but i know what they are. lots of people own and buy and use stuff that i find useless. that doesn't mean i don't know what the things they are buying are. it just means i don't want them.

    you have been telling me what modes are. what i don't know know is why people find that useful. or important. i don't see why it improves their improvising. i don't see why knowing modes or those extra scales like those 3 you find in minor or whatever they are, is important, because with pentatonic pattern, major patter (ie the pattern all the modes are in) and chromatic, i've covered all of the notes. so what do i need those extra scales for? i can still play them, and i must, because i use all the notes. but knowing all those scales just seems like alot of extra work for nothing really. and i'll admit. i might be wrong. but you'd have to show me for that. not explain to me what they are. that's the part i know. what i don't know is anyone would spend the time to learn them.



    I agree with bluesking on this one, you never hear talk of modes on piano. and i think the simple reason is that in guitar you change position on the fretboard, and that changes the lowest note in that position, so modes lend themselves more to guitar in that way.

    on piano you hear way less talk about it, even though it's the same thing and exists just the same.

    I've never needed modes for piano, i've never spoken to anyone who did to be honest.

    maybe as a songwriting tool i could see it, you could quickly and easily choose a mood by knowing which modes give which mood and which kind of chord structure you would need in order to emphasize a given root for the mode you want to achieve.

    but for improvising i don't find them useful at all.

    maybe others do. that's fine. some people like metronomes, some don't find them useful. some people like modes, and some don't find them useful. some people like picks, some don't. some like the open chords, and some don't. some like distortion and some don't. some want to play cover tunes others not, some songwrite others not, some improvise more, and others prefer planned choreography.

    it's all different.

    but i'm telling you, i dont' find modes useful.

    maybe you do, that's ok, and honestly what i'd really like, is for you to show me with a recording exactly what it is you need modes for for improvising.

    it would settle it easily. just show me why they are so important. show me what i'm missing.

    hopefully i'll find out that i was wrong and that actually modes will bring this whole new world to me of improvisation that i was kept in the dark from for so long. that would be so totally awesome. but i won't keep my hopes up.

    i mean, you say it's so important and i say it's not. you found it useful for learning to play and i don't. now maybe i really suck, and i don't know why, and i am just stubborn as to refusing to believe that modes could be my solution, or maybe i just actually don't need them.

  14. #284
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    no the intervals between notes in any given mode is the same. the interval between degrees is different.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    you have been telling me what modes are. what i don't know know is why people find that useful. or important. i don't see why it improves their improvising. i don't see why knowing modes or those extra scales like those 3 you find in minor or whatever they are, is important, because with pentatonic pattern, major patter (ie the pattern all the modes are in) and chromatic, i've covered all of the notes. so what do i need those extra scales for? i can still play them, and i must, because i use all the notes. but knowing all those scales just seems like alot of extra work for nothing really. and i'll admit. i might be wrong. but you'd have to show me for that. not explain to me what they are.
    But you are using "modes" in a different sense to how Chim and bluesking are using it (and they probably use the term differently from each other too...)

    You're absolutely right that in the sense you understand them (or are talking about them here anyway), modes are nothing special. They are just the same notes in different patterns. They are of no benefit whatsoever in understanding music or in improvising. (I mean the names, that is, not the patterns - all patterns are useful.)

    Chim (if I understand him right!) is talking about modal sounds. These are quite common in modern music, in rock or jazz - although bluesking would also be right (if I understand him right!) that key-based language is generally sufficient to understand those sounds.
    IOW, most modal sounds can be understood as variations on the standard major and minor key sounds. (mixolydian = "major with b7"; dorian = "minor with raised 6th"; etc)
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    maybe as a songwriting tool i could see it, you could quickly and easily choose a mood by knowing which modes give which mood and which kind of chord structure you would need in order to emphasize a given root for the mode you want to achieve.
    Right - that's a more correct way to view them. As an alternative to working (writing) in keys.

  15. #285
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    (Lydian is also the major scale with a blue note...)
    Interesting comparison, but not very revealing IMO. Blues uses the #4/b5 alongside a P4 and P5, to say nothing of the b3 and b7. A very different sound.

    And JazzMick is quite right that "Flying in a Blue Dream" is a good example of Lydian mode (and it's not bluesy at all, although it may be "blue" in a synaesthetic way, as in the title).

    But a valid observation would be that other examples of lydian mode are pretty thin on the ground.... (I don't know of any others). Satch does seem to have written that as a deliberate exercise in lydian mode.
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    Anyway, I had sort of expected that examples of "modes being used in ****loads of songs" could only throw up songs from 2 catagories:
    1.) Modal Jazz
    2.) Guitar music perpetrated over the last 20/30 years.
    Not quite fair. Mixolydian modal sounds are widespread in rock going back to the 1960s. Rock has a real affinity for mixolydian, beyond the blues influence of the b7, and whether or not the players have ever heard the term "mixolydian". (As I've said before, John Lennon never heard the word, but used mixolydian mode extensively.)
    Dorian too is pretty common.
    Of course, you can argue that both are accidental, as a result of rock players' intuitive mixing of parallel major and minor tonalities. Mixolydian and dorian are simply intermediate points between major and natural minor.
    So not many songs may stick exclusively to one or the other, but those intermediate sounds occur all the time.

    Then again, do those modal terms help us understand the music? They help us describe it, certainly. And they may help us zero in on the interestingly "non-key" aspects of a song. I don't really have strong feelings either way.
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    If you teach modes: guitarists will have to use them. They don't have any other choice, because they generally don't understand functional progressions, key changes, all that good stuff which every non-guitarist knows like the back of their hand.
    Bit of a generalisation! (and an exaggeration of the knowledge of non-guitarist musicians...)
    And while "functional progressions and key changes" may be "good stuff", there are other "good" ways of making music. You (or I) don't have to like them.
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    Some people like the sound of this kind of music, thats great. But I don't care for it.
    And that is relevant to this argument how, exactly?
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    You will find most people who don't play guitar don't care for it.
    Really? You mean most non-musicians? Or most musicians who are not guitarists? Or both?
    It's an odd statement either way.
    And so what if it's true? Most people don't care for jazz or classical music...
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    Perhaps with modes we are fencing ourselves in and killing the popularity of our instrument....
    I see no sign of that. The guitar seems to be increasingly, rabidly, popular, despite all the distractions (easy computer music, etc.).
    I would agree that modal concepts have (through clumsy usage) poisoned guitar tuition, at least most of what can be found online.
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    ... give me 50's bebop any day over Satch.
    OK, again that's your preference. I don't much care for Satch's music myself (although in his youtube lessons he's an intelligent and erudite guy). I don't much care for most bebop either. I tend to prefer older jazz (Django etc) and later jazz (Shorter, Hancock, and a lot of modern players).
    But my taste is as irrelevant as yours!

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