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Thread: Modes. Why is it so hard?

  1. #421
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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    Spoken like someone who has never learn't how to speak the language.

    That is what I have been endorsing this whole time sheeesh You prefer to argue that something has no value(At least to you) when you have not even learn't and discovered its value. You have no idea what its value is and you have just proven this.

    Thanks....

    PS- try reading the posts!!!!!!! that may be a good start. secondly, ask questions if you don't get it.

    ya, i'm not saying that the language isn't good. actually i came here to this forum in the hopes of learning theory better.

    but i still don't find modes are useful to me, but i had explored them before i came to that conclusion.

    some of the other stuff though, is just too many steps ahead and non aural so i can't learn what it means. basically the only question i always want to ask is the same one with everything of theory, and it's this "but what does that sound like?"

  2. #422
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    No. Modal sounds don't depend on phrasing. Modal sounds depend only on the root note and the scale degrees (intervals) above that.
    Phrasing is a different issue.

    but a root is established as being a root by how you phrased your notes.

    it is not necessary that a drone be played. one mode versus another can and does use the same notes. the difference is, which one is the root. and this is established by how you play the notes.

    right? a minor chord progression or a major one is established by your chord progression. the chords you use and their order. this establishes a root. it is not the fact of stating aloud which note is the root. the root is not the name you give a given note. it is the role that note plays in your music. and this role is established by how you choose to play notes. we could go into detail to explain exactly how you can achieve this, but the bottom line is that it's the same notes played differently in different order with different timing.

    phrasing.



    of course. chords matter. that's music, but to me, it is not important to look at a chord and then establish a given set of possibilities of modes to play over it. that doesn't mean that i wouldn't play modes, but it just means that for me, i listen to the chords, i know where the tune is going, and that inspires me in some way. maybe a modal way, maybe not, i don't know. but whatever that way is, i play it.

    my whole point about the phrasing thing, is that the only difference, in reality, to looking at modes when looking at a tune, versus looking at it as incidentals, is that incidentals on their own, from a theoretic point of view i guess, don't include the type of phrasing that would place a different note of the key scale as the root.

    but, if your phrasing changes, and you play those incidentals with the correct phrasing, then you can achieve this.

    what i mean is that all the notes are the same, the major key + incidentals is all the notes. the rest, playing this mode or that one, is essentially nothing more than how you play those notes. and yes, then you could say, "well you could just look at all the notes on the fretboard then and that's it, and even ignore the key completely with that philosophy" and you'd be right, but you'd also be right in saying that that would make hunting down your notes incredibly difficult, the guessing game would be tough and you'd make lots of errors.

    but once you learn the major scale, that one pattern, (and the pentatonic within it, or rather the one i like to use since i just discovered there in fact many of them), since the only extra notes left are 5 in number and sandwiched between notes of the one pattern.

    the guessing is greatly reduced now.

    so if i desire to play a sound that happens to be a mode, then i play it. using those notes i know and how they sound. and my phrasing, only my phrasing, will be what either produces a mode or not. well, technically the note choices as well, but for me, those are just incidentals of the one pattern.

    so for your perspective you enter different modes and different scales, and from mine i just play the same notes of the same scale plus incidentals in a different kind of way.

    it is the way you play them that makes or does not make the mode. but i don't pay attention to whether or not i've done that.

    one way to put it would be that the root builds the mode. another that the mode builds the root right?


    you can play a lick and use all of ABCDEFG, and then another different one with ABCDEFG, and they would be in different modes. but you will have had to play the notes with different timing and in a different order to achieve that. you will have established a different root in doing so.

    the other way around would be to first decide which note yo uwant to be the root, and based on that knowledge play that mode. but the fact remains that it is what you played that built that root. it's just you had foreknowledge of what the root was going to be, and so from a sound perspective, knew the flavour of the phrasing you were about to use to meet that end.
    Last edited by fingerpikingood; 10-14-2009 at 02:57 AM.

  3. #423
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    I doubt it
    you can doubt it if you want to, but i know what music sounds like, and i know what i sound like, and i've heard the modes, i just don't remember which ones are called what and which ones are which degrees. or what theoretical times are "best suited" for them.

    you could play virtually any lick (with reasonable simplicity, I mean something recallable) and i could repeat it immediately after, as long as the key is established for me on my fretboard.

    if i can do that, then i can do that for every song i've ever heard, and any thought i can think of, and any mode. i don't see why my imagination would be limited to staying in the same mode, simply because i haven't named them. whyat if i recall a lick i've heard once that's in some mode? i'd have to play that mode. but to me, it would be all the same. just some incidentals i choose to play in some manner that i am inspired to play.

    modes were not first devised and then played, they were first played and then named.

  4. #424
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    But "it is nothing and it is everything" - puh-lease!
    it is nothing because you can't describe it. unless maybe you could explain to me, why if you play ABCDEFG in one manner it makes B seem like the root.

    and in another, it makes C seem like the root.

    you might say it's because you play some chord progression, and that progression is in some key. but why is that progression in that key?

    saying because B is the root. or C is the root, would be circular reasoning.

    the way you play makes something the root. just your timing. such endless possibilities of ways to do this. impossible to capture with mere words.

    unless maybe you could enlighten me.

    it is nothing. nothing tangible. nothing you can grasp. nothing you can explain or give directions to.

    so what do we do?

    we say here, play over this drone. and that places the root in our mind for us, so that we then play with proper phrasing as to make the right note sound like the root. the vamp helps us out, to do what we don't know what we're doing. it helps do what we can't explain. that which eludes us.

    the important part of modes. the phrasing.

    in that way it is nothing. just the order of the notes you play. no recipe, no directions, no theory to tell you how.

    but this thing is important. it is the skeleton of your tune. it is everything.

    it is nothing and it is everything.

    yes you can show me a mode, and it's degrees, and the intervals between them.

    but you cannot show me how you must play ABCDEFG in order to get me mixolydian.

    tendencies perhaps, chord progressions perhaps, but you could not tell me why those chord progressions do that. well, maybe because they resolve here or there, because of a cadence here or there, you could go by precedence, but there will always be exceptions and other ways to go about it. what makes a good song? it's elusive. what makes a good melody? it's elusive. what makes a root sound like the root? it's also elusive, but we know lots of things we've named, and we know what mode they are in. and we call that why, but it is what, and why is elusive.

    I realise i could ask you "what mode is this" and you could tell me.

    but if i ask you how do i play the key scale plus incidentals in a different way to make a mode? then the answer is more tough. the same notes, but different mode. but for you, it is not the same notes, you play different ones. specific ones and imagine the sound of the mode, you know the sound of the mode, so you go about it that way.

    but you do not think necessarily about what you are doing differently to play those notes to make that sound you expect.

    and you must believe it is something because you believe playing modes is different than just the major scale plus incidentals.

    it's all the same notes. it is the same thing tonally. but what is different then? well, how you phrase it. but how does phrasing do that?

    there is no theory of timing.

    but there is something you do in order to establish a root. something. and whether you are doing it conscious of the mode you are entering, or not. what it is is lost on you. because you are trying to achieve a sound, a mood, a feel, but how exactly is elusive. you know a mode sounds some way, and you know it has to do with the root and degrees, but you don't know why sometimes the way you play some notes moves the root.

    at least i don't think you do.

  5. #425
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    it wasn't intended to be, I had played a drone when i recorded this, and purposefully kept away from the root to see if it worked. but i erased everything right after, so i couldn't experiment further with the lick. maybe i'll do something like that again sometime and see if i can make a mode sound like the mode without playing the root.
    Good luck...

  6. #426
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    but a root is established as being a root by how you phrased your notes.
    It can be, yes. But not if a drone or chord root is establishing another root.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    a minor chord progression or a major one is established by your chord progression. the chords you use and their order. this establishes a root.
    A tonic, yes.
    I'm only talking about a situation where there is some dispute between a tonic (or modal "final") and the root of a chord, or the "root" of some pattern you're seeking to impose.
    You can, of course, have a chord root which is not the overall tonic. But you can't have a mode with another root entirely, over the top of that. (Just checking this is not what you're saying!)
    Eg, we can have a C chord in key of G, and we will hear the "C-root" quality, just as we'll be aware (thanks to previous chords) of the "G-key" quality. But we can't have (say) an A dorian mode over that C chord.
    It's not even much use to say we have C lydian mode over that chord. The G major key is G ionian mode, and the C chord is simply IV - however we phrase the scale over it.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    of course. chords matter. that's music, but to me, it is not important to look at a chord and then establish a given set of possibilities of modes to play over it.
    Right. (See I do agree with your basic position. )
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    my whole point about the phrasing thing, is that the only difference, in reality, to looking at modes when looking at a tune, versus looking at it as incidentals, is that incidentals on their own, from a theoretic point of view i guess, don't include the type of phrasing that would place a different note of the key scale as the root.
    I think I get this... and I think I agree...
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    what i mean is that all the notes are the same, the major key + incidentals is all the notes. the rest, playing this mode or that one, is essentially nothing more than how you play those notes. and yes, then you could say, "well you could just look at all the notes on the fretboard then and that's it, and even ignore the key completely with that philosophy" and you'd be right, but you'd also be right in saying that that would make hunting down your notes incredibly difficult, the guessing game would be tough and you'd make lots of errors.

    but once you learn the major scale, that one pattern, (and the pentatonic within it, or rather the one i like to use since i just discovered there in fact many of them), since the only extra notes left are 5 in number and sandwiched between notes of the one pattern.

    the guessing is greatly reduced now.

    so if i desire to play a sound that happens to be a mode, then i play it. using those notes i know and how they sound. and my phrasing, only my phrasing, will be what either produces a mode or not. well, technically the note choices as well, but for me, those are just incidentals of the one pattern.

    so for your perspective you enter different modes and different scales, and from mine i just play the same notes of the same scale plus incidentals in a different kind of way.
    My perspective is actually much the same as yours. In most sequences, there is an overall diatonic scale. The other 5 chromatic notes work as contrast - "outside" - to the "inside" of the key notes. And each chord has its own set of inside and outside notes within that system.
    Thinking modes is a waste of time - unless you are only using them as labels for each chord-scale note collection.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    one way to put it would be that the root builds the mode. another that the mode builds the root right?

    you can play a lick and use all of ABCDEFG, and then another different one with ABCDEFG, and they would be in different modes. but you will have had to play the notes with different timing and in a different order to achieve that. you will have established a different root in doing so.
    Again, you're talking about melodic playing in isolation, with no harmonic background. Just want to be sure about that... (If so, yes.)

  7. #427
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    it is nothing because you can't describe it. unless maybe you could explain to me, why if you play ABCDEFG in one manner it makes B seem like the root.

    and in another, it makes C seem like the root.
    OK, now we're talking in a sensible way. A phrase like "it is nothing and it is everything" might be poetic/philosophical, but doesn't get us anywhere!
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    you might say it's because you play some chord progression, and that progression is in some key. but why is that progression in that key?
    Because of the way we hear musical sound, which is partly physics (acoustics) and partly psychology (cultural familiarity, formal musical habits).

    Eg, we can play a C chord in any inversion, C will still sound like root, even when it's not on the bottom. That's physics, vibration frequencies and ratios. And yes, some degree of cultural habituation.

    The same things mean that random noodling on the notes ABCDEFG will probaby suggest C as most likely root. It's down to cultural habit (major key culture) and frequency interaction.
    You can of course phrase in a way that will underline that sound, or subvert it. A aeolian is fairly easy to establish. So is D dorian and G mixolydian. E phrygian would be next easiest (IMO). Then F lydian. B locrian would be hardest, and maybe impossible. (B can be the root of a m7b5 chord, but it can't be a "tonic" - crucial distinction.)

    All this is independent of any previously established background tonality or mode.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    the way you play makes something the root. just your timing. such endless possibilities of ways to do this. impossible to capture with mere words.
    The establishment of a root note - assuming we can all hear it happening - can easily be described in standard theoretical terms, if you know enough of them.

    "Explaining" is a different matter, because it depends on how deep you want to go. Physics of sound? Biology? Psychology? History? Culture? (Explaining music is a cute philosophical exercise, with no conclusive result (AFAIK), but is not necessary for a musician, and doesn't interest music theorists.)

    "Capturing" is yet another matter, and a vague word anyway. (It suggests using words in a more allusive or poetic way, to try to represent, mirror or match the musical effect. I'm not interested in "capturing" in that sense. Not in this thread anyhow...)
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    it is nothing. nothing tangible. nothing you can grasp. nothing you can explain or give directions to.
    Again, it depends on your purpose. Music theory (if you know enough terms) gives you plenty of "handles" on music. Certainly enough to keep most musicians happy.
    Of course, there are those who say it's a mistake to attach verbal labels to musical sound anyway. What's that quote?: "Once he knew the names of the birds, he no longer heard them sing." - something like that.
    Or the centipede, who was told he had 100 legs then found he could no longer walk.
    These are cute sayings, but we shouldn't interpret them to mean labels (and theoretical analysis) are a bad idea per se. Only if they distract us from the purpose of music, which works whether we know the labels or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    we say here, play over this drone. and that places the root in our mind for us, so that we then play with proper phrasing as to make the right note sound like the root. the vamp helps us out, to do what we don't know what we're doing. it helps do what we can't explain. that which eludes us.

    the important part of modes. the phrasing.

    in that way it is nothing. just the order of the notes you play. no recipe, no directions, no theory to tell you how.
    You're mystifying again. Of course there is theory to tell you how. You don't have to care what it is, of course - you can work intuitively. But "good sounds" are not magic, from the air. They are things you've heard before, in some form, which means they follow recognised theoretical rules.
    So you may think you are finding new paths all the time, but you are (inevitably) just working your way along well-trodden routes. (You just can't read the signposts, so everything looks excitingly foreign... )
    A musically literate and educated musician will have a map. He will know which particular path this is, and where it goes.
    Of course you don't need that map; you can explore for yourself, not knowing the names of the places you pass through - just enjoying the scenery!
    But the educated musician is not bound to the tried-and-tested routes either. He is not forced to follow the map. He is as free as you to go "off piste" - he would just know how to get back safely, which is something only experience (or a map) will tell you.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    but you cannot show me how you must play ABCDEFG in order to get me mixolydian.
    Yes I can. Basically, you just have to end your phrases on G.
    If you want more detail, it would probably involve other G chord tones (B and D), with perhaps some kind of focus on the dominant (D) in the middle, and the other notes as passing tones.
    Naturally, there is a lot of freedom within that - many ways of "phrasing" within G mixolydian. But the ending on G is fundamental.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    tendencies perhaps, chord progressions perhaps, but you could not tell me why those chord progressions do that.
    Depends what you mean by "why".
    Music theory (and most musicians) are not interested in "why". Only "how".
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    well, maybe because they resolve here or there, because of a cadence here or there, you could go by precedence, but there will always be exceptions and other ways to go about it.
    So?
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    what makes a good song? it's elusive. what makes a good melody? it's elusive.
    Well, not really. "Good" just means that people like it. Generally a lot of people. A good song or melody will therefore be a popular one. (Not with everyone, maybe, but with significant numbers of people.)
    We can look at successful and well-known melodies and identify rules and formulas. Not absolute laws, perhaps - but certainly tendencies and guidelines, to do with shape, interval use, phrase length, range, etc.
    There are certainly objective differences between "good" tunes and "bad" ones (the kind people make faces at when they hear them!). One common thread is that a "good" melody is easier to sing than a "bad" one. And ease of singing is connected with how our vocal cords, etc, work. That in turn dictates certain objective factors in a melody.
    (None of this means that a songwriter needs to study and absorb all these rules. All he/she needs to do is sing tunes, and that will set him/her on the right road. If it feels right to the composer, it will probably feel right to the listener.)

    My point here is: don't mystify a topic just because it seems mysterious to you. You don't have to explain it if you dont want to. That doesn't make it inexplicable.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    I realise i could ask you "what mode is this" and you could tell me.

    but if i ask you how do i play the key scale plus incidentals in a different way to make a mode? then the answer is more tough.
    Mainly because it's a confused question. I don't really know what you're asking.
    By "incidentals" I assume you mean "accidentals". How many, or which ones? Do you still mean only 7 notes in total? A "different way" from what?
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    and you must believe it is something because you believe playing modes is different than just the major scale plus incidentals.
    It certainly is.
    Playing "in a mode" is actually (IMO) like playing "in a key". But the two don't overlap.
    It depends on how the piece is written. If something is written in D dorian mode, then I play in that mode when I play that piece. Same as if it was in D major. Whatever is the given material of the piece, that's what I use.
    In either case I may add accidental passing notes when improvising, but I woud be much less likely to do that in a modal piece, because the tonality (modality) is more fragile than a key tonality.

    If I had a piece in D major, playing (say) "in E dorian" or "in D aeolian" would make no sense. The latter is introducing wrong notes; the former is just D major anyway (the mode label makes no sense).
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    there is no theory of timing.
    Again, yes there is. However, it's still only descriptive, analytical terms, not an "explanation" in a scientific sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    but there is something you do in order to establish a root. something. and whether you are doing it conscious of the mode you are entering, or not. what it is is lost on you. because you are trying to achieve a sound, a mood, a feel, but how exactly is elusive. you know a mode sounds some way, and you know it has to do with the root and degrees, but you don't know why sometimes the way you play some notes moves the root.
    You don't have to know why if you don't want to.

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    what i meant was that let's say you had ABCDEFG. now tell someone how to play those in order to make a given mode without using chords or drones or vamps to help them.

    ya i think i meant accidentals, but incidentally said the wrong thing.....


    in passing i also just found this quote that i kind of like, it's semi relevant:

    If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.
    - John Cage

    I think there is some truth to this. but i'm not sure how much really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    what i meant was that let's say you had ABCDEFG. now tell someone how to play those in order to make a given mode without using chords or drones or vamps to help them.
    'scuse me for butting in, but why ?
    You can play FACEB and highlight an F major 7,#11 = lydian. You may even use some semi-tone resolution to strengthen it as tonic. Now, play that same thing over a D minor chord and it's suddenly in a different context. That context is what you're likely to see, (and hopefully recognize) within a song.

    If you want to learn Georgia (on my mind), for example, you will likely see a chord, or sequence that implies a specific mode, (usable for your solo or alternate melody). You don't have to work with that mode, it's simply an option you will have if you understand it. In this same song you'll see Melodic Minor and Diminished scales implied, what's the difference between recognizing these and recognizing modes ?

    -best,
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    ya, i'm not saying that the language isn't good. actually i came here to this forum in the hopes of learning theory better.

    but i still don't find modes are useful to me, but i had explored them before i came to that conclusion.
    Define explore..... ?

    some of the other stuff though, is just too many steps ahead and non aural so i can't learn what it means. basically the only question i always want to ask is the same one with everything of theory, and it's this "but what does that sound like?"
    non aural? what part of music is non aural? Even music theory on paper is aural...... come on! what is this?

    "but what does that sound like?

    Why don't you play it and find out!
    *throws arms in the air*

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    I didn't read all 11 pages of this thing but it souds like Fingerpickngood is just trying to justify a lack of study in music.

    Dude, it's the nature of sound, and it can be understood, it just takes a long time and a great deal of work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjo View Post
    'scuse me for butting in, but why ?
    You can play FACEB and highlight an F major 7,#11 = lydian. You may even use some semi-tone resolution to strengthen it as tonic. Now, play that same thing over a D minor chord and it's suddenly in a different context. That context is what you're likely to see, (and hopefully recognize) within a song.

    If you want to learn Georgia (on my mind), for example, you will likely see a chord, or sequence that implies a specific mode, (usable for your solo or alternate melody). You don't have to work with that mode, it's simply an option you will have if you understand it. In this same song you'll see Melodic Minor and Diminished scales implied, what's the difference between recognizing these and recognizing modes ?

    -best,
    Mike

    there is no why, i'm just saying that to prove my point.

    you say : highlight an F major 7,#11 = lydian. You may even use some semi-tone resolution to strengthen it as tonic.

    but this is just an example of a possibility. it is not the mechanism by which roots or tonics are defined. not the recipe on building modes from a phrasing point of view.

    there is no difference in recognizing them. I'm just saying that modes are in how you phrase it. and although you might find some tendencies a few tricks to help you, the true methodology is undefined. it is so vast. it is in the timing and order by which you place notes, semi-tone resolution, being one of those ways.

    learning your modes, in comparison to vamps, helps you learn their sounds, and by this, you can know those sounds you wish to achieve and use them in your improvisation. but it is not the scale itself that is doing this. the scale itself is in fact nothing more than the key with accidentals. with one note flattened here or there or what have you. but what makes the mode is how you play those notes.

    i think we could all agree that you could take the notes of a mode over a tune and play them to sound like your still just playing in the basic key, right?

    so then in order to make the sound of the mode you need to phrase in the flavour of that mode.

    but we do not know theoretically the recipe for that.

    we know the flavour of the mode, the notes that belong to it, and we play them in some way, that simply by virtue of knowing the flavour we desire, will make the sound of that mode, will define a root.

    at least i think it is this way.

    but i must admit that you could play a piece over one chord for one modal sound, and same timing and everything over another and it will give you a different modal sound, right?

    so a background vamp or whatever does affect the modal sound of something, but you can also make modal sounds without it.

    now, if we concede that you can play the same notes in one way and get one modal sound, and the same notes in another way and get a different one. without a vamp.

    and we can't define exactly the recipe for this that covers every possibility.

    then the true essence of the modes is not properly defined.

    we, by practicing have managed to circumvent this, because we know the sounds of modes, and by that knowledge play the notes correctly to achieve that sound.

    correct me if i'm wrong about that.

    and this part would not be a recipe you guys are following. you are just looking at which notes to play when thinking of modes, but not how you are playing them.

    when in fact this is sort of the important part, because you can play those same notes and get a different mode.

    but this theoretical information is not necessary for you in order to get the modes you want, because of how the human mind works. you know the notes available and you know the sound you are going for, so you get it done.

    and i do the same thing. except i don't look at a scale i want to hear, or a piece of it that i know is in that flavour, i just look at the specific notes, or the specific sound i want at that particular moment, and play it to get that sound.

    the same thing you guys do. except i'm not categorizing as much. I have not categorized certain sounds into modes. that's all.

    you have, like folders in a computer you have organized information in greater depth than i have. whereas i just have a bunch of files all in one folder.

    but when i play one, it doesn't matter to me what folder you'd place it in.

    what matters is that i imagine it and i play it right?

    we are doing the same thing. except you have one intermediary step that i don't use.

    and maybe someday i might explore your system of organization, but that day is not today. I'd prefer to learn more pressing things for me.

    but if we had sound to complement our text, than i would love to hear people name sounds by modes, and i'd eventually pickup the lingo.

    but if i need to go and practice modes, well i'd rather be practicing something different.

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    explore, as in play modes over vamps and drones and see how they sound, and then try them at certain times in over chords and stuff in progressions, and i found that in doing so, i made bland music because i was focussed on playing the modes and not on making music.

    granted, after alot of practice, i would be able to think a sound i want and recognize which mode it is and play it. but afaik, that's what i'm doing now, except i don't realize that i'm playing some specific mode, i just am.




    yes. music is aural. that's my issues.


    I don't play them and find out, because often it's a whole bunch of stuff that is said. and i would need t orecord some chord progression (where the rhythm btw is completely missing which is very important imo) and then i'd have to go and find out how to play this chord or that chord. it's just alot of work and so much at once that i couldn't internalize it so it would be just time wasted. but for me if i hear it, then the time is instantly reduced.

    somebody says well take this I IV V progression and then play mode x over whatever, and maybe flatten the this or the that. and that's alot of work for me to do, and none of it i will remember.

    but if somebody says that same stuff to me. but with the audio to go along with it, then i know immediately what it is they are talking about and i've internalized it. just put the name to the face.

    this is why i'm very interested in having a section where we would look at songs, learn them, name their parts, and then discuss modes or whatever at all on top of that.

    and then perhaps i could have more to share with you rather than just being so mystical as JonR put it.

    I'm not bashing modes or saying don't learn them. I'm just saying they are not useful to me, and you guys decided to say that they are. now there is a chance you could be right, but i know me, whereas you do not. i hear me play alot whereas you do not.

    so all other things being equal, then i'd say i'm in a better position to tell whether modes are for me or not, but then again, all other things are not equal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    you say : highlight an F major 7,#11 = lydian. You may even use some semi-tone resolution to strengthen it as tonic.

    but this is just an example of a possibility. it is not the mechanism by which roots or tonics are defined. not the recipe on building modes from a phrasing point of view.
    You still haven't really explained what you mean by "phrasing", and how you determine modes that way.
    You have to indicate a root note in some way. You CAN do this by phrasing a certain way: mainly ending on the root, in fact; but also perhaps by using the root fairly often. (I'm guessing this is what you mean. If not, please explain, with examples.)
    But you can also do it by establishing a root note elsewhere, in which case you can phrase how you like.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    learning your modes, in comparison to vamps, helps you learn their sounds, and by this, you can know those sounds you wish to achieve and use them in your improvisation. but it is not the scale itself that is doing this. the scale itself is in fact nothing more than the key with accidentals. with one note flattened here or there or what have you. but what makes the mode is how you play those notes.
    You're really just saying the same (somewhat vague) thing over and over.
    What makes the mode is NOT (always) how you play the notes. It can be. It can also be a drone or chord, with any kind of phrasing over it (as long as it includes all 7 notes, so as to be sure).
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    i think we could all agree that you could take the notes of a mode over a tune and play them to sound like your still just playing in the basic key, right?
    Well, either you are in a key or you are in a mode. You can't be in both.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    so then in order to make the sound of the mode you need to phrase in the flavour of that mode.
    Not in the context of a key. You won't get a modal flavour out of a major key (other than Ionian mode of course), unless you spend some time on one chord in that key. In which case, the chord will dictate the mode, of course, not your phrasing.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    we know the flavour of the mode, the notes that belong to it, and we play them in some way, that simply by virtue of knowing the flavour we desire, will make the sound of that mode, will define a root.

    at least i think it is this way.
    LOL. I think you think wrong. But you might just be not explaining yourself very well. We really need some kind of examples here. If not an MP3, then some tab of what you consider to be a phrase indicating a particular mode. (Especially if you think you can indicate a mode other than that indicated by an accompanying chord or key.)
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    but i must admit that you could play a piece over one chord for one modal sound, and same timing and everything over another and it will give you a different modal sound, right?
    Right. Because of the chord (root). So the phrasing makes no difference there, at least...
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    so a background vamp or whatever does affect the modal sound of something, but you can also make modal sounds without it.
    Yes. In that case, you just need to confirm a root by - OK - your phrasing. I just want to be sure you mean the same thing I think you do.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    now, if we concede that you can play the same notes in one way and get one modal sound, and the same notes in another way and get a different one. without a vamp.

    and we can't define exactly the recipe for this that covers every possibility.

    then the true essence of the modes is not properly defined.
    False logic. There are only 7 modes (of the major scale). They are very easily defined. That's perfectly in line with an (almost) infinite way of phrasing or composing melodies within in any one mode.
    We don't have to define every possible melody in order to define a mode. We only have to outline some essential elements of a modal melody (for it to qualify). Such as finishing on the right note, eg.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    we, by practicing have managed to circumvent this, because we know the sounds of modes, and by that knowledge play the notes correctly to achieve that sound.

    correct me if i'm wrong about that.
    You're not wrong. Modal theory (like any music theory) derives from musicians choosing certain sounds, and then defining them in a certain way, according to the rules they exhibit.

    However, it's likely that in early modal theory, some kind of philosophical beliefs dictated certain elements of that theory, restricting musicians' choices.
    Eg, it may have been decreed that only modes that expressed certain desirable emotions were permitted.
    Anyway, that's a different issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    and this part would not be a recipe you guys are following. you are just looking at which notes to play when thinking of modes, but not how you are playing them.

    when in fact this is sort of the important part, because you can play those same notes and get a different mode.

    but this theoretical information is not necessary for you in order to get the modes you want, because of how the human mind works. you know the notes available and you know the sound you are going for, so you get it done.
    The "theory" is known at some level of consciousness, even by you. Just knowing the "right" sounds means you know the theory, the same way you know correct English grammar without having to look it up before you speak. You can learn the grammar of a language by listening enough, just as you can learn it from books.
    The ear rules in the end, but the theory needn't get in the way.
    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    the same thing you guys do. except i'm not categorizing as much. I have not categorized certain sounds into modes. that's all.
    No. But you will have your own way of distinguishing one sound from another, of labelling it. What terms do you use?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    you say : highlight an F major 7,#11 = lydian. You may even use some semi-tone resolution to strengthen it as tonic.

    but this is just an example of a possibility. it is not the mechanism by which roots or tonics are defined. not the recipe on building modes from a phrasing point of view.
    The relationship between a group of notes and a group of chords is the mechanism by which roots and tonics are defined. The recipe for building modes is well defined, the phrasing makes the difference between "music" and simply running scales, generally speaking.

    ...but what makes the mode is how you play those notes.
    What makes the music is how you play those notes.

    i think we could all agree that you could take the notes of a mode over a tune and play them to sound like your still just playing in the basic key, right?
    Then you're working with key based harmony and there's no need to consider modes.

    but i must admit that you could play a piece over one chord for one modal sound, and same timing and everything over another and it will give you a different modal sound, right?
    That's the context, the harmony, right.

    now, if we concede that you can play the same notes in one way and get one modal sound, and the same notes in another way and get a different one. without a vamp.
    Technically true, though hard to perceive with out some reference, or ear training. This is not phrasing.

    and this part would not be a recipe you guys are following. you are just looking at which notes to play when thinking of modes, but not how you are playing them.
    Now, you're getting into phrasing. "How" you use these notes makes the difference between music and nonsense, subjectively speaking.

    but if i need to go and practice modes, well i'd rather be practicing something different.
    You're kidding...
    You don't have to do anything, except enjoy your music, or instrument....(keep it clean )

    I was trying to offer a specific example of how you might find modes useful. I think you missed the point and I believe you have some misconceptions about modes in general, but you don't have to see things my way. Have fun !
    -best,
    Mike

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