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Old 11-18-2012, 10:02 AM   #1
kashmir0109
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Question on Modes and Arpeggios

I'm taking the leap into the world of music theory... I've been studying the modes lately and I haven't found much on modes that are relative to each other...that might not even be the right term?

So to my understanding:

Major Modes:
Ionian
Lydian
Mixolydian

Minor Modes:
Aeolian
Dorian
Phrygian


Would it be true that these modes are relative to each other?
Ionian - Aeolian
Lydian - Dorian
Mixolydian - Phrygian


Also would that mean that if I'm playing over a major key and I attempted to play a Dorian mode, it would actually be a lydian?

Thanks!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Secondly, I am going to explain my journey to a clusterf*** of an attempt at understanding what I'm playing.

I'm going to basically log what my thoughts and attempts to getting a grasp at this has been.

IF YOU CAN FOLLOW THIS, THEN GOD BLESS YOU. IF NOT I 100% UNDERSTAND.

So this is what I've been playing alot recently. I love the sound of it:

Take this type of E Minor scale

E|-------------------------------------------------------12--14--17--
B|------------------------------------------------12--15--------------
G|-----------------------------------11--13--14----------------------
D|----------------------11--12--14-----------------------------------
A|----------11--12--14-----------------------------------------------
E|--12--14------------------------------------------------------------

It's: E, F#, G#, A, B, C# D

Taking it apart it's sharp #3 (G to G# right?) and an #7 (C to C#).

1. So I've been told that this is an arpeggio of E Dominant 7... but isn't E Dominant 7 simply : E G# B D? What is the sharp 7 doing there?

2. Also E Dominant is based off of a Major E Triad? So how is this minor scale a form of it?

3. Unless it's not a minor scale at all? It does sound more major than anything, but it works over E minor perfectly.


4. This leads me to take a look at the E Major Scale. It all makes a bit more sense now. It's got all of the same notes as what I've been playing but its got a flat 7, which is exactly what a dominant 7 chord is.

5.So if it is a type of E Major Scale, why does play so well over E Minor (specifically blues), and not E Major?

6. Secondly, I've been told this is a form of a Mixolydian Mode? I thought that given that this is a form of minor key then shouldn't it be a type of Phrygian mode?

I'm all messed up with this...

Any help is appreciated.

Last edited by kashmir0109 : 11-18-2012 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:24 AM   #2
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If you're playing over a major cadence/progression/key, then your playing major. Don't over think it it'll just get too complicated.
I would suggest learning all the notes on the fretboard COLD, and learning all your major and minor scales as a series of sounds and intervals, and then on top of that how all the non diatonic notes sound in a key. I have been trying to memorize the notes of the fretboard cold for the past month, and i can say that knowing the notes that you're playing is really the only way to do it. There aren't any cheat codes to music - this isn't a video game. You need to learn the thing back and forth.
So for you're ear i would suggest using functional ear trainer. learn all the notes and also all the notes diatonic to a key.
http://www.miles.be/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8yaHkvSmq0&feature=watch-vrec#!
http://www.hakwright.co.uk/music/keys_scales.html
http://macgyversfriend.com/emerald07/Scales.pdf

Good Luck and remember, have fun with it!
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:17 AM   #3
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That second thing is just an E mixolydian shape...

Last edited by Jacques-Henri : 11-18-2012 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques-Henri
That second thing is just an E mixolydian shape...


E Mixolydian is a major mode and it works over a E Minor?
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:54 AM   #5
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Aren't all of the modes that share the same notes relative to each other?

I mean C "ionian", D dorian, E phrygian, F lydian, G mixolydian and A "aeolian."

They all share the same notes as C major.

About that "sharp 7" - no, it's sharp 6th. C# is the 6th note, not the 7th. And that shape has D which is a minor 7th. Maybe you shouldn't be learning modes right now. They seem to confuse you.

But if you want to remember the different modes...

Ionian - same as major
Dorian - minor with a major 6th
Phrygian - minor with a flat 2nd
Lydian - major with a sharp 4th
Mixolydian - major with a minor 7th
Aeolian - same as minor

But really, you don't need to study modes, they aren't used that much any more. They are used as scales in some songs but that doesn't make the songs modal. When modes were used, there were no keys which have "replaced" the modes. Still I think it's good to know how different modes sound like.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:18 PM   #6
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some free but take it as you find it advice

1. So I've been told that this is an arpeggio of E Dominant 7... but isn't E Dominant 7 simply : E G# B D? What is the sharp 7 doing there?

E to C# is a major 6th
E to D is a minor (or flat) seventh interval


2. Also E Dominant is based off of a Major E Triad? So how is this minor scale a form of it?
Again you have written a 2 octave 'E mixoldian modal scale. '

3. Unless it's not a minor scale at all? It does sound more major than anything, but it works over E minor perfectly.
Its not a minor scale ...

4. This leads me to take a look at the E Major Scale. It all makes a bit more sense now. It's got all of the same notes as what I've been playing but its got a flat 7, which is exactly what a dominant 7 chord is.

5.So if it is a type of E Major Scale, why does play so well over E Minor (specifically blues), and not E Major?
the b3 and the #9 are enharmonically the same.
In blues it is often more simple to write G to G# than Fx (F double sharp) to G sharp.
In terms of a dominant 7th chord the b3 is actually a #9


6. Secondly, I've been told this is a form of a Mixolydian Mode? I thought that given that this is a form of minor key then shouldn't it be a type of Phrygian mode?

Errmm ????

every major chord has its relative minor. this is found by building a minor chord 3 semitones below the root of the major chord.
you could apply this to each degree of a major scale.

I = IVm
IV = IIm
V= IIIm
Maybe this is what you mean ?
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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Honestly, forget anything you've learned about modes.

Look into functional/diatonic harmony. That will be much more useful to you.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kashmir0109
Major Modes:
Ionian
Lydian
Mixolydian


Mixolydian is dominant. Dominant is not major or minor.


Quote:
Would it be true that these modes are relative to each other?
Ionian - Aeolian
Lydian - Dorian
Mixolydian - Phrygian


I don't understand the question except insomuch as to say that if you think there is some sort of special relationship betwen Lydian and Dorian you are wrong.

All of the modes can be relative to each other.

C Ionian is relative to D Dorian is relative to E Phrygian is relative to F Lydian is relative to G mixolydian is relative to A Aeolian is relative to B Locrian.

But, really, don't use modes. Not useful.

Quote:
Also would that mean that if I'm playing over a major key and I attempted to play a Dorian mode, it would actually be a lydian?


No. If you are in a major context, let's say C major, and you're trying to play "D Dorian" you're playing C major. If you're trying to play F Lydian you're playing C major. If you're trying to play G Mixolydian you're playing in C major.




Quote:
Take this type of E Minor scale

E|-------------------------------------------------------12--14--17--
B|------------------------------------------------12--15--------------
G|-----------------------------------11--13--14----------------------
D|----------------------11--12--14-----------------------------------
A|----------11--12--14-----------------------------------------------
E|--12--14------------------------------------------------------------

It's: E, F#, G#, A, B, C# D

Taking it apart it's sharp #3 (G to G# right?) and an #7 (C to C#).


This is not an E minor scale. Three sharps mean your key is A if your context is major, F# is your context is minor.

You could, I suppose, think of this as E Mixolydian but that's a really confusing way to think about it because mode or key does not depend on where on the neck you play a given set of notes.

The only way this would be E-anything is if there were some quality to the music which forced the resolution to an E. The easiest way to do this is with a drone. However, in that context, it's still not minor.

Quote:
1. So I've been told that this is an arpeggio of E Dominant 7... but isn't E Dominant 7 simply : E G# B D? What is the sharp 7 doing there?


As others have pointed out, there is no sharp 7. D is your 7th. It's flattened here. (In E major, you'd have a D#).

Quote:
2. Also E Dominant is based off of a Major E Triad? So how is this minor scale a form of it?


It isn't. This isn't minor.

Quote:
3. Unless it's not a minor scale at all? It does sound more major than anything, but it works over E minor perfectly.


Dingdingdingding!

You can blend parallel majors and minors. In fact, one could define the fundamental sound of rock'n'roll as being the blending of parallel majors and minors.

The most common ways you see this are by the use of minor thirds and 7ths over major chords and by the borrowing of chords from the parallel minor into the major.

What you have here is a major scale over minor chords, which is less common, but you still see it. (Probably the easiest way to think of it is major scale over a borrowed i chord). You'll notice that it doesn't work over E minor "perfectly" - there's a pretty big dissonance between the G-natural in an Em chord and the G# in the scale. You'll probably find that you have to be careful about that G#, apply a little nuance and understanding when you play it.


Quote:
6. Secondly, I've been told this is a form of a Mixolydian Mode? I thought that given that this is a form of minor key then shouldn't it be a type of Phrygian mode?


It's really neither. It's E major with a flat 7th, if you want to think about it that way. Flat 7ths are really really common in blues and blues-based music. Don't think of it as requiring a changing scale or changing key. It's just a flat 7th. You can use that if you want.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
Mixolydian is dominant. Dominant is not major or minor.
Actually, mixolydian is a major mode. Major third plus perfect fifth is major.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by food1010
Actually, mixolydian is a major mode. Major third plus perfect fifth is major.


No. The minor 7th makes it dominant. You can't ignore that.

Dominant chords and scales are neither major nor minor. You can't selectively ignore the 7th.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:16 PM   #11
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the only modes in tonal music are major and minor

no ionian, no dorian, no aeolian. forget everything you've read and start from scratch.

also, a scale can't be dominant for christ's sake. that's a chord function. it might be based on the "dominant" chord, but unless it's used as an expansion of the V7 to resolve (and even then that would just be as a highlight to the chord function) it's just a major scale with a b7. you people overcomplicate everything.

Last edited by Hail : 11-18-2012 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:33 PM   #12
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Well, Hail, if you're applying CST (one of the few useful places of modes) then you're wrong.

You use Ionian and Lydian in place of major chords, Aeolian, Phrygian and Dorian in place of minor chords, and Mixolydian over dominant chords.

When I'm referring to a mode being major, minor, or dominant that's what I mean. This is a common nomenclature among jazz musicians doing CST stuff.

This is not particularly relevant to the original posters question or understanding, but talking about a scale being dominant is actually very relevant in certain (limited) contexts.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
Well, Hail, if you're applying CST (one of the few useful places of modes) then you're wrong.


CST is an improvisational tool. i'm not saying it isn't valid, but as a method of analysis it falls flat on its face. it is convoluted, and accomplishes nothing that cannot be understood by thinking in a key.

the real difference is that thinking in a key gives you a view of the bigger picture.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
CST is an improvisational tool. i'm not saying it isn't valid, but as a method of analysis it falls flat on its face. it is convoluted, and accomplishes nothing that cannot be understood by thinking in a key.

the real difference is that thinking in a key gives you a view of the bigger picture.


With all due respect, I've heard some really big names is jazz say that they think that way.

I'm a little loathe to dismiss what they have to say, even if I don't normally think in CST terms myself.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
With all due respect, I've heard some really big names is jazz say that they think that way.

I'm a little loathe to dismiss what they have to say, even if I don't normally think in CST terms myself.


that may be true, and it's certainly possible to amass some skill adopting the thought process of using CST as an analytical method. but ultimately, it detracts from the view of the bigger picture, and places the focus on the chord - it almost entirely refutes the idea of a key. might work in jazz, blues, and some more modern genres, but in classical music, a simple mozart minuet would have you hurdling your own leg. it's simply not a holistic perspective, and therefore, not one that should be adopted.

don't get me wrong - when i'm improvising over some sick chord changes, i'll sometimes fall back on CST (in addition to using my ear, naturally) because it's simply quicker to think that way. but personally, the only time i'd ever use CST as an analytical tool is if a piece is atonal. viewing music as based on a key doesn't work there, because there is no key. if a piece was to change keys very quickly (much like giant steps), it is still considered as functional harmony (unless anyone wants to argue that ii-V-I sequences aren't tonal).

the concepts of functional harmony are absolutely more salient, more important, and more encompassing than CST, and should be used first and foremost.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:48 PM   #16
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Well the last few posts confused me so I won't look too deep into them. And to the responders saying that Modes aren't important...I'm not doubting this but unless its sarcasm, thats going against literally everything I've heard about guitar improv.

That aside, I heavily appreciate the abundance of information in this thread and it cleared up alot of knots in my logic. Thank you everyone for this help!
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kashmir0109
Well the last few posts confused me so I won't look too deep into them.


that would be wise. it's complex stuff that will only confuse you until you have developed the understanding and gathered the experience necessary to make heads or tails of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kashmir0109
And to the responders saying that Modes aren't important...I'm not doubting this but unless its sarcasm, thats going against literally everything I've heard about guitar improv.


has everything you've heard about guitar improv gotten you results? and have you seen it get other people results (and even then, are you sure it's improv)?

if you can't answer all three of those questions with a resounding "yes", i suggest you think about this with more clarity, because your current thought process isn't getting you results.

and get more experience, because, frankly, i'd wager a guess your experience with music isn't too broad (and if you do listen to a lot of different kinds of music, i'm then willing to wager that your analysis and understanding of what you've heard isn't very profound).

and i suggest you keep in mind that improvisation is far from the only medium in music. in fact, i highly suggest you get better at composition, which is far more important. i have met good composers who were also good improvisers, but i have never met good improvisers who were not good composers. why is this? simply put, good improvisation is nothing more than composition in real time. if you can't compose well when you have the chance to sit down and work, what makes you think you can compose when the metronome is ticking?

ultimately it's far more important to think of music in sounds, not in fancy scale names. unless, of course, you think the great painters saw their works in words, and not in colors.

and don't sweat the help! ultimately, it's what we're here for.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:35 AM   #18
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i've given my opinion on CST way more than enough times, but i'll keep this clear and concise

it's a fucking abomination
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kashmir0109
Well the last few posts confused me so I won't look too deep into them. And to the responders saying that Modes aren't important...I'm not doubting this but unless its sarcasm, thats going against literally everything I've heard about guitar improv.

That aside, I heavily appreciate the abundance of information in this thread and it cleared up alot of knots in my logic. Thank you everyone for this help!

Quite simply, you've been talking to the wrong people and reading the wrong articles.

Modes really aren't important, anyone that says otherwise simply doesn't understand them properly.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:22 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kashmir0109
Well the last few posts confused me so I won't look too deep into them. And to the responders saying that Modes aren't important...I'm not doubting this but unless its sarcasm, thats going against literally everything I've heard about guitar improv.

That aside, I heavily appreciate the abundance of information in this thread and it cleared up alot of knots in my logic. Thank you everyone for this help!

The guys who say that you need to learn modes to improvise (I think) are referring to the scale shapes that have mode names, even though you aren't playing modally when you are playing them. They are all for example C major positions. The C major shape that starts with D is called "dorian shape" but it doesn't mean you are playing dorian scale or "in dorian". It's about the chord progression and if it resolves to C, you are playing C major all the time even if you were playing the "dorian shape."
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