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Old 04-05-2013, 08:46 AM   #1
elsmandino
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Do I need to change my approach to considering scales.

Hi there,

I had some guitar lessons many years ago but currently have just been ticking over for the decade or so without improving much at all.

I have just read something interesting on the and I would be grateful for any views on whether any of you guys agree or not.

I got quite interested in modes years ago and got obsessed with always relating it back to the parent ionian scale.

For example, if I wanted to play something in D Dorian, I would just play C major scale but using the D as the route.

What I have just read is that it is a really bad idea to think about modes like this - in reality, it is much better to think of the Dorian in terms of its intervals compared to the major scale - i.e. it is a major scale with a flattened 3rd and 7th.

I realise that either way, I am playing exactly the same thing but this is quite a radically different way of thinking of it.

Furthermore, I have heard that this way is much preferred when improvising - e.g. If you are suddenly told to play something in E Mixolydian, you don't have time to work out that you need to start playing from the fifth note of the A major scale, you just play the E major scale with a flattened 7th - much easier mentally.

What do you guys think?

Many thanks
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:25 AM   #2
JP Oliver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elsmandino
For example, if I wanted to play something in D Dorian, I would just play C major scale but using the D as the route.

What I have just read is that it is a really bad idea to think about modes like this - in reality, it is much better to think of the Dorian in terms of its intervals compared to the major scale - i.e. it is a major scale with a flattened 3rd and 7th.


If all you're doing is playing a major scale with D as the tonic, you'd technically be playing in D major. You would still be hitting most of the notes in D Dorian, but you would have "passing tones" as a result of not compensating for the flattened 3rd or 7th.


I don't think your current method of thinking is ideal, but it would pass depending on how you use it. I could explain how I look at modes, but I feel other members that are in this forum more often can explain how they see them much better than I could.

Last edited by JP Oliver : 04-05-2013 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:35 AM   #3
steven seagull
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the underlying concept to keep in mind is that modes relate to how things sound, not how they look or what you're physically doing with your fingers.

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Old 04-05-2013, 09:56 AM   #4
Jehannum
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What you're realising is that modes - in the way you're using them - are really just about using accidentals. There's nothing wrong with thinking about it in that way. At least it keeps the tonic of the scale on the tonic of the music - unlike thinking of modes as relative scales.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:24 AM   #5
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You are correct in thinking that a C major scale contains all the notes of D dorian; you are also correct in thinking you would play this while revolving around D as the root; what people want you to avoid thought is thinking that C major = D dorian. Think of Dorian (or any mode really) as how it's constructed compared to a major or minor scale. For example, a Dorian scale is just a minor scale with a raised sixth, which gives it it's sound. A Mixolydian mode would be a major scale with a lowered seventh degree, so on so forth.
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