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Old 06-25-2013, 10:50 PM   #1
DBKGUITAR
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I don't get this mode formula thing :(

Hello I was reading the FAQ about Music Theory and got into this part where the explained the modes...

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Well, the intervals that make up the scales are one difference. Here are each modes formula's in relation to their major scales.
Ionian: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Dorian: 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
Phrygian: 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Lydian: 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
Mixolydian: 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
Aeolian: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Locrian: 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7


What is this b and # thing? I know that it's a half tone up or down but isn't it supossed to be that all of this modes share the same notes?

Then after reading this, I get to the conclussion of it, where it says that

Quote:
Generally speaking, some chords that Ionian gives off its unique sound over are major, maj7, and maj6 chords, Dorian with minor, m7 and m6 chords, Phrygian with m7b9 and susb9 chords, Lydian with maj7#11 chords, Mixolydian with dominant and sus chords, Aeolian with m7b13 chords, and Locrian with m7b5 chords.


So I got a lot more confused

Please help
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:16 PM   #2
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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 = the major scale = wwhwwwh = whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step. The b and # represent a semitone down from or a semitone up from aka flat or sharp. The modal formulas refer to their relation to the major scale.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBKGUITAR
Hello I was reading the FAQ about Music Theory and got into this part where the explained the modes...



What is this b and # thing? I know that it's a half tone up or down but isn't it supossed to be that all of this modes share the same notes?

Then after reading this, I get to the conclussion of it, where it says that



So I got a lot more confused

Please help


Flats and sharps.

Modes are actually pretty easy. I think a lot of people make it harder then it is but its really just starting on different degrees of a scale. But I also don't make use of them enough to know the deep details.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:11 AM   #4
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Learn your regular major and minor scales first. And chords. Modes won't make a lot of sense until you know the normal stuff.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:36 AM   #5
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They all share the same notes, the #'s and b's are compared to the key of the tonic of each individual scale, NOT to the tonic of the ionian scale. For example, let's look at the key of C major...

Ionian: CDEFGABC
Dorian: DEFGABCD

The "b3 and b7" are because in a normal D major scale all F's and C's are sharped, which are the 3rd and 7th of the D major scale. But to play D dorian you would flat them, giving you the same notes as C major, but just starting on D.

I hope this helps!
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:06 AM   #6
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basically the b's are flats which mean to lower the note by a half step

#'s are sharps which mean to raise it by a half step

You baseline for comparison is the major scale (W W H W W W H interval structure). So any of those modes are compared to a major scale starting on the same root and the differences between scale degrees are indicated with sharps and flats.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:07 AM   #7
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Modes ain't sh!t but hos and tricks. Learn the major and minor scales before bothering with modes. Actually learn the major and minor scales and functional harmony before bothering with modes. Actually don't bother with modes at all.

Modes will just get you into the way of thinking that you need more scales to make different sounds. If you think that you're running out of ways to use the major and minor scales (keeping accidentals in mind, of course), then you're wrong.

Here are the main reasons I see for why people want to use modes. I will then debunk them.

"My teacher said they would be useful"
No they won't. If your teacher thinks they're useful, then he\she is a 14 year old metal guitarist. If you need something more useful than the major and minor scales and some accidentals to write your music, then I really want to hear your music, because it must be totally crazy.

"Once I learned the major and minor scales, I found them too restricting. So I need modes to make new sounds"
Always keep in mind that music theory is not there to tell you what to write. It's not instructions. At any point in your music you can use whatever notes you want. Even those that are outside the scale. That's why we have keys. A key will tell you the point of Resolution, once you know that, you can get there by any means and any notes you want. There are no notes outside of any key. You can use all 12 notes in all 12 keys. That should give you more than enough room to compose anything.

"I'll need to know modes for when I study music in college"
Probably not. Most college textbooks will cover the modes in half a chapter or less. And then you'll never see them again in the curriculum.

"I'm new to theory and I want to soak up as much info as possible"
Don't be too zealous. Not all info will be useful to you. Always think of whether something you learn can be applied directly to your music. If you think modes can be used in your music, then refer to earlier parts of this post. And later ones.

"Satriani/ Vai use modes and I want to sound like them"
They don't. They like to say they do to sell DVDs, but no. Everything they play can be summed easily: tasteful/ artistic use of accidentals.

"But what about Pitch axis theory? Don't tell me you're better than Vai and Satch!"
They certainly play circles around me. That's because they've been playing 54964984894 years and have really gooooood ears and know what's going on musically all the time. I view Pitch axis theory as a fun little gimmick to consolidate the relationships between crazy chords for easier soloing. But it's not modes.

"Miles Davis did, so I want to too"
Cool. Figure out what he did by paying really good attention, and then emulate.

"But modes are easy. You just pick a chord progression, find the key, then solo starting on a different note."
Not really. Ultimately it's the Harmony (chords) that dictates the key. It literally doesn't matter what notes you play over any progression, it's still gonna stay the same key. Melody doesn't dictate key
Melody doesn't dictate key
Melody doesn't dictate key
Melody doesn't dictate key
It's the chords that do. If a police siren is heard out the window as I'm playing music, does it change the key of the music? No. If I'm in D major and I play a C natural, does it change the key of the music? No.

"But C natural isn't in the key of D major"
Yes it is. It's not in the D major SCALE. That's it. In any key, you can play any note (just do it tastefully please)

"Scale, key. Same thing"
No. A scale is a set of ordered notes commonly used to outline the functional harmony of a key. It also contains all the 'safe notes'.
A key is the tonic triad. The point of resolution. In music, we move between Resolution (calm) and Tension (not calm). The point of maximum tension is called Dominant (you've heard this before). The point of minimum tension is the Tonic (the resting place. Where the music feels home). Once you've identified the tonic, then the triad built from it (either major or minor) is the the tonic triad (key). Bam. that's it. The key is whatever the calmest chord you can make in the music is. Nothing else. How you get to and from there, is entirely up to you. maximum freedom

"I want to compose convincing early and pre-medieval plainchant for my church choir"
Ok. use modes.

Take all this from a guy who learned all the modes, and has never ever composed any music with them in mind. I just use accidentals to get the feel I want, and I have everything I need.
If, after learning modes, you feel that they actually helped you then stop! Turn back, you're going the wrong way! This way will lead you to scale dependency! I personally know people who can't compose without looking up a scale on the web. Don't be that guy, modes can make you that guy.

I wish you much success in your musical journey
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:37 AM   #8
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The b and # represent a semitone down from or a semitone up from aka flat or sharp. The modal formulas refer to their relation to the major scale.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBKGUITAR
Hello I was reading the FAQ about Music Theory and got into this part where the explained the modes...



What is this b and # thing? I know that it's a half tone up or down but isn't it supossed to be that all of this modes share the same notes?

Then after reading this, I get to the conclussion of it, where it says that



So I got a lot more confused

Please help

It's been noted already but just to reiterate...

The major scale is made up of a specific step pattern: W W H W W W H.
The degrees of the major scale can be represented by numerical values 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

If you follow the major scale step pattern you will notice that there is a Whole tone between the 1 and 2 and a Whole tone between the 2 and 3 but only a half tone between the 3 and the 4 etc etc.

Now b means to lower the note by one semitone and # means to raise the note by one semitone.

Thus if we apply our scale to the key note C we get the C major scale
C D E F G A B C. C=1, D=2, E=3, F=4, G=5, A=6, B=7 C=8.

If however we want a b3 when we take that E and lower it by one semitone.

The natural minor scale for example is 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8. This shows us how the natural minor scale relates to the major scale. Namely the third sixth and seventh degrees are lowered by one semitone.

If we stick with the C key note we would see how this 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 would result in

C D Eb F G Ab Bb C - Note how in the major scale 3=E but in the natural minor scale b3=Eb.

And that is how the numbers relate to the major scale and how we can use them by any other scale by relating the scale degrees back to that of the major scale.

Hopefully that makes sense.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:50 AM   #10
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Firstly I'd like to say that the modes sticky above is not very good. Who would like to redo it?

Secondly, if you are unaware what those bs and #s are, then you are not ready for modes.

And thirdly, everything that Mattyboy said. What a great post!

I initially used modes as a method of visualising accidentals if confronted with certain chord progression, however overtime it was just easier to think of them as accidentals to the major/minor scale I was playing.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:53 AM   #11
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As far as re-writing the sticky goes I think Mattyboy just did! :p
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:45 AM   #12
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The FAQ sucks balls
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyBoy 1337
"I want to compose convincing early and pre-medieval plainchant for my church choir"
Ok. use modes.


Nice acknowledgement that modes might - just - have a plausible use.

Overall an excellent post. I especially liked the siren passing outside the window.

I vote this to replace the modes sticky, maybe with a bit of tarting up.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:05 AM   #14
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^^^ I'm open to suggestions. I think it's time for it to be largely retired.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Firstly I'd like to say that the modes sticky above is not very good. Who would like to redo it?

Secondly, if you are unaware what those bs and #s are, then you are not ready for modes.

And thirdly, everything that Mattyboy said. What a great post!

I initially used modes as a method of visualising accidentals if confronted with certain chord progression, however overtime it was just easier to think of them as accidentals to the major/minor scale I was playing.

I'm aware of what are thos b's and #'s are I just didn't understand those formulas, because I thought that in every mode the notes were the same as the ionian scale but in Different order


Thank you everyone!
Matty post was great too! I understood every single bit
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:53 AM   #16
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Matty Boy's list ignores the use of modes in Renaissance polyphony.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyBoy 1337

"But what about Pitch axis theory? Don't tell me you're better than Vai and Satch!"
They certainly play circles around me. That's because they've been playing 54964984894 years and have really gooooood ears and know what's going on musically all the time. I view Pitch axis theory as a fun little gimmick to consolidate the relationships between crazy chords for easier soloing. But it's not modes.



It amazes me when people try to denounce a composers compositional process.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:57 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Nietsche
Matty Boy's list ignores the use of modes in Renaissance polyphony.

Lol sorry. How could I forget? :P That music is super cool.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:51 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by MattyBoy 1337
If, after learning modes, you feel that they actually helped you then stop! Turn back, you're going the wrong way! This way will lead you to scale dependency! I personally know people who can't compose without looking up a scale on the web. Don't be that guy, modes can make you that guy.


This is more than a tad hyperbolic.

Also the post assumes that mode and scale are the same thing which isn't true, at least terms of plainchant and Renaissance polyphony. The modes have characteristic melodic tendencies. Some of which deviate from the material of the scale. For example, one of the characteristic gestures in Dorian is the progression D - A - Bb - A. In renaissance polyphony it's also customary to raise the leading tone at the cadence in Dorian, Mixolydian and Aeolian. And in the minor modes it's customary to raise the third at the cadence.

Also the post assumes that the only reason to acquire knowledge of how music works is to then use that knowledge in one's own music. But performers of music also need to understand a composers thought process in composing in order to understand the music better. And I think knowledge for it's own sake is a valuable thing as well. I doubt I'll ever have occasion to write a motet or a madrigal but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the process of learning about Renaissance polyphony for it's own sake.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nietsche
This is more than a tad hyperbolic.

Also the post assumes that mode and scale are the same thing which isn't true, at least terms of plainchant and Renaissance polyphony. The modes have characteristic melodic tendencies. Some of which deviate from the material of the scale. For example, one of the characteristic gestures in Dorian is the progression D - A - Bb - A. In renaissance polyphony it's also customary to raise the leading tone at the cadence in Dorian, Mixolydian and Aeolian. And in the minor modes it's customary to raise the third at the cadence.

Also the post assumes that the only reason to acquire knowledge of how music works is to then use that knowledge in one's own music. But performers of music also need to understand a composers thought process in composing in order to understand the music better. And I think knowledge for it's own sake is a valuable thing as well. I doubt I'll ever have occasion to write a motet or a madrigal but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the process of learning about Renaissance polyphony for it's own sake.



I agree with all this. But I guess I was just assuming that the TS was assuming that modes were simply scales, so I was speaking from that point of view.
I agree that learning for learning's sake is good too. In my earlier years of writing music, I suffered a bit from scale dependance, and many others I knew did too. I couldn't write anything worthwhile without looking up some scale pattern to make my music "fit" with theory. This was because I didn't know how to separate scales from music, and also because I thought modes were just scales.

I feel it's important to properly contextualize the things you learn so that you don't get mixed up in inefficient thought processes. I feel that (based on my personal experience), that that's where the TS is headed. I went there too.
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