Using Modes To Compose Solos

author: Zamboni date: 01/20/2004 category: soloing
rating: 6.5 / votes: 41 
A type of scale useful to know other than the major and minor variants is called the mode. There are seven types of modes in western playing, and you may be surprised to learn that modes pre-date the diatonic scales (major and minor), which didnt evolve until the 17th century. The modal system can be traced back to Ancient Greek times. During the middle ages, it was taken up by the christian church, where it dominated western music for several hundred years. Like diatonic scales, each of the seven modes comprises eight notes from root to octave. The notes used by all of the modes equate directly to the white notes of a piano keyboard- hence the notes of a C major scale. You may be wondering what practical use modes have for you. That's a resonable question. It's been asked countless times on here. Originally, the modes were veiwed as a fixed series of pitches and notes, not a set of relative intervals. Modern usage, however, has reinterpreted a mode merely as a scale with it's own set of intervals. Therefore, it is possible to transpose any of these modes into any key, creating seven new types of scales, each with it's own unique set of characteristics. After you play all of the modes I will tab, you should be able to recognise that the Ionian mode is in fact, the Major scale by another name. Also, the Aeolian mode uses the same set of intervals as the Natural Minor scale. If you've gotten familiar with other types of scale positions in your guitar playing carreer, but have never tried modes, you should have very little trouble getting to grips with the seven types of modes. Below this, you will see seven tabs. Each one shows the correct fret and string of the mode outlined above the staff. The intervals are typed under the specific mode. I've tabbed these all in the key of A.
The Ionian Mode in A:
E[----------------------------------------------------
B[----------------------------------------------------
G[----------------------------------------------------
D[--------------------4--6--7-------------------------
A[---------4--5--7------------------------------------
E[--5--7----------------------------------------------
Tone, Tone Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone

The Dorian Mode in A:
E[----------------------------------------------------
B[----------------------------------------------------
G[----------------------------2-----------------------
D[----------------2--4--5-----------------------------
A[-----2--3--5----------------------------------------
E[--5-------------------------------------------------
Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone

The Phrygian Mode in A:
E[----------------------------------------------------
B[----------------------------------------------------
G[----------------------------------------------------
D[------------------------5--7------------------------
A[-------------5--7--8--------------------------------
E[--5--6--8-------------------------------------------
Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone

The Lydian Mode in A:
E[----------------------------------------------------
B[----------------------------------------------------
G[----------------------------------------------------
D[---------------------4--6--7------------------------
A[----------4--6--7-----------------------------------
E[--5--7----------------------------------------------
Tone, Tone, Tone, Semtitone, Tone, Tone, Semitone

The Mixolydian Mode in A:
E[----------------------------------------------------
B[----------------------------------------------------
G[----------------------------2-----------------------
D[----------------2--4--5-----------------------------
A[-----2--4--5----------------------------------------
E[--5-------------------------------------------------
Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone

The Aeolian Mode in A:

E[----------------------------------------------------
B[----------------------------------------------------
G[----------------------------2-----------------------
D[-----------------2--3--5----------------------------
A[------2--3--5---------------------------------------
E[--5-------------------------------------------------
Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone

The Lochrian Mode in A:
E[----------------------------------------------------
B[----------------------------------------------------
G[----------------------------------------------------
D[-------------------------5--7-----------------------
A[--------------5--6--8-------------------------------
E[--5--6--8-------------------------------------------
Semitone, Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone
More Zamboni lessons:
+ What's String Bending For Beginners 10/06/2005
+ Barre Chords II Chords 10/15/2003
+ Harmonics For Beginners For Beginners 10/03/2003
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