#1
OK, before anybody slams me to be banned for asking what scales Satriani uses, here's the question...

I cannot figure out how modes come into play over a chord progression. Say I have a chord progression - Am G F Am F G. The only way I could play reasonably over this chord progression was by staying in the key of C.

My question is, how do modes help me when I'm playing here ? Is it that I'm trying to resolve to a note whenever I hit a chord & that becomes my mode for that brief interval or that the whole song is in a certain mode & that the chords dictate the mode I should play in.

Any relevant links to help me understand how chords & modes blend together would help me a lot.

Thanks in advance for your help
#3
technically you are playing C maj the whole time (provided your not doin any cool jazzy non diatonic stuff), but for instance, on the Amin your playing A aeolian which is diatonic to the C maj,
G mixolydian...basically all the same notes as the c major scale...

what changes is the emphasis for root and key notes,

so when your on the A min, you hit the A C E G notes for resolve

and for G is G B D F

so the scale stays the same, but the notes you emphasize change
Peace , Love , Death Metal


Quote by Super_Duper_Guy
It probably started at $55 but then he thought "You know what? F&*$ them. 1 dollar extra. pwned noobs."
That bastard...
#5
I cannot figure out how modes come into play over a chord progression. Say I have a chord progression - Am G F Am F G. The only way I could play reasonably over this chord progression was by staying in the key of C.


The simple answer is...they don't. If you have a progression in C major, then play C major. The progression isn't modal at all, so don't bring modes into it.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#6
Archeo Avis, this brings a good point that i have been wondering about for a while:

Take the progression he is talking about for example, and why couldnt you say that it is in A Aeolian, because it will resolve to the Am again? (please dont give me the ol' "read the sticky" line)

My understanding after reading the millions of threads where there is a debate over modes is that it is all about the resolution of the chords, is this not right?
Gibson SG Standard
Ibanez S2170FB
Peavey JSX
Marshall 1960A
TEXAS A&M
#7
^I think the fact that suggests it will better resolve to C major is the F Major and G Major chords in sequence.

They are the subdominant and dominant degrees of C major and make a pretty clear resolution. However, like I said, the progression sounds like it could go either way, for now though, it doesn't sound very modal. Perhaps needs moar chords.
#8
Quote by sacamano79
Archeo Avis, this brings a good point that i have been wondering about for a while:

Take the progression he is talking about for example, and why couldnt you say that it is in A Aeolian, because it will resolve to the Am again? (please dont give me the ol' "read the sticky" line)

My understanding after reading the millions of threads where there is a debate over modes is that it is all about the resolution of the chords, is this not right?


It would probably be unnecessary to call it aeolian, since it's very unlikely that you're writing modal music. It would be far simpler and, very likely, far more accurate to call it A minor. Granted, the line between modal and tonal music has been somewhat blurred in the past few decades as modes have regained popularity and have been more or less crammed into a tonal framework, but it's rare to find music that would truly be better described in modal terms, especially when you're dealing with a chord progression that clearly resolves to either "major" or "minor". Describing it as modal just unnecessarily complicates things.

If you want to hear what real modal music sounds like, listen to some Western pre-baroque music, before the development of tonal harmony. An example is...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbg_QYdW1sU

Modal music is primarily a melodic rather than harmonic system, and even in modern times, where modes have been more or less crammed into the Western tonal system of music, they really don't make use of the complex harmonic movement that tonal music does. Chords, when present, serve more to outline the intervals of the mode than to create tension and release. As a general rule, any time you see a chord progression that consists of more than a one or two chord vamp (and especially if there is dominant-tonic movement), it would be far better described in tonal terms.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#9
In reference to your last paragraph, that's pretty much the difference between functional and dysfunctional harmony, isn't it?

Functional: Some sort of harmonic movement.
Dysfunctional: No specific harmonic movement, harmony is there to compensate for the intervals. Often embellished for "color".

Am I correctly describing it? It's kind of a difficult thing to put into words, but I think I got it..
#10
Quote by one vision
In reference to your last paragraph, that's pretty much the difference between functional and dysfunctional harmony, isn't it?

Functional: Some sort of harmonic movement.
Dysfunctional: No specific harmonic movement, harmony is there to compensate for the intervals. Often embellished for "color".

Am I correctly describing it? It's kind of a difficult thing to put into words, but I think I got it..


I usually have trouble putting it into words as well, but what you said seems accurate. Functional harmony is actually a very recent invention in musical history, and has only really been developed to its fullest in (relatively) modern Western music.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#12
To arch
Real modal music isn't very usable in contemporary music. I mean I've heard it done but it would be harmonically... strange.

To anyone that want's to write a real modal song with more than a single melody, you need to use counterpoint. I guess you could write a few modal melodies and counterpoint them together, I guess that could give you a truly modal progression. I guess.

Would a song still be modal if I had a modal melody over a common tonal progression? So say if I had a melody in A phrygian and used an Am-E7 progression (maybe I might add some predominants) and just avoided clashing notes.
I'm going to try this one out...
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#14
Would a song still be modal if I had a modal melody over a common tonal progression? So say if I had a melody in A phrygian and used an Am-E7 progression (maybe I might add some predominants) and just avoided clashing notes.
I'm going to try this one out...


I would see no reason to describe it as modal. The harmony is clearly A minor, and the melody would probably be far better described as the A minor scale with a few altered tones.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#15
^Hmmmm

Quote by Wikipedia on gregorian modes
Carl Dahlhaus (1990, p.192) lists "three factors that form the respective starting points for the modal theories of Aurelian of Réôme, Hermannus Contractus, and Guido of Arezzo:

* the relation of modal formulas to the comprehensive system of tonal relationships embodied in the diatonic scale;
* the partitioning of the octave into a modal framework; and
* the function of the modal final as a relational center."

Well, that just means you must establish a certain note as a tonal center and think modally. Not too difficult.

After studying some real modal peices (mostly palestrina's stuff), I conclude that you can have a complex-ish progression, chords are possible, it is possible to have more than just a single line and the only requirment for a truly modal peice is that it (the melody and chord progression) resolves on the right note to imply modes.
So if it's D dorian, the melody must resolve to D (without accidentals) and the last chord to be used is Dm.

Further more, to make all this possible, modal tunes can and will resolve by a flattened leading tone. This may seem weird in our tonal music. So what would signify a complete resolution? Well at a resolution most voices will move stepwise to a chord tone (sometimes with the third omitted).

In modal music, resolutions like Dm-Gm (palestrinas - O Crux Ave) or v-i are possible. In our tonal system, we usually resolve by D7-Gm or V7-i. And other weird movements like vii-I as in John Dowlands whoever thinks of love hopes for love.

I guess in modal music anything goes chord wise as long as each part resolves stepwise to the tonic.

EDIT: Now I'm going to pore over my copy of gradus ad parnassum (the real translation, not the crappy wikipedia translation or the user friendly internet translations) to see what Mr Fux has to say about modal music.
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
Last edited by demonofthenight at Dec 21, 2008,
#16
Check out the pitch axis theory. Satriani uses it a lot.
Besides being a guitar player, I'm a big fan of the guitar. I love that damn instrument. Steve Vai

Gear:
Kramer Striker FR422SM
Roland Microcube
Digitech Bad Monkey
Dunlop Tortex 1.14mm picks


MY VIDEOS
#17
I wasn't thinking that a chord progression could be modal & was simply thinking of modes in terms of improv over chords. Excuse my ignorance here, I'm learning, this thread helped me clear it up.

I take with me that I need to learn the relationship's between the chords & well, apply some pitch axis techniques once I figure out a reasonable tonal progression(anybody got one or maybe a backing track)

Thanks all...
#18
You can't use pitch axis theory if you have a tonal progression.. The whole point of the pitch axis theory is that you have a "pivot" point from which you modulate to other keys and play other modes.

Example;

Chord progression; (each played for 4 bars or so)
Dmin9

Dmaj7

D9sus

Dmin/maj7

Dmin9 would imply D Dorian, then in the 5th bar it moves to Dmaj7, implying D Lydian. In the 9th bar, D9sus would imply D Mixolydian, and in the 13th bar Dmin/maj7 would imply D Melodic minor.

This is pitch axis theory, you are using a root note as a pivot point (the D note) to shift keys.

You can also extend this theory into the following progression by using the harmonised scales.

The initial progression could for example be changed to;

Dmin7

F#min7

Gmaj9

F7#11

Again, the Dm7 implies D Dorian. But now, we're also shifting root notes (using the harmonised D Lydian scale, we find F#min7, which is in the same key). Using the D Mixolydian scale, we could also substitute the Dmaj7 with the Gmaj9, again a different root note and mode. And last but not least, in the harmonised melodic minor scale of Dmin/maj7, we also find F7#11.

This is a more advanced approach of pitch axis theory, as you're using the harmonised scales to shift root notes AND modes.