Page 1 of 3
#1
Hi, I need help with modes...

Im very confused and frustrated with modes right now...I don't get the different types modes or majors, minors, intervals or anything..

How do you even use modes to solo and I don't get the keys or anything.

I looked at different sources and every source I went to, I got way more confused...

Please Help...
#3
Quote by one vision
How much theory do you know up until this point?

Modes are next to impossible to understand correctly if you don't understand intervals, scales, chord construction, and basic harmony.

^ +1

TS it sounds like you're getting into modes a bit prematurely. If you don't understand intervals.... forget modes for awhile. Start theory at the very beginning and work your way up from there, 1 step at a time.
shred is gaudy music
#4
Learn the major scale and its intervals.
To be brave is to take action in spite of fear. It is impossible to be brave without first being afraid. To take action without fear is not brave, it is foolish.
#5
Unless you know your major scales, your out of luck. musictheory.net look at it.
Modes are basically about your root note.
You think you know the game of life?
#6
I know some minor and some major scales...and what are intervals? You guys have any advice or lesson links to get started?

This is very confusing..
#7
Intervals are the distances between notes.

For example do you know the difference between a minor third and a major third?

Could you tell me what a perfect fifth above C is?

Or a perfect fourth below D?

Or a minor 7th above G?

Do you know how to harmonize the major scale - i.e. take the notes of say C major scale and build diatonic chords off each scale degree?
Si
#8
Quote by 20Tigers
Intervals are the distances between notes.

For example do you know the difference between a minor third and a major third?

Could you tell me what a perfect fifth above C is?

Or a perfect fourth below D?

Or a minor 7th above G?

Do you know how to harmonize the major scale - i.e. take the notes of say C major scale and build diatonic chords off each scale degree?

Honestly no, I don't know...
#11
As everyone has said knowing this kind of stuff intervals chord construction etc will help you understand modes because it's difficult to explain them without referring to these kinds of ideas. Some basic theoretical knowledge is helpful so that you understand the jargon.

So I'd encourage you to look into intervals, chord construction and harmonising the major scale etc.

But since you asked for modes here is my detailed explanation of modes (link) It's not the comprehensive or complete account of modes but may be detailed enough to confuse you.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Jan 8, 2009,
#12
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=999592

when you understand intervals, and the major scale and all that, THEN you should try and tackle modes. (basically like everyone here said)
but when you do, go to that link.

its made by xxdarrenxx, and it explains modal chord progressions perfectly.
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#13
I have a pretty basic knowledge of intervals, but how do I practice or apply them?
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#14
Try to explore the character of each interval both in melody and harmony. Practice moving around the fretboard in only one kind of interval (up and down only in 5ths, for example). Explore chords made of stacked intervals.

Sky's the limit, really.
#15
Nice, and how do you practice melody and harmony? If I wanted to learn more what should I be doing?
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#16
Can we start banning people who make these threads?
Use the damn search feature.
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.
#17
Quote by MOOSE_CCR99
Nice, and how do you practice melody and harmony? If I wanted to learn more what should I be doing?


A) Play notes one at a time, and that's melody. Play more than one at a time and that's harmony. Practice them by playing notes and listening and analysing and repeating those steps.

B) If you want to learn more you should read and play and live guitar. I've got what I feel would be most helpful to most UGers in my sig. Start there then. Don't answer this post, you should be busy playing and practicing for at least the next week.
#18
Quote by MOOSE_CCR99
I have a pretty basic knowledge of intervals, but how do I practice or apply them?


Learn how to play their shapes on the guitar, and then learn to recognize them by ear. At first it may seem like a guessing game, but in time it will become second nature There is a good trainer at musictheory.net, and also goodear.com
#19
Modes are pretty simple once you've got them down. It took me forever to get it, because I'd have these moments where I'd just get it -- it would just click; but then I would forget what this strange revelation that I had was the next day when I tried to apply it. But I've figured it out now, and I think that I present it in a manner that is pretty easy to understand.

Let's begin with the Major Scale. This is probably the most important thing that you will ever learn, because without it, nothing else could ever make any sense to you whatsoever. Everything is based off of it, when speaking about music.

The basic formula for a natural major scale is 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7. Chords are typically formed in thirds, but some people will harmonize chords in fourths also (known as quartal harmony), but thirds are the most common and the most basic.

Okay, so what is a third? The interval of a third is equal to two whole steps. A minor third is equal to a whole step and a half step, which on the guitar is three frets.

When you play a third, you're basing it off of what scale you're using, and what note you're starting from in that scale. This is equally true of fifths, fourths, seconds, sixths, sevenths, etc.

So let's look at harmonization. We're going to use the major scale for this example.

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - R - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - R
8 - 9 - 10 11 12 13 14 15

R - - > 3 - - > 5 - - > 7 - - > 9 - - > 11 > 13

That is a basic chord, and followed by all of it's extensions. The extensions aren't really necessary when you're forming chords, it's just useful to know what they are for if you see them in a song somewhere. You won't ever really play all of those notes in one chord though. The most important ones are, to me, the root, third, 7, and then whatever the highest extension is after that.

Okay, so do you think that you "get" harmonization? You take those same basic rules, and apply them to whatever scale degree (i.e. second, third, fourth) you're starting on. We'll do this once with a minor scale as well, just to use as an example.

1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7 - r - 9 - b10 - 11 - 12 - b13 - b14 - r

r - - > b3 - - > 5 - - - > b7 - -> 9 - - - -> 11 - - - > b13

So you see, when you change the formula to a scale, the first chord and all of it's extensions will change. When you go to harmonize chords, just start at the first tone of the chord, and count up in thirds.

If any of this confuses you, ask me to explain it better from that point on and I will. Tonight, I'm sorta pressed for time, so I'm trying to make this easy while simultaneously getting through it quickly. If it has been over-simplified, let me know.

Now we're going to move on to modes.

You define a mode as being major or minor by determining what the root chord is (major or minor). Just figure out what the third is, natural or flatted, and you'll know what the scale is (anyone who says something about Locrian, I'm getting to it).

So, the formula for each mode will be presented next to each name (in order, of course).

1. Ionian (Natural Major) - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
2. Dorian - 1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - 6 -b7
3. Phrygian - 1 b2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7
4. Lydian - 1 - 2 - 3 - #4 - 5 - 6 - 7
5. Mixolydian - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7
6. Aeolian (Natural Minor) - 1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7
7. Locrian - 1 - b2 - b3 - 4 - b5 - b6 - b7

Note: The number that sits next to each mode here is representitive of which scale degree each mode starts from. Dorian is based from the second note of a natural major scale, so it has a "2" next to it. Makes sense, right?

Okay, that Locrian scale has a diminished fifth, which means it is neither major or minor. It is diminished. This is by far the hardest mode to use, because it is simply unstable. I don't know that I've ever heard a chord progression that was based off of this scale (though the intro to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" uses it quite effectively, and is by far the most popular use of the scale).

Okay, now let's look at each mode, broken into major and minor.

Major Modes:
Ionian: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
Lydian: 1 - 2 - 3 - #4 - 5 - 6 - 7
Mixolydian: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 b7

The characteristic note of each mode has been boled; obviously, if there isn't any note that has been bolded, then this one must be the natural scale for which the other two were based from.

Minor Modes:
Aeolian: 1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7
Dorian: 1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7
Phrygian: 1 - b2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7

Now, when you're considering the notes in a mode, apply these formulas to the natural major scale. You spell each mode out from the root note (the one), and just write each note out in the mode. Note that these modes will share notes with another scale. E Phrygian is all natural tones, but it is not a C major scale or an A minor scale. It is E Phrygian.

Now, I advise you go read xx darren xx's thread on modal progressions (which has a bunch of YouTube links with modal chord progressions underneath, and him soloing over each one to show what they sound like). ONLY READ THIS THREAD IF EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE SAID HERE MAKES SENSE TO YOU! If you do not understand something here, then reading that thread will only make you even more confused.

If I said something here that confused you at any point in time, TELL ME. I will do my absolute best to explain it better. I kind of hurried this lesson because, like I said, I'm pressed for time tonight. It's not the best lesson I've ever typed up, but I think it gets the point across. I'll be happy to explain anything here better that does not make sense to you.

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#20
Understand intervals first and what they are and how they apply to the diatonic (major) scale. Then you will be able to understand modes and how to apply them to your playing.

Still dont understand? Feel free to ask.
#21
Modes in the easiest way!!!
Memorizing these is extremely important!
First learn the names of the modes in order; as follow:

1)Ionian
2)Dorian
3)Phrygian
4)lydian
5)Mixolydian
6)Aeolian
7)Locrian

*Notice there are seven modes in all.
I would highly consider writing them down.

Ok, once you have memorized all seven names you are ready to move on but not untill then; which could take time.

Now we cover intervals.
Modes are made up of intervals. Intervals are based on tones and semitones/wholesteps & half-steps.

In lamen's tems the differance between wholestep/tone and half-step/semitone
would be the distance between the fret you play and the next fret/ or the distance between each note for the mode your in.

Whole steps have one fret between them
Half steps have no frets between them. they are just one fret to the next

!You must understand this before for you continue!


Now we can move into how these steps/intervals make up a mode

Here I will draw you up a diagram of the modes and thier corresponding intervals

Ionian( I-Oh- knee- In )-----------------WWHWWWH
Dorian( Door- RE- In )-------------------WHWWWHW
phrygian( Fridge- E- In )---------------HWWWHWW
mixolydian( Mix- Oh- Lid- E- In )-------WWWHWWH
Lydian( Lid- E- In )-----------------------WWHWWHW
Aeolian( A- Oh- Lee- In )---------------WHWWHWW
Locrian( Lo- Cree- In )------------------HWWHWWW

Notice, that all the other modes are based off Ionian.
This means that the Ionian mode is considered the Major scale.
Oh, sorry modes are also called scales.

Think of Ionian mode's intervals/notes as
DO-RE-MI-FA-SO-LA-TI- DO
But dont count that last (DO) because thats the first note/root/octave

So in general a way to remember the number of modes/scales, intervals for each mode and how many notes are in each mode/scale is:
777
Seven modes
Seven steps
Seven notes in each mode/scale.

Tah dah its all pattern

Now to make this all just a little more puzzling
Each mode/scale has all the other modes built into them.


Ok one more example
Note* if you dont know your chromatics/I call them ABC's of the fret board; this wont make any sence at all

Now I will find the Emajor scale's notes by using the Ionian mode's intervals
which if you refer to diagram above will be WWHWWWH/DO-RE-MI-FA-SO-LA-TI-DO

I am going to exclude the flats because if you know the chromatics at all you should know that where there is a sharp there is a flat

E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E

W W H W W W H
DO RE MI FA SO LA DO
Now we have the notes for the Emajor scale using Ionian mode
Which are
E F# G# A B C# D# E
R 2 3 4 5 6 7 R

This is where we will find the names for each note in the Emajor scale.

Root--E
Major 2nd--F#
Major 3rd--G#
Perfect 4th-A
Perfect 5th-B
Major 6th--C#
Major 7th--D#
Root--E
Ext if you know about your 9th 10th 11th and 13ths

If you like my lesson or if you dont understand ask me. If I made a mistake please correct me if I am wrong or feel free to add on too.
I hope this helps with modes
Ps. this can be overwelming no matter how you explain it but good luck and I hope you figure it out the best way that you can
Thanks Sis_ring_under
Last edited by Sis_ring_under at Jan 9, 2009,
#22
take a C major chord: CEG. that's the root, 3rd + 5th.

now the C major scale is CDEFGABC, all natural notes. CEG are the first, third and fifth notes of that scale.

next, look at a C minor chord.. C, Eb, G. you'll notice that the fifth is the same as C major. that's why you can drop fifths from more complex chords - it sounds good, but on it's own, it doesn't tell us anything (until we start dealing with dim chords, min7b5, etc)

so the third tells us whether a chord is major or minor.

now look at the distance between C and E, and C and Eb. the distance between notes is an interval. C to E ascending is a major third - C to Eb ascending is a minor third.

now what happens if we start the C major scale on D, and go up in thirds? you get D - skip a note - F - skip a note - and A. if you look at D to F, you'll see that the distance between them is the same as C to Eb, and that A is a fifth away from D. so what we have here is a D minor chord.

try this out on each note in C major until you've figured out all the chords. you should get C maj, D min, E min, F maj, G maj, A min, B dim (B dim has a minor third, but a flatted fifth - this is a diminished triad).


now a mode is just a scale that relates to each of these chords in the key. so D dorian is essentially C major starting on D.

you might be thinking.. if we have a progression in the key of C, what is the point of modes? can't you just use the C major scale to solo over it? well, you can.. but the notes in the key relate to each chord differently. modes are just a simple way of understanding how they relate.

look at it like this... D is the 2nd note in the scale of C major. Now play a D minor chord. then play the note D straight after. it sounds at rest.

play a C major chord, then play the note D after it.. the 2nd is one of the prettiest notes you can play over a chord. D doesn't sound as pretty over D minor, though.

what happens if we play an E over a D minor chord? aha.

now if you're thinking in C major, then E would be the third note... but if you're thinking about the mode D dorian (the mode beginning on the 2nd of the key is called dorian), you know that E is the 2nd of THAT scale, so you know to play that note if you want that specific sound.


this is much easier to understand than memorizing scales or modes as a series of intervals. learn how each note in the mode relates and sounds like to its parent chord. eventually you'll start using modes in a non-diatonic manner.. e.g. playing a G dorian lick over a G7 chord, or playing phrygian over a minor chord for a specific sound, even when it's not functioning as a iii chord, etcetc

good luck
Last edited by GIGGSYGIGGSY at Jan 9, 2009,
#23
Sis_ring_under; Useless information, without a context.

To the user above^^

G Dorian over an G7 chord? Minor scale over a Dominant chord with a Maj3rd? I wouldn't recommend it, and it doesn't make sense if you also can use a min7th chord.

Also D Dorian over a C Maj chord doesn't imply D dorian. All the intervals will still relate to the chord, ie if u play a d over it, U imply Cadd9 chord which doesn't do the minor tonality of Dorian justice. If you would play E Phrygian over a C chord, the E note is just the major 3rd of a chord, and doesn't imply the minor tonality of Phrygian.


I'm schocked at all the vague info here.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 9, 2009,
#24
Quote by xxdarrenxx
Sis_ring_under; Useless information, without a context.

To the user above^^

G Dorian over an G7 chord? Minor scale over a Dominant chord with a Maj3rd? I wouldn't recommend it, and it doesn't make sense if you also can use a min7th chord.


how about a blues in G? or altering a 7 chord to a 7#9

yeah I don't recommend playing a dorian scale over whatever the hell you feel like, though. I'm just suggesting that he experiment and figure out what sounds good and what doesn't.
Last edited by GIGGSYGIGGSY at Jan 9, 2009,
#25
Quote by xxdarrenxx

Also D Dorian over a C Maj chord doesn't imply D dorian. All the intervals will still relate to the chord, ie if u play a d over it, U imply Cadd9 chord which doesn't do the minor tonality of Dorian justice. If you would play E Phrygian over a C chord, the E note is just the major 3rd of a chord, and doesn't imply the minor tonality of Phrygian.


I'm schocked at all the vague info here.

Im kinda confused here, could you elaborate? Lets say Im playing D Dorian over a Dm chord, is it only D dorian if Im in the key of C? (being the 2nd degree of the major scale).
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#26
Quote by MOOSE_CCR99
Im kinda confused here, could you elaborate? Lets say Im playing D Dorian over a Dm chord, is it only D dorian if Im in the key of C? (being the 2nd degree of the major scale).


Yes, but you should see those 2 as different entities.

Dorian is a "minor" mode

A mode is major when it contains a regular 3rd relative to the root and minor if it contains a minor 3rd.

IF you play a Dm chord you can play 3 minor modes.

The 3 minor modes are(we plant em all with D as the root, for the upcoming example);

(natural) Minor scale (aeolian)
Dorian
Phrygian.

They all share the same root note, a minor 3rd, and a 5th (Dm chord)

The difference between each scale/mode is this:

Aeolian is ur regular minor scale.
Dorian uses a #6 in relation the aeolian scale.
Phrygian has a the infamous b2

those notes over the chords will imply there modes.

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#27
Ok I get it, you can do which ever minor mode you want but certain modes have different flavours that others dont.
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Fender Aerodyne Stratocaster
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#28
Im kinda confused here, could you elaborate? Lets say Im playing D Dorian over a Dm chord, is it only D dorian if Im in the key of C? (being the 2nd degree of the major scale).


D dorian is not in the key of C and is not even remotely similar to C major. You aren't ready to be worrying about modes.
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.
#29
Quote by MOOSE_CCR99
Ok I get it, you can do which ever minor mode you want but certain modes have different flavours that others dont.


Technically yes. Although these flavours aren't always "nice". It's up to you to learn in ur "musical journey" when to use these notes, and are mostly used when "Following the chords" in Jazz standards/songs/improvisations.

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#30
Quote by Archeo Avis
D dorian is not in the key of C and is not even remotely similar to C major. You aren't ready to be worrying about modes.


the D dorian scale is derived from major harmony = C major
#31
Quote by GIGGSYGIGGSY
the D dorian scale is derived from major harmony = C major


So what? They have entirely different intervalic structures, different tonal centers, and are used in completely different contexts. They don't even belong to the same musical system.
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.
#32
Quote by Archeo Avis
So what? They have entirely different intervalic structures, different tonal centers, and are used in completely different contexts. They don't even belong to the same musical system.


well.. I'd argue that they're used in different contexts less often than not. the most basic & obvious use of dorian is over a iim7 chord in a major key.

what do you mean "musical system"? a scale is a scale.
#33
All modes fit into a key whether you like it or not.

The whole point of modes is to use those set of notes in a new way, completely changing the mood of the music. In most cases (depending on the mode imo, some are more stable than others), this requires careful note choice and specific harmony to ensure the proper tonal center.

That's why they're called Modes of the Major scale.

Because they're Modes.


Modes.
#35
Quote by Freepower
Except, er, modes that aren't of the major scale.



True.

Modes are basically derived from western (popular) harmonic systems to name the other "conventions"

It's more logical then to see them as other scales, because they all share the same chords, but different aural focus.

As far as I know, In western music you have modes of the Major Scale, Harmonic minor scale, and Melodic minor scale.

Though technically you can derive modes from every scale.

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#36
Quote by life_777
Hi, I need help with modes...

Im very confused and frustrated with modes right now...I don't get the different types modes or majors, minors, intervals or anything..

How do you even use modes to solo and I don't get the keys or anything.

I looked at different sources and every source I went to, I got way more confused...

Please Help...
You want to know why you don't understand?...because modes aren't a beginner concept! Don't jump in the deep end when you need the floaties.

You have to learn intervals before you can learn scales
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


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#37
Quote by Freepower
Except, er, modes that aren't of the major scale.


Well......

Argueable. Lol.

Melodic and Harmonic minor modes still in a way fit into a key. Kinda. You know what I mean. Lol.

That, and I didn't think TS would wanna delve into those. Lol.
#38
Sure, but he didn't want to dive into modes in the first place.

What about modes of the Double Harmonic Minor? Lets see your keys stretch to that.

Point is that we use the word mode to mean a scale derived by tonicising (sp?) a scale degree other than the root - but that doesn't mean it's not more logical to view it as a seperate scale. I never, ever think of A dorian as "G major resolving to the 2nd", it's clearly the sound of a minor scale with a major 6th, and that's how I think of it.
#39
the most basic & obvious use of dorian is over a iim7 chord in a major key.


In which case you're not playing dorian, you're just playing the major scale.
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.
#40
Quote by Freepower
Sure, but he didn't want to dive into modes in the first place.

What about modes of the Double Harmonic Minor? Lets see your keys stretch to that.

Point is that we use the word mode to mean a scale derived by tonicising (sp?) a scale degree other than the root - but that doesn't mean it's not more logical to view it as a seperate scale. I never, ever think of A dorian as "G major resolving to the 2nd", it's clearly the sound of a minor scale with a major 6th, and that's how I think of it.
If someone thinks different, they should be shot.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


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