#1
Let's start off with some info about me (skip to first line if you don't want to read this):
I am playing guitar for around 1 year and four months now, I already have the same or even superior knowledge of music theory and how to apply said theory as most other guitarist I have met.
I have been wanting to learn about modes for somewhat like a year now and always ended up getting to a point where I didn't understand anything anymore (add to that that English is not my first language and most tutorials in my language are either too shallow or too deep).
That was until recently when I put together everything I know about modes onto one sheet of paper (including the whole scale along the fretboard) and learned the F major scale. That was when I realised that F major only had a one note difference to C major, namely the B "has been made" into a Bb. I pulled out the mode sheet again and finally understood modes (or think I had understood if it turns out to be not true).

I have read many lessons on modes and it never was described in this way, so I am not sure if it right and want to know WHAT is right if my "knowledge" is wrong.

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I will use C Ionian and C Dorian as examples. (R) is for root, (*digit*) is for second, third etc.

C Ionian: C (R) - D (2) - E (3) - F (4) - G (5) - A (6) - B (7) - C (8)

Now most lessons say that if you just start on D you would get the Dorian mode, making it

C Dorian: D (R) - E (2) - F (3b) - G (4) - A (5) - B (6) - C (7b) - D (8)

is THAT really C Dorian? I can't believe it since it "loses" it's name by making D the root.
Therefore I applied the intervals to C as a root and came up with this:

C Dorian: C (R) - D (2) - Eb (3b) - F (4) - G (5) - A (6) - Bb (7b) - C (8)

which to me at least looks a lot more like C Dorian and also has a real change in it (E to Eb and B to Bb; instead of just the same scale and just a different root).

Also this scale has the same notes that Bb Ionian has.

Question #1: Which of the above "C Dorians" is correct?

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If the latter C Dorian is correct, it equals Bb Ionian, allowing this theory of mine:
Modes (in C) are "just" all the scales that have the tone C in common, just on different positions. The term "mode" is used to describe that instead of the "real" root, C is used as root and therefore the most prominent note of the scale.


C Ionian: C as Prime (or root)
C Dorian: C as Second, "equaling" Bb Ionian
C Phrygian: C as Third, "equaling" Ab Ionian
C Lydian: C as Fourth, "equaling" G Ionian
C Mixolydian: C as Fifth, "equaling" F Ionian
C Aeolian: C as Sixth, "equaling" E Ionian
C Locrian: C as Seventh, "equaling" D Ionian


Little explanation:
When creating C Dorian, you use D as the starting point and count the intervals, therefore you go up one Second from C, this interval (Second, 2 Semitones) is "substracted" from C to create the relative Ionian scale (C - 2 Semitones = Bb). Repeat for every mode.


Question #2: Is the above theory correct?


I want to know this because I can't (and don't want to) apply something I have not fully understood beforehand. I really hope you guys can clear this up for me.

Thanks in advance.
#2
Quote by someone_random



I will use C Ionian and C Dorian as examples. (R) is for root, (*digit*) is for second, third etc.

C Ionian: C (R) - D (2) - E (3) - F (4) - G (5) - A (6) - B (7) - C (8)

Now most lessons say that if you just start on D you would get the Dorian mode, making it

C Dorian: D (R) - E (2) - F (3b) - G (4) - A (5) - B (6) - C (7b) - D (8)

is THAT really C Dorian? I can't believe it since it "loses" it's name by making D the root.
Therefore I applied the intervals to C as a root and came up with this:

C Dorian: C (R) - D (2) - Eb (3b) - F (4) - G (5) - A (6) - Bb (7b) - C (8)

which to me at least looks a lot more like C Dorian and also has a real change in it (E to Eb and B to Bb; instead of just the same scale and just a different root).

Also this scale has the same notes that Bb Ionian has.

Question #1: Which of the above "C Dorians" is correct?


The MIDDLE one would be called D DORIAN which can be applied over the C Maj Key

the third Dorian is correct for C Dorian and yes its the same notes as Bb Ionian because its the same logic of D Dorian = C Ionian
So C Dorian = Bb = Ionian
#3
The middle one is wrong, if the root note is D it's D Dorian.

The first thing you need to be aware of is modes have nothing to do with where you start or what position you play in...they aren't names for playing in different positions.

Modes simply occur when the notes of a major scale are used in a certain context, namely where the piece of music has a tonal centre other than the more harmonically stable relative major or minor. This effectively gives you an altered major or minor scale. Modes are very harmonically unstable, therefore you have to make a particular effort to construct a backing that won't naturally resolve to the major or minor. This can be done in several ways, using a static drone note, a singe chord, a simple vamp or by choosing chords that highlight the signature mode intervals. However, as a general rule of thumb the more chords you're using the harder it's going to be.

You can look at the characteristic intervals of modes and look to borrow from them for their sounds whilst using the major or minor scale, but technically you're not using modes...you're stil just using the major/minor scale. However understanding how the modes work melodically can give you a better insight into using out of key notes. For example, if you're playing in E minor you could look to "borrow" the minor 2nd from E phrygian. However you're not actually using E phrygian because the harmony has the final say in what scale the notes form.
Actually called Mark!

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Last edited by steven seagull at Aug 10, 2009,
#4
Quote by Martindecorum
The MIDDLE one would be called D DORIAN which can be applied over the C Maj Key

the third Dorian is correct for C Dorian and yes its the same notes as Bb Ionian because its the same logic of D Dorian = C Ionian
So C Dorian = Bb = Ionian


Thanks, that makes my second theory true as well.

Quote by steven seagull
[...]Modes simply occur when the notes of a major scale are used in a certain context, namely where the piece of music has a tonal centre other than the more harmonically stable relative major or minor. This effectively gives you an altered major or minor scale. [...]

You can look at the characteristic intervals of modes and look to borrow from them for their sounds whilst using the major or minor scale, but technically you're not using modes...you're stil just using the major/minor scale. However understanding how the modes work melodically can give you a better insight into using out of key notes. For example, if you're playing in E minor you could look to "borrow" the minor 2nd from E phrygian. However you're not actually using E phrygian because the harmony has the final say in what scale the notes form.


Thanks, I knew that by using my theory I would only play in different scales and not really use modes, but I needed that to help myself understand the concept and construction of modes. I will now try to apply what you have said into my repertoire.
#5
Quote by Martindecorum
The MIDDLE one would be called D DORIAN which can be applied over the C Maj Key

the third Dorian is correct for C Dorian and yes its the same notes as Bb Ionian because its the same logic of D Dorian = C Ionian
So C Dorian = Bb = Ionian


The bolded is incorrect. D dorian can be applied over chords or harmony that implies dorian. There is nothing 'dorian' about playing D E F G A B C over a C maj progression, that's just C major.

Other than that, +1 to everthing Mr. Seagull said.