#1
I'm pretty confused about this. Say I want to play over a chord progression such as "C, Am", what scales should I use to solo over it? I'm guessing it would make sense to use C Major/Ionian, A natural minor, and C Major Pentatonic over it? And if I want to incorporate modes into this, am I supposed to use something like C Lydian or C Phrygian over it, or F Lydian and E Phrygian?
#2
You can only use modes over a chord progression if the chord progression implies that mode. If you've got a chord progression that is in C Major you'd use C Major or C Major Pent over it. If the chord progression is in Am (ie it uses the diatonic chords of Am and it resolves to Am) then you'd use Am or Am pent over it.

I suggest you really get to grips with the major scale so you understand it inside out, including how to harmonise it, and learn how the minor scale is related to it, before you worry about modes at all - they'll make a lot more sense to you then.
#3
Quote by ironazn
I'm pretty confused about this. Say I want to play over a chord progression such as "C, Am", what scales should I use to solo over it? I'm guessing it would make sense to use C Major/Ionian, A natural minor, and C Major Pentatonic over it? And if I want to incorporate modes into this, am I supposed to use something like C Lydian or C Phrygian over it, or F Lydian and E Phrygian?


You cannot 'incorporate' modes in a non-modal progression. The C major scale would fit over that. Or C major pentatonic.
#4
That progression is in Am. That means that it is based on the notes in the A minor scale. That progression happens to only use notes from the A minor scale, so the best choice for a scale to improvise over it with is simply A minor. You can also use A minor pentatonic, which is just A minor with a few notes removed.

As zhilla said, modes don't apply this progression because the progression is in A minor. If the progression was in E Phrygian or F Lydian then you'd use E Phrygian or F Lydian respectively.

Edit: timeconsumer: don't you mean A minor or A minor pent?
Last edited by Eastwinn at Aug 20, 2009,
#5
Alright, thanks! I get it better now, but how do I know what the chord progression is in? Say its C Am again, what made you say that it's in Am?
#6
Depends on which chord it resolves to. If it feels like it should end on Am, its in Am. If it feels like it should end on C, its in C.
#8
And if I want to incorporate modes into this, am I supposed to use something like C Lydian or C Phrygian over it
Try borrowing notes from the other major modes (lydian and mixolydian) of C if you're playing over a progression in C. Not "real" modal playing, that's a bitch since the progression usually pulls back to a major or minor business if you do anything funky in the progression, but a nice way to get accidentals into the mix.

(If you've got a minor progression, the dorian and phygrian (and aeolian, that's the same notes as natural minor) modes' notes will work ok over it. Also, pretty much any note used right (like, a minor 3rd (functioning as a #2) as a short passing tone over a major chord before jumping back into key, preferably on a chord tone, or an augmented 4th passing to a 5th/3rd) can work, with a little knowledge of how/when to do it. Use your ears, aye?
#9
Quote by Eastwinn
Edit: timeconsumer: don't you mean A minor or A minor pent?


Well with just a vamp like that, it seemed more like C major to me. Unless I'm missing something, that progression is incredibly vague and not really functional at all. It's nearly the same thing as just playing the C over and over or the Am over and over. Isn't it? It really sounds that way in my opinion.
#10
Quote by timeconsumer09
Well with just a vamp like that, it seemed more like C major to me. Unless I'm missing something, that progression is incredibly vague and not really functional at all. It's nearly the same thing as just playing the C over and over or the Am over and over. Isn't it? It really sounds that way in my opinion.


I always though it sounded like Am. It is really vague, you're right. I guess it could go either way.
#11
Quote by Eastwinn
I always though it sounded like Am. It is really vague, you're right. I guess it could go either way.


True. I mean, since the vi chord is basically a sub for the I chord, it's basically a I - I vamp.