#1
So my band are doing a jazz version of Stairway to Heaven which is in Aminor. I want to play jazzy solos so i was improv'ing with Aminor/aeolian and D dorian which sounded good. The chords are the same btw with some additional 9ths and other substitutions.

Firstly what else would suit this rendition of the song?

Would this still be classed as soloing in Aminor just using the notes in a different order or D dorian?

Would this use be considered modal or does the key have to change to other modes to be considered modal? Could i go and play chords based in dorian Bm Cm D E Fm Gdim A over my solo (to go to another place in the song and make it sound more jazzy?)
Last edited by Metallicker. at Aug 26, 2009,
#2
First, all you were doing was playing A minor. You can't play D dorian in A minor. I suspect you just used a different pattern for A minor scale.

Sorry, but I'm not quite sure what you mean by the last question.
#3
Its not modal, and theres several reasons why, that Im sure several members of this forum could explain better than myself. The thing to remember is that even though your using the notes of the mode, your usually just using them as accidentals and that just playing a mode does not make a progression modal
#4
Quote by tubatom868686
Its not modal, and theres several reasons why, that Im sure several members of this forum could explain better than myself. The thing to remember is that even though your using the notes of the mode, your usually just using them as accidentals and that just playing a mode does not make a progression modal



they definately werent in this case because i was using all the white keys on the piano
#5
You said it yourself. It's in Aminor. Therefore, it can't be modal.
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#6
Try A Dorian not D Dorian. If you play D Dorian you are just playing the same notes of A minor and resolving to D which will sound a bit odd. Jazz players will play A dorian over an Am7 chord. Just like playing A Lydian over an Amaj7 chord. If you play all of the notes that fit into a scale it takes away all of the "Color Tones" which is what jazz is all about. Some people on hear might just call that playing A minor with accidentals but if you ask a jazz player he will call it Dorian and not worry about the underlying harmony.
Originally posted by arrrgg
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#7
^ I don't think A dorian will sound right..... the progression includes an F chord.

Try it out and see how it sounds.

If you had a static chord, you could experiment more with different modes.

When you have a progression your a bit more locked in. In the case of the Stairway solo..... it's in Am. I would use... A minor, A minor pentatonic, A minor blues
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 27, 2009,
#8
Quote by GuitarMunky


When you have a progression your a bit more locked in. In the case of the Stairway solo..... it's in Am. I would use... A minor, A minor pentatonic, A minor blues



Agreed. Especially with a tune like Stairway...which is actually in Am
#9
Learn II V I type licks if you want it to sound jazzy.
Look up II V I type licks on the google machine or the youtube device.
#10
pshhh all this scale talk makes me tired. just pick one note and just push it over the entire progression (note that snarling and/or serious head shaking is a must)

Just look at the chords ( i think they are right, but forget this if they're wrong ):
Am - A C E (G)
Gmaj - G B D (F) [A/Ab/A#]
Fmaj - F A C (E) [G]

I can be more helpful if you actually post your lead sheet

Now you can either focus on the chord tones or go the route everyone else already said and just play Am. ( I highly suggest the one note method )
#11
when doing that kind of modal mixing you have to be careful. look at the notes within the chords and see where you can change things up a bit. you could try A dorian but i dont think it would fit well over the whole progression. usually with minor key songs i stick to the minor scale. i dont see why you cant sound jazzy with the minor scale btw.
#12
Quote by Metallicker.
they definately werent in this case because i was using all the white keys on the piano


That doesnt matter though. And that B natural probably sounds like **** over the F chord
#13
okay, stop everything....


the song Stairway to Heaven is in the key of A minor.

if the music stays in A minor, which it does for this song, there is no other key you can solo in that will sound good.

modes are not keys. modes are altered scales.

pretty much the only way to use modes in this case is to use them to make an educated guess as to what accidentals will sound cool in a given key.

you are in a minor key, so you need a minor mode... you could use A phrygian, A dorian, or A Aeolian. in theory, you can also use A Locrian, but it's so dissonant that it's kinda pointless.

the big misconception is that you would use D dorian, or B phrygian, or what-have-you... that is not the case. You can only play in one key at at a time. there is no exception for relative keys (ie, you can't play C major over A minor, even though they contain the same notes). there is no exception for pentatonic scales. keys are keys not just because of what notes they contain, but what order the notes are in, their relative distance from each other, and their function in relation to the root.

So what you can do is play in A minor, and experiment with throwing in a Phrygian-sounding b2 (Bb in this case), or a dorian-sounding major sixth (F# in this key). Use the modal note, but try not to focus on it, or make it the crux of your solo, as it will start to make the chords sound unstable when overused.
#14
Quote by frigginjerk
okay, stop everything....


the song Stairway to Heaven is in the key of A minor.

if the music stays in A minor, which it does for this song, there is no other key you can solo in that will sound good.

modes are not keys. modes are altered scales.

pretty much the only way to use modes in this case is to use them to make an educated guess as to what accidentals will sound cool in a given key.

you are in a minor key, so you need a minor mode... you could use A phrygian, A dorian, or A Aeolian. in theory, you can also use A Locrian, but it's so dissonant that it's kinda pointless.

the big misconception is that you would use D dorian, or B phrygian, or what-have-you... that is not the case. You can only play in one key at at a time. there is no exception for relative keys (ie, you can't play C major over A minor, even though they contain the same notes). there is no exception for pentatonic scales. keys are keys not just because of what notes they contain, but what order the notes are in, their relative distance from each other, and their function in relation to the root.

So what you can do is play in A minor, and experiment with throwing in a Phrygian-sounding b2 (Bb in this case), or a dorian-sounding major sixth (F# in this key). Use the modal note, but try not to focus on it, or make it the crux of your solo, as it will start to make the chords sound unstable when overused.


Wait a minute, did you just say that it could only be in A minor, but then go on to suggest trying different parallel modes? (which would be scales outside of the key)

It's not going to work for this. It's in A minor. A phrygian will sound out of place, just as A dorian will. By out of place I mean not consistent with common practice. If you like those sounds yourself, you can of-course play anything you want. I wouldn't suggest those though as any kind of common approach to soloing over a stock minor progression.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 27, 2009,
#15
Quote by GuitarMunky
Wait a minute, did you just say that it could only be in A minor, but then go on to suggest trying different parallel modes? (which would be scales outside of the key)

It's not going to work for this. It's in A minor. A phrygian will sound out of place, just as A dorian will. By out of place I mean not consistent with common practice. If you like those sounds yourself, you can of-course play anything you want. I wouldn't suggest those though as any kind of common approach to soloing over a stock minor progression.


Both Bb and F# shouldn't sound too awful against an Am chord; Bb will sound fine over the F chord; F# can work over the G chord. I wouldn't recommend Bb over the G or F# over the F.

Using the 'modal notes' from the parallel modes isn't going to be problematic if used right. You can use them in conjunction with the unaltered versions of those notes during your solo. There's no rules as to which pitches you can play, only to what names you can give those pitches in those contexts.
#16
Quote by isaac_bandits
Both Bb and F# shouldn't sound too awful against an Am chord; Bb will sound fine over the F chord; F# can work over the G chord. I wouldn't recommend Bb over the G or F# over the F.

Using the 'modal notes' from the parallel modes isn't going to be problematic if used right. You can use them in conjunction with the unaltered versions of those notes during your solo. There's no rules as to which pitches you can play, only to what names you can give those pitches in those contexts.



I understand the theory, but based on the context, I stand by my point. Like I said you can do it if you want. To me it doesn't sound good, or I should say it doesn't sound consistent with common practice.

Theoretically it's of-course possible. If you think it sounds good you should record it and post a link. It would be interesting to hear you demonstrate your assertion in an aural context.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 27, 2009,
#17
Quote by GuitarMunky
I understand the theory, but based on the context, I stand by my point. Like I said you can do it if you want. To me it doesn't sound good, or I should say it doesn't sound consistent with common practice.

Theoretically it's of-course possible. If you think it sounds good you should record it and post a link. It would be interesting to hear you demonstrate your assertion in an aural context.


well, it would sound, right-ish... the fact is, since the chords in Stairway are so blatantly and clearly just plain old A minor, the Aeolian scale is the ideal choice. The minor pentatonic can work too, since it's got no different notes (just fewer). Using a modal scale over a complex chord progression is almost never a good idea, because the actual modal note will only sound okay over one or two of the many chords that are in use for the backing track.

people always come in the forum asking how to use modes, as if they are the magical key to the kingdom of good guitar playing. the fact is, they are barely ever used in any real sense in western music. and even the idea of subbing in a modal note in a regular scale is almost never applicable, and the answer is almost always to just stick with the major or minor scale, and use a different technique or approach.

a notable exception is when a main melody or single-note line is based on a modal scale, and the underlying chords are forced to work with the mode. These songs are almost always two-chord vamps because of the restrictive nature of using modes over complex chords.

and earlier, you asked me if i'm contradicting myself by suggesting the use of parallel modes... no i'm not, lol... first of all, a mode, in the context we're looking at it, is not a key. it's just a major or minor scale with one or two altered notes. what i suggested is that if you're soloing in A minor, using the note A B C D E F G, you may want to try an occasional F# in place of the normal F, to add what is colloquially described as a Dorian sound, or a Bb for phrygian. simply put, when people ask the standard "what modes can i use here" question, i just tell them the ones that theoretically work best, and try to let them know that they shouldn't overuse modes just because they can.
Last edited by frigginjerk at Aug 28, 2009,
#18
^so you just said "why not include some accidentals"?
There is nothing modal about adding an accidental.
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#19
If you just change the rhythm to a snappy, syncopated shuffle-type played on an archtop acoustic (or get a sound that's close) and change your the way yo play thje solo accordingly, with more staccatio playing and slides or chromatic runs replacing bends then it'll automatically sound "jazzy" and you won't need to change a note.
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#20
Quote by doive
^so you just said "why not include some accidentals"?
There is nothing modal about adding an accidental.



If that is the case then the answer to every single question like this would be play the minor scale with some tastefully placed accidentals. Which actually we might as well start telling people.
Originally posted by arrrgg
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#21
if your really intent on using modes, a chord/scale approach would be best.
for example
dorian of minor 7 chords
major or lydian for major 7 chords
blues scale, altered scale, myxolydian mode or HW diminished for 7th chords.
however the best way to get a 'jazzy' sound is by using the right kind of phrasing and keeping the rhythm section swinging.
#22
Quote by doive
^so you just said "why not include some accidentals"?
There is nothing modal about adding an accidental.


you're not really getting it... using modal theory to derive accidentals is NOT modal play, nor am I trying to imply that is IS modal. But for lack of better terminology, most guitarists i've ever met just refer to a #4 as a lydian note, a b7 as mixolydian, and so on down the line.

you're supposed to use to concepts of modal scales to make educated guesses as to what accidentals will sound best in certain keys. That's the big stumbling block for everyone here... for all practical purposes, modal scales themselves are pretty useless in western music... everyone thinks that just because they can be derived from the major scale, they must be universally applicable, and they just aren't.


like i've said, here's what always happens:

1. some guitar player decides that his solo sounds boring.

2. upon consideration of why this is the case, the guitarist decides that he/she must not know enough theory, so they decide to ask UG.

3. the guitarist in question latches on to this one mysterious concept of "modes," thinking that more scales or exotic scales are always the answer. people always hear about modes as the doorway to advanced theory, or as some strange concept that "you're not quite ready for," so they assume that this is where they need to start. hence the billions of threads here asking the same question about modes.

4. after the question is posted, a few people give wrong advice (ie: play D dorian over A minor), or they give a snarky comment (ie: you're not ready for modes, so stop asking).

5. after a lengthy forum debate, us theory geeks end up telling them to use the concepts of modal theory to determine which accidentals shall work best in given keys. i usually bookend it by advising the player not to overuse the accidentals, since they will sound wrong if overused, and that if you're using the modal note over a complex progression (ie: more than 2 chords), it's gonna sound bad anyways

6. so we advise them to stick to the regular scale, maybe using an accidental once or twice if it can work. If they need to describe it, they can use modal terms, because it's just simpler to discuss. You can say "i'm using a #4 to give it a lydian sound" and everyone will understand that you are just playing a major scale and subbing a #4 once in a while for a certain exotic sound, but that it's not pure modal music.
#23
^ so what exactly are you proposing would be the logic choice (choices) in terms of scales to play over the Stairway progression?
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