#1
Ok I don't know much about modes, first off. I know they reflect the over all tonality of the progression when you solo in a mode over it. So I just wanted to see if someone could give me some chord progressions and some modes to use over those progressions just so i can get a feel of how they sound with each other.

so could someone A) list a modal progression or two and B) list a mode to solo over the progression in?

i just want to play around and see what I can come up with
#4
Quote by Sean0913
Em to F - E Phrygian

F to G - F Lydian

Dm7 to G7 to C major 7 - D Dorian

G to F/G - G Mixolydian

C to Bb to F Powerchords with a blues shuffle - C Mixolydian (ala Takin Care of Business - Bachmann Turner Overdrive)

Omit that chord.
#5
What other types of progressions or are all modes based off the same progressions for each?
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#7
One thing I don't understand is how you know which chords are acceptable.
Quote by Tyler Durden
It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

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#8
Quote by Ssargentslayer
Omit that chord.


D Dorian has a natural 6 as the characteristic note

D E F G A B C D

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

B is the note

Cmaj7 is C E G B

This is a classic ii V7 I in Jazz.

If at all concerned with the C taking over - just change Bar 4 to a Cmaj9 which brings Dm7 back to Bar one, and retains its Dorian tonality:

Dm7 G7 Cmaj7 Cmaj9

Quote by RockGuitar92
One thing I don't understand is how you know which chords are acceptable.

Its a study of theory - it depends upon you. Theory opens the understanding that you lack in this. In my school where I teach students every day, the goal is to get them to self sufficiency as a guitarist, so that instead of being in the dark when it comes to things like this, you can actually play and see music with understanding. And then play guitar for the rest of your life, and not feel as overwhelmed or lost.
Last edited by Sean0913 at Dec 14, 2009,
#9
Quote by RockGuitar92
One thing I don't understand is how you know which chords are acceptable.

Usually the ones with extensions that include flavor notes of the mode being played. Read the column I posted above.
Last edited by tenfold at Dec 14, 2009,
#10
Quote by Sean0913
D Dorian has a natural 6 as the characteristic note

D E F G A B C D

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

B is the note

Cmaj7 is C E G B

This is a classic ii V7 I in Jazz.

If at all concerned with the C taking over - just change Bar 4 to a Cmaj9 which brings Dm7 back to Bar one, and retains its Dorian tonality:

Dm7 G7 Cmaj7 Cmaj9


Its a classic ii - V - I in C major though. Even if its a ii7 - V7 - IΔ7 - IΔ9, the C is still the tonic. Try playing that progression. You'll hear the seventh and the ninth in CΔ9 both wanting to resolve to that C note, to make just a straight up C triad. It definitely won't give it the dorian sound. You just need to hear it to know that.
#11
Quote by isaac_bandits
Its a classic ii - V - I in C major though. Even if its a ii7 - V7 - IΔ7 - IΔ9, the C is still the tonic. Try playing that progression. You'll hear the seventh and the ninth in CΔ9 both wanting to resolve to that C note, to make just a straight up C triad. It definitely won't give it the dorian sound. You just need to hear it to know that.

I find that playing i - bVII alone gives a dorian sound. Obviously, it's easy to fall into ionian, but with proper context it's really easy to get a dorian sound out of that progression. i - IV also works, but combining the IV and the bVII gives too much pull back to ionian (like Isaac said, because it's a ii V I in ionian).
#12
Quote by RockGuitar92
One thing I don't understand is how you know which chords are acceptable.
You want your chord(s) to all reinforce the tonic, and to bring out the 'flavour' notes of the mode - so for example if you are after a mixolydian (R 2 3 4 5 6 b7) chord progression you want the chords to emphasise the tonic, the fact its major (so the 3rd) and the flavour note of the mode - the b7. So you might just end up with a Dom7 vamp built on your tonic, or you might go with 2 or 3 chords - you probably wouldn't want more than that (at least to start with) as the more chords you use the more tendency the progression will have to resolve to the relative major or minor rather than staying modal.
#13
Quote by Sean0913
Em to F - E Phrygian

F to G - F Lydian

Dm7 to G7 to C major 7 - D Dorian

G to F/G - G Mixolydian

C to Bb to F Powerchords with a blues shuffle - C Mixolydian (ala Takin Care of Business - Bachmann Turner Overdrive)
Technically right and all those progressions do sound tasteful, but not many of those progressions resolve strongly.

The thing about the modal progression thing is that they don't use dominate chords (major chords 7 semitones up or 5 semitones down from the tonic chord) and therefore the resolution (how 'finished' it sounds) is weak.
So sometimes it's necessary to add a dominate chord just before you use your very last chord.

So here is an example:

D dorian: Dm7 - G7 - A7

E phrygian: Em, Fmaj, Gmaj, B7

F lydian: F - G - C7 or F - Em - G - C7

G mixolydian: G - Dm - F - D7 (I don't like the sound of this one...)

A aeolian: Am, G, F, E7

Play each progression with and without the last chord to hear the difference in resolution. The last chord in each progression is a dominate chord.

You don't HAVE to resolve at the end of every bar, but it is helpful if you want to finish a verse or finish a song and make it sound finished. It also puts more emphasis on whatever other notes occur on the first beat of the chord after the dominate chord.
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#14
Quote by st.stephen
I find that playing i - bVII alone gives a dorian sound. Obviously, it's easy to fall into ionian, but with proper context it's really easy to get a dorian sound out of that progression. i - IV also works, but combining the IV and the bVII gives too much pull back to ionian (like Isaac said, because it's a ii V I in ionian).


When I play a i - ♭VII, it just has a minor sound. Neither the ♭6 or ♮6 is played, so why would you assume it to be a ♮6, when that's less stable?
#15
Quote by isaac_bandits
Its a classic ii - V - I in C major though. Even if its a ii7 - V7 - IΔ7 - IΔ9, the C is still the tonic. Try playing that progression. You'll hear the seventh and the ninth in CΔ9 both wanting to resolve to that C note, to make just a straight up C triad. It definitely won't give it the Dorian sound. You just need to hear it to know that.


Of course its a ii V7 I in C its the basis of Jazz.

Agree or disagree with the following?

1. A Dorian progression begins on the tonic of that mode- D Dorian

2. A modal progression should use chords that are diatonic for that mode

3. The characteristic modal note must be present in at least ONE of the chords from the progression to be modal.

If you agree with the following, then how can it be in C Major if it STARTED on Dm7? Enlighten me. I know in a Key Signature it would show C, But what have I missed that with absolute fact makes this progression Major and NOT Dorian? Because if there is, then Ive just learned something, because I found that for a progression to be modal it needed to have the above 3 conditions? So, is that right or is that wrong?

Now, if my progression were La Bamba, and STARTED on C and went F and G and I were making a claim that playing D Dorian over that was playing Dorian, Id be wrong, because while Id be playing the notes of D Dorian, because of the chords, they are serving in the function of C major.

Enlighten me where I missed it, I'm self taught. And one area I claim no proficiency in compared to you guys is in Jazz.
#16
Quote by demonofthenight
Technically right and all those progressions do sound tasteful, but not many of those progressions resolve strongly.

The thing about the modal progression thing is that they don't use dominate chords (major chords 7 semitones up or 5 semitones down from the tonic chord) and therefore the resolution (how 'finished' it sounds) is weak.
So sometimes it's necessary to add a dominate chord just before you use your very last chord.

So here is an example:

D dorian: Dm7 - G7 - A7

E phrygian: Em, Fmaj, Gmaj, B7

F lydian: F - G - C7 or F - Em - G - C7

G mixolydian: G - Dm - F - D7 (I don't like the sound of this one...)

A aeolian: Am, G, F, E7

Play each progression with and without the last chord to hear the difference in resolution. The last chord in each progression is a dominate chord.

You don't HAVE to resolve at the end of every bar, but it is helpful if you want to finish a verse or finish a song and make it sound finished. It also puts more emphasis on whatever other notes occur on the first beat of the chord after the dominate chord.


Im not following this for the following reason:

These chords are not diatonic to the chords built off the key.

D F A C - Dm7 Got it

G B D F - G7 Got it

A C# E G - A7 Don't got it C# isnt in D Dorian

Not arguing your advice but I am not understanding unless the answer is simply using an altered chord as a resolution to play a V7 to i?

If so, that's cool, cause then presumably I could use a tritone sub as well, so I can play a D# dominant?
Last edited by Sean0913 at Dec 14, 2009,
#17
Quote by Sean0913
Of course its a ii V7 I in C its the basis of Jazz.

Agree or disagree with the following?

1. A Dorian progression begins on the tonic of that mode- D Dorian

2. A modal progression should use chords that are diatonic for that mode

3. The characteristic modal note must be present in at least ONE of the chords from the progression to be modal.

If you agree with the following, then how can it be in C Major if it STARTED on Dm7? Enlighten me. I know in a Key Signature it would show C, But what have I missed that with absolute fact makes this progression Major and NOT Dorian? Because if there is, then Ive just learned something, because I found that for a progression to be modal it needed to have the above 3 conditions? So, is that right or is that wrong?

Now, if my progression were La Bamba, and STARTED on C and went F and G and I were making a claim that playing D Dorian over that was playing Dorian, Id be wrong, because while Id be playing the notes of D Dorian, because of the chords, they are serving in the function of C major.

Enlighten me where I missed it, I'm self taught. And one area I claim no proficiency in compared to you guys is in Jazz.


1. No. The starting chord does not matter. It matters where the chords resolve to, even if the resolution isn't completed.

2. Yes.

3. Yes.

There are two things that matter to determine the modality of a song. Firstly, where does the song resolve. It doesn't matter if the song actually does resolve there (Play C - F - G - C - F - G7, and you'll hear that it clearly resolves to C, even though it ends on a G). Secondly what matters, is what notes are intervals above that tonic are there. That second part is the easy part for most people. They know the key signature, then they know all the relative modes that share that key signature.

Modality does not depend on starting or ending chords (although they can help). The starting and ending chords are not necessarily the tonic. The V chord is about as common as the I chord for a song to start on, as an anacrusis usually leads in to the main beat, which is usually a I, and as thus the anacrusis often has a dominant function to resolve to that I on beat one of the first full bar. There are also quite alot of songs that end with a half cadence, or are left unresolved, and thus don't end on the I either.

In the example you posted, the G7 has a dominant function and pulls to a C. When you play that C, the resolution is complete, and the C steals the tonic function (I'm not sure if there is a proper term, maybe 'tonicizes itself'). Typically modal progressions have to completely avoid the tonic chord of the relative major as that chord is so much more stable, and as soon as it is played it becomes the tonic.

When in doubt, play the progression, and then play whatever makes it sound resolved. That chord will be the tonic. Just trust your ears. After all, for it to be modal it has to sound modal, and that means having a tonic other than the tonic of the relative major or minor.

Also, read the modes sticky. Its very informative.

Quote by Sean0913
Im not following this for the following reason:

These chords are not diatonic to the chords built off the key.

D F A C - Dm7 Got it

G B D F - G7 Got it

A C# E G - A7 Don't got it C# isnt in D Dorian

Not arguing your advice but I am not understanding unless the answer is simply using an altered chord as a resolution to play a V7 to i?

If so, that's cool, cause then presumably I could use a tritone sub as well, so I can play a D# dominant?


Please don't double post. Its against the rules. There's an edit button for a reason.

Yeah, that's it, so you could use the E♭7 as well.

Although use these borrowed dominants sparingly, lest they overpower the modality making it sound like the parallel major or minor.

Another thing to think about is, when playing locrian, you can't really resolve to a diminished triad (as it will want to resolve up to the ♭II), so you might want to play a minor i instead (or just omit the 5 in the i), but make sure to keep that 𘁉5 in there somewhere, lest it sounds phrygian.
Last edited by isaac_bandits at Dec 14, 2009,
#18
Quote by isaac_bandits
1. No. The starting chord does not matter. It matters where the chords resolve to, even if the resolution isn't completed.

2. Yes.

3. Yes.

There are two things that matter to determine the modality of a song. Firstly, where does the song resolve. It doesn't matter if the song actually does resolve there (Play C - F - G - C - F - G7, and you'll hear that it clearly resolves to C, even though it ends on a G). Secondly what matters, is what notes are intervals above that tonic are there. That second part is the easy part for most people. They know the key signature, then they know all the relative modes that share that key signature.

Modality does not depend on starting or ending chords (although they can help). The starting and ending chords are not necessarily the tonic. The V chord is about as common as the I chord for a song to start on, as an anacrusis usually leads in to the main beat, which is usually a I, and as thus the anacrusis often has a dominant function to resolve to that I on beat one of the first full bar. There are also quite alot of songs that end with a half cadence, or are left unresolved, and thus don't end on the I either.

In the example you posted, the G7 has a dominant function and pulls to a C. When you play that C, the resolution is complete, and the C steals the tonic function (I'm not sure if there is a proper term, maybe 'tonicizes itself'). Typically modal progressions have to completely avoid the tonic chord of the relative major as that chord is so much more stable, and as soon as it is played it becomes the tonic.

When in doubt, play the progression, and then play whatever makes it sound resolved. That chord will be the tonic. Just trust your ears. After all, for it to be modal it has to sound modal, and that means having a tonic other than the tonic of the relative major or minor.

Also, read the modes sticky. Its very informative.


Please don't double post. Its against the rules. There's an edit button for a reason.

Yeah, that's it, so you could use the E♭7 as well.

Although use these borrowed dominants sparingly, lest they overpower the modality making it sound like the parallel major or minor.

Another thing to think about is, when playing locrian, you can't really resolve to a diminished triad (as it will want to resolve up to the ♭II), so you might want to play a minor i instead (or just omit the 5 in the i), but make sure to keep that 𘁉5 in there somewhere, lest it sounds phrygian.


Can you source me where I can find where the starting chord doesn't matter? because a Berklee guy whose lectures I studied said it did. Ive been going for years under this information. I figured a Berklee guy knew his stuff. My bad.
#19
Quote by Sean0913
Can you source me where I can find where the starting chord doesn't matter? because a Berklee guy whose lectures I studied said it did. Ive been going for years under this information. I figured a Berklee guy knew his stuff. My bad.


Can I have a source for this guys lectures? I would be very surprised if there was anyone who teaches any music, who believes that a key is determined by the chord that is played first.

I don't have a text citation, as a key by definition is where the chords resolve to, and common sense tells you that there are songs that start on a different chord than that which they would resolve to. Here are some songs that don't start on the tonic:

Hard Day's Night (Starts on V)
Hero of War (Starts on IV)
Run To The Hills (Starts on V)
#20
Quote by Sean0913
Can you source me where I can find where the starting chord doesn't matter? because a Berklee guy whose lectures I studied said it did. Ive been going for years under this information. I figured a Berklee guy knew his stuff. My bad.

Tons of songs don't start on the tonic chord. A ii V I is not Dorian because it resolves back to the I instead of the ii. A ii V progression (like in Oye Como Va) is the classic Dorian progression.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#21
Quote by isaac_bandits
Can I have a source for this guys lectures? I would be very surprised if there was anyone who teaches any music, who believes that a key is determined by the chord that is played first.

I don't have a text citation, as a key by definition is where the chords resolve to, and common sense tells you that there are songs that start on a different chord than that which they would resolve to. Here are some songs that don't start on the tonic:

Hard Day's Night (Starts on V)
Hero of War (Starts on IV)
Run To The Hills (Starts on V)


The problem I'm having is with the Dominant - why does the chords sound Jazzy when you start on Dm, but If I went Cmaj 7 to Dm to G7, starting on the C maj - or Even Cmaj Dm7 Em7 F maj to G7 I cant hit that Jazzy feeling that the ii V7 I gives?

When it starts on a C major I dont get the same "feel" so thats why I asked for a source - because it's possible that without a citable reference, there are two schools of thought and teaching.

I understand the V7 I resolution, I just learned that it had to start on the tonic of that mode, to "establish its tonality", but it didnt have to have the charactoristic note in the tonic.

The guy's name is Don Lappin, I believe, and I have to see if I can find the notes I once took on this, before I cite you. I think they are at my guitar shop. He's on faculty at Berklee.

And the definition of those chords as shown, starting out on a chord other than the I, as long as one of the chords in the progression has the characteristic note, would be, as I understand the three rules for modal progressions:

V - Mixo
IV - Lyd
V - Mixo for the songs you referenced.

That's why I want to find a citation for this - because Ive seen it taught differently and there has to be something out there that is authoritatively able to establish which is which.

And by the way, I'm not in any way challenging you, or saying that you are incorrect, Im just a bit taken aback by this new bit of information, and looking for that resource which lays out the rules of a modal.

I don't view the definition of a key at first glance, the way you define it - I know it as chords built off a series of whole and half steps of a major scale. I see where'd youd get that from, but again, the way I see it is different.
Last edited by Sean0913 at Dec 15, 2009,
#22
Quote by Sean0913
The problem I'm having is with the Dominant - why does the chords sound Jazzy when you start on Dm, but If I went Cmaj 7 to Dm to G7, starting on the C maj - or Even Cmaj Dm7 Em7 F maj to G7 I cant hit that Jazzy feeling that the ii V7 I gives?


Maybe what you consider to be 'that jazzy feeling' is the ii V7 I progression. Its tough to pinpoint what it is, since so much determines genre, more than just the notes. There are thousands or songs from plenty of genres that use a ii V7 I progression, and its fairly easy to make it sound not jazzy.

Quote by Sean0913
When it starts on a C major I dont get the same "feel" so thats why I asked for a source - because it's possible that without a citable reference, there are two schools of thought and teaching.


As of yet neither of us has cited a citable reference. Maybe tomorrow I'll pull out a theory book or two which says the key is determined by where the notes resolve to. I won't be able to get a source that explicitly states that the key is not determined by the first chord, but if the former is true, the latter must be false, as there are songs where the notes resolve to a different chord other than the starting chord.

I highly doubt that there are two schools of thought. The most likely thing is either what you understood was taken out of context, or you misunderstood him. I'm sure other people on here can back me up that key is not determined by the starting chord.

Quote by Sean0913
I understand the V7 I resolution, I just learned that it had to start on the tonic of that mode, to "establish its tonality", but it didnt have to have the charactoristic note in the tonic.


The tonality is established by the chords, but again, the first chord isn't important. Its the combination of chords and where they resolve. Really, do you actually think the a B° - C - B° - C - B° - C has B° as its tonic? Even when vamped the diminished chord doesn't really tonicize.


Quote by Sean0913
And the definition of those chords as shown, starting out on a chord other than the I, as long as one of the chords in the progression has the characteristic note, would be, as I understand the three rules for modal progressions:

V - Mixo
IV - Lyd
V - Mixo for the songs you referenced.


But none of those songs were modal... They were in clearly defined major and minor keys....

Quote by Sean0913
That's why I want to find a citation for this - because Ive seen it taught differently and there has to be something out there that is authoritatively able to establish which is which.


And that's why I want citation too. I've seen it everywhere that the key is based on where the notes resolve, not where they start. I've heard that everyday in literally hundreds, if not thousands of songs. I'm pretty sure that the definition of a key was established hundreds of years ago.


Quote by Sean0913
I don't view the definition of a key at first glance, the way you define it - I know it as chords built off a series of whole and half steps of a major scale. I see where'd youd get that from, but again, the way I see it is different.


But then how do you explain a minor key? Or anything modal? If its all based off of a major scale, then you won't have any of the modal notes, or anything minor.
#23
As a principle in mus. comp., implies adherence, in any passage, to the note‐material of one of the major or minor scales (see SCALE )—not necessarily a rigid adherence (since other notes may incidentally appear), but a general adherence, with a recognition of the TONIC (or ‘KEY‐NOTE’ ) of the scale in question as a principal and governing factor in its effect.


The key of a piece is determined by the tonic. How anyone that claims to know any theory at all would think the key is determined by the first chord is beyond me. The above argument is ridiculous.

If my progression went: Bm7b5 - G7 - C - Em - Am - Dm7 - G7 - C, does that mean I'm in locrian? I started on the vii*. What Sean0913 implied above is that it would, indeed, be in locrian. Which is simply ridiculous.
Last edited by timeconsumer09 at Dec 15, 2009,
#24
Quote by isaac_bandits
Maybe what you consider to be 'that jazzy feeling' is the ii V7 I progression. Its tough to pinpoint what it is, since so much determines genre, more than just the notes. There are thousands or songs from plenty of genres that use a ii V7 I progression, and its fairly easy to make it sound not jazzy.

As of yet neither of us has cited a citable reference. Maybe tomorrow I'll pull out a theory book or two which says the key is determined by where the notes resolve to. I won't be able to get a source that explicitly states that the key is not determined by the first chord, but if the former is true, the latter must be false, as there are songs where the notes resolve to a different chord other than the starting chord.

I highly doubt that there are two schools of thought. The most likely thing is either what you understood was taken out of context, or you misunderstood him. I'm sure other people on here can back me up that key is not determined by the starting chord.


The tonality is established by the chords, but again, the first chord isn't important. Its the combination of chords and where they resolve. Really, do you actually think the a B° - C - B° - C - B° - C has B° as its tonic? Even when vamped the diminished chord doesn't really tonicize.


But none of those songs were modal... They were in clearly defined major and minor keys....

And that's why I want citation too. I've seen it everywhere that the key is based on where the notes resolve, not where they start. I've heard that everyday in literally hundreds, if not thousands of songs. I'm pretty sure that the definition of a key was established hundreds of years ago.

But then how do you explain a minor key? Or anything modal? If its all based off of a major scale, then you won't have any of the modal notes, or anything minor.



Minor key as I understand it, like a major key, is one we've heard so many times that our ears are conditioned to it.

In Minor there are 3 tonal characteristics from a Major key, the bIII bVI and bVII. This may be why its more "forgiving", because you have 3 characteristic notes that are present.

Locrian as I understand it, is great in Jazz over a m7b5 and a Super Loc is used where there's an alt 9 and 5 in any combination I believe.

There are 2 characteristic notes to Locrian, but the chord m7b5 doesn't sound all that great to start a song with, musically.

I said the guys name's Don Lappin, and he is an instructor at Berklee, but tomorrow I'll pull a citable reference. I'll look it up tomorrow, its at my shop.

Quote by timeconsumer09

The key of a piece is determined by the tonic. How anyone that claims to know any theory at all would think the key is determined by the first chord is beyond me. The above argument is ridiculous.


If I had made that argument that would be ridiculous. But I made the argument that its Modal, not the "key". If you wanna know if I know theory, look up my answers and red mark those that aren't correct. Everyone makes mistakes. I don't pull my knowledge out of thin air. I'm not trained in theory, as far as formal lessons. I had no high school band music experience. No music classes, just what I have here. Sum total of 25 years of putting the pieces together on my own

Quote by itimeconsumer09

If my progression went: Bm7b5 - G7 - C - Em - Am - Dm7 - G7 - C, does that mean I'm in locrian? I started on the vii*. What Sean0913 implied above is that it would, indeed, be in locrian. Which is simply ridiculous.


If you have theory background and question my own, then you know Locrian is a part of the minor classification of modes and that it has also a b5 and a b2. Now, if you know theory, you know Locrian shares a b2 in common with Phrygian. So, there's not just one characteristic note, there are 2. Second Locrian sounds fine over a m7b5, but in general its not very pleasant to compose a whole song in Locrian, so I wouldn't claim any song or key is in Locrian. I tend to view it as an entirely different musical function, than the other modes, as do most people Ive run across.

I have not done anything more than ask for a citation of the above claim that my 3 rules are incorrect. That's what I'm waiting for.

Your dictionary reference defined Key in a way that I don't argue, but then I never claimed key, I claimed Modality and the rules that govern it, in usage.
Last edited by Sean0913 at Dec 15, 2009,
#25
Quote by Sean0913
If I had made that argument that would be ridiculous. But I made the argument that its Modal, not the "key". If you wanna know if I know theory, look up my answers and red mark those that aren't correct. Everyone makes mistakes. I don't pull my knowledge out of thin air. I'm not trained in theory, as far as formal lessons. I had no high school band music experience. No music classes, just what I have here. Sum total of 25 years of putting the pieces together on my own


If you have theory background and question my own, then you know Locrian is a part of the minor classification of modes and that it has also a b5 and a b2. Now, if you know theory, you know Locrian shares a b2 in common with Phrygian. So, there's not just one characteristic note, there are 2. Second Locrian sounds fine over a m7b5, but in general its not very pleasant to compose a whole song in Locrian, so I wouldn't claim any song or key is in Locrian. I tend to view it as an entirely different musical function, than the other modes, as do most people Ive run across.

I have not done anything more than ask for a citation of the above claim that my 3 rules are incorrect. That's what I'm waiting for.

Your dictionary reference defined Key in a way that I don't argue, but then I never claimed key, I claimed Modality and the rules that govern it, in usage.


If you don't have any formal theory training, that's cool it's good you actually have tried to learn over the years. But let's set the record straight: Tonality (or modality) is defined by harmony. If your harmony is a droning C major chord, you're playing in C major. If your harmony is a G - C vamp, you're playing in C major. It starts on G, sure, but it resolves to C, making it in c. If you're playing over a droning Cmaj7#11 chord, there's some modality there. The #11 obviously implies lydian. There's no way around it. I feel like I don't even need to cite myself, these are such fundamental concepts. I'll find a citation tomorrow, I don't have any of my books handy.

About locrian (the bolded)... Locrian's 'flavor' note is a b5. The b2 is irrelevant, and assumed to be there if the b5 is there in the first place (assuming we're just talking about diatonic passages). All the minor modes have a b7, but it doesn't necessarily need to be present to imply modality. A droning Dm(add b9) chord will imply phrygian despite the lack of a 7th in the chord. Why? it has the b2, b3, and natural 5. The b7 is assumed to be included subconsciously. Same with locrian. You could define locrian with a simple diminished triad. 1 b3 b5. The b5 implies having a b7, b6, and b2.

And i agree with you about locrian being something on its own. It's extremely difficult (even with a droning diminished triad) to keep that as the tonal center, because with the way we have been trained to hear music, we still want to hear that resolution.
Last edited by timeconsumer09 at Dec 15, 2009,
#26
Sean - might be worth reading the tonality and modality chapter of Piston's Harmony. It explains tonality as the organised relationship of tones in music, where there is a central tone with all other tones supporting or tending towards it, and modality as the choice of the tones between which this realtionship exists - then it goes on to explain that properly.

I think you must have misunderstood what Don Lappin meant (at least I hope you did cos if he's teaching for Berklee he should know what he's talking about :S ) - possibly because a lot of people resort to talking about scales and modes 'starting' on a certain note or chord becaue that seems like an easy way to explain it, when in fact its only a simple way to explain it when you already undestand the concept. If you are learning its confusing as you can take it literally.

The key is determined by the scale used. The tonic is determined by what note/chord the music resolves to.

@Timeconsumer - you know loads of people come here under the misapprehension that they can always work out the key of a song by just looking at the first or last chord. If the guy is mainly self taught and understood someone knowledgeable to have told him this, why would he think any differently? I don't see how telling him he's ridiculous is going to help - if anything its just going to make him feel he needs to defend himself .