#1
i have an Am-C-F-G progression...I get it, the key is C major...

I see why one can solo in A aeolian, the root of the mode and progression is indeed A... this makes sense..

What if I were to play D dorian over the whole progression??? I've heard to not do this because it won't sound good... but all the notes are the same aren't they? Diffferent tonic fine... but aren't the notes in C Ionian C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C and in D Dorian D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D???

My question is really... does it really matter what mode one uses... as long as it is all from the basic scale??? And then if it does matter, is it necessary to match mode with chord? Let's say this progression is played in consecutive measures but pretty fast let's say 120bpm, how often would one switch mode per chord in this situation if that is indeed the case???
Guitars:
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2008 Dean Ml '79

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#2
If you're basing all of your scales off the same key signature (i.e. C Ionian, D Dorian, E Phrygian, etc.), all of the modes contain the same notes so it doesn't matter at all. What matters is your note selection. So if you've memorized D Dorian runs, they might sound 'out,' but a run like C D F E A B C can occur in both C Ionian and D Dorian.
#3
OK...first off if you're playing playing Am-C-F-G then you're more likely in A minor than C major. A minor is the relative minor of C major, so yes A aeolian works, but you would never call it that, you would say you were using the A natural minor scale.

C major, or ionian, is exactly the same as D dorian, E phrygian, F lydian, G mixolydian, A minor/aeolian, and B locrian. However, the harmony (backing chords) dictate what mode you are playing in. With that progression, you could play the scale patterns for any of the above modes but you would still only be playing A minor.

Generally, if you're playing in a mode, the backing will be dronal rather than a chord progression, which means you'll only really be playing over one chord. This gives the full effect of the mode.

If you're chord progression was based in Dm, but you played the C major scale over it, you would be playing D Dorian. Dorian and Mixolydian are common in blues music.

Also, different scales and modes have certain chords that they work well over, such as locrian which will only work over a minor 7 flat 5 (half diminshed) chord because of it's odd sequence of notes.

Hope this helps clear this matter up a little bit for you.
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#4
You can take your notes from C Maj, or any mode you want provided you resolve correctly. If you are using a scale or thinking from a classical music standpoint, you would want to stick with C major. You can also change mode (again, if your going to be resolving to the tonic) on each chord C Major for a C Major chord etc. However, when improvising you want to think of a scale less as a preset order of notes and more of a pool of available notes.
#5
I find that it helps to think that C major and D dorian containing the same notes is coincidental. If you really want to FEEL how the modes work, try going from C major to C dorian to C phrygian. You will simply change your intervals instead of your root.
Oh yeah.

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EDIT: D minor is the saddest of all keys.
#6
Quote by hockeyplayer168
I find that it helps to think that C major and D dorian containing the same notes is coincidental. If you really want to FEEL how the modes work, try going from C major to C dorian to C phrygian. You will simply change your intervals instead of your root.

Listen to this man.

The difference between D Dorian and C major/A minor, is where it resolves. Actually... C major and A minor are perfect examples to illustrate this. They share the same notes correct? But if you're playing in A minor, it sounds completely different than if you were playing in C major. One is minor and resolves to A, and the other is major and resolves to C. They share the same notes but I doubt anyone will tell you there is no difference between the two. Think of modes this way. They share the same notes but they are completely different entities. D Dorian shares the same notes with C major but it resolves to D. F Lydian shares the same notes but it resolves to F.

If the tonic is not that of the mode, you aren't using it, simply the parent scale but in a different position. That's why you can't use D Dorian over that progression.

Take a look at these examples of modal playing. I especially like them because they give you the chords in the backing track.
This is in C Phrygian which has the same notes as F minor/Ab major. The backing track is Cm, Db, Bbm.
http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/phrygian-soloing-advanced/
It shares notes but is a type of C scale, if you will.

And this is A Dorian. Shares the notes with G major/E minor but it resolves to A which makes it dorian. (Also because of the interval pattern rooted on A)
Am, D, Am, G, Em.
http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Dorian-Phrasing-Advanced/

Each of the modes has a unique sound to it. I'd suggest researching them a bit more thoroughly, and finding progressions/backing tracks that you can play with in order to hear the differences between each.

Here's another way I do it to get the basic sound of them. Play the chord and then do a short one or two bar run in the modal scale.
For example:
C major - short improv in C Lydian
C7 - Short run in C Mixolydian
C minor - short lick in C Phrygian
et cetera. The important part is to always play chords of the same note (a bunch of C chords for example) and alter your C major scale in order to get the notes of the mode. This way your ear stays centered on the root and it's easiest to hear the characteristics.

It might be better to start with a backing track, but it's up to you.
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Last edited by FacetOfChaos at Jul 21, 2010,
#7
so basically what is being said.. is that each mode has it's own personality...

this makes sense to me just by looking at formulas for modes... for example ionian (major) is made by W W H W W W H... for another mode, it is not like this... so i can see how each mode sounds different although it has the same notes assuming it's all one scale of course.

As far as playing over chords, it makes sense to me that locrian would be played over a 7b5 because if i remember, in respect to the locrians root, there is a b5 in the mode. The other modes do not have a b5 to their respective roots... like d dorian does not have an Ab... right? or am i getting the wrong idea?
Guitars:
1991 Fender American Stratocaster
2008 Dean Ml '79

Amps:
Egnater Tweaker
Fender G-DEC 15

Pedals:
MXR Carbon Copy Delay
Dunlop 535Q Chrome Series Wah
MXR Dyna Comp
Ibanez TS-808
#8
If you play C D E F G A B over a C major progression it's not going to be D dorian, even if you think you're playing D dorian. Sure you could do it, but once you start to know scales better it will feel weird to think of playing D dorian over a C major progression.

The reason it will feel weird is because of how notes function. For example, you won't be able to resolve on D if the song is in C. Ending a phrase on D might sound good, but it'll definitely sound different than if you were in D dorian.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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#9
Quote by Deanwings79
so basically what is being said.. is that each mode has it's own personality...

this makes sense to me just by looking at formulas for modes... for example ionian (major) is made by W W H W W W H... for another mode, it is not like this... so i can see how each mode sounds different although it has the same notes assuming it's all one scale of course.

As far as playing over chords, it makes sense to me that locrian would be played over a 7b5 because if i remember, in respect to the locrians root, there is a b5 in the mode. The other modes do not have a b5 to their respective roots... like d dorian does not have an Ab... right? or am i getting the wrong idea?

Yes, you're understanding things I think. It's important to note that if you try to use too many diatonic chords in a modal setting, you can tend to get pushed back naturally into the relative major key. This is why modal harmony is usually reduced to vamping one or two characteristic chords.
Oh yeah.

Quote by hildesaw
A minor is the saddest of all keys.

EDIT: D minor is the saddest of all keys.