Okay, before you say, "NO PHISH DOESN'T USE MODES," hear me out.

A friend of mine is a fellow musician and a big Phish fan. He swears that Trey uses modes a lot in his improvisations.

I have heard quite a bit of Trey's stuff, and while I haven't learned it and examined it yet, I am inclined to say that no, Trey uses the pentatonic scale, the major scale, the melodic minor, and various four and five tone arpeggios to create his sounds.

Would anybody that plays a lot of Phish care to elaborate on this for me?

Also, while you're here, during "Dinner and a Movie", after that crazy piano/guitar arpeggio part, the lead fills he plays doesn't seem to fit into any diatonic scale forms I recognize. Could someone shed some light onto this for me? I figure it's probably melodic minor, but I'm not sure.

Another thing -- I can hear Phish use chromatic modulation in their songs really frequently, but do they use other forms of modulation too? I've got to shore up my knowledge on secondary dominants, modal pieces, and the melodic minor so if this is all "YES" then I might go learn some Phish, thus the point of this post.
Jam band that's been around for years.

Clearly you are not from Connecticut. Not that that's a bad thing.

a lot of us arent from connecticut
Really? I had no idea. I certainly wasn't making a joke about the state I live in being filled with yuppies there. No sir.

Phish is definitely not a band only known in CT... they're known nationwide.
I've never listened to Phish, but it's not unlikely that some songs could have a Dorian or Mixolydian flavor. I.E. they likely throw a major sixth into the minor pentatonic or flatten the seventh in a major melody. The pedants in this forum would probably eat someone alive for believing that constitutes "using modes," but I wouldn't argue.
Yes, at times they use modes. Trey and the rest of the band have a solid jazz background and are music "nerds". Definitly a band worth checking out everyone, here's a couple of songs I like. They have a large catalog though.

i've heard a lot of there live stuff on a satelite radio station "jam on" and i listened to the whole album "round room." good band and people should definitely check out some phish shows, i like it when they tell stories that lead into songs, like that weird 1 abt the utter ball and that show lost in space and he puts 5 pieces of food each on a corner of a star haha, crazy.
TMVATDI, you have no idea...

Go find the album, "Gamehenge". It was unreleased but you can find bootlegs around the internet. It's basically a 54 minute song/story.


Yeah it's pretty fscking epic.

And thanks to those who clarified what they were doing - I didn't think my friend was right, but I was aware of Phish's jazz background so I didn't rule it out. I'll have to start learning some Phish tunes and dissecting them.
How can you not have ever heard of Phish.. and been here since 07, honestly.

Phish is one of the more talanted/technical bands in recent rock music. They most definantly apply modes in the music, you've clearly just not heard the right jams
They do have quite a catalogue, and I only recently started exploring it.

Also, +1 for the King Crimson icon. Is that Lark's Tongue in Aspic?
He probably is using lots of accidentals that remind us of modes. A jam band with that much range is sure to stumble across a mode or two at some point though.
Oh yeah.

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

EDIT: D minor is the saddest of all keys.
Last edited by hockeyplayer168 at Aug 14, 2010,
Quote by primusfan
phish plays tonal music.

Most of the time, yes. Infact, alot of their music is pop songs. The jams they break into are often modal.. or I shouldn't say often, but i can think of a few examples and I don't even listen to them often. Slightly on topic the jam in the latter part of this tune is probably my favourite i've seen from Phish

Last edited by Peaceful Rocker at Aug 15, 2010,