#1
Like many newbie guitarists, I'm confused about how to use modes over chord progressions. I've searched and read many posts relating to this but am still confused.

Let's say I play a very simple (I-IV) chord progression in G Major.
The chords would logically be: G Major then C Major.

The way I understand it, I would solo like this:
- over the G chord: G Ionian mode, starting the pattern on the 6th string 3rd fret
- over the C chord: C Lydian mode, starting the pattern on the 6th string 8th fret

My reasoning is: chord position in the chord scale = use mode of same position.

Is this a right way to go? Any tips?
Thanks a bunch!
#2
watching... =]
Originally Posted by jazar94
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#3
You're making a few mistakes.

Biggest one is thinking of modes as patterns (they aren't), and second is over complicating things. In a G major progression there is no reason to even think modes, it's all G major.

Modes are for modal music. They're not some magical new tool that will take all of your soloing to new heights.
"Swords, nature's hell sticks."- Trip Fisk
#4
Quote by mtforever
You're making a few mistakes.

Biggest one is thinking of modes as patterns (they aren't), and second is over complicating things. In a G major progression there is no reason to even think modes, it's all G major.

Modes are for modal music. They're not some magical new tool that will take all of your soloing to new heights.


Yep. If the song is in a major or minor key, you're either playing the major or minor scale, and nothing more.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#5
Quote by AlanHB
Yep. If the song is in a major or minor key, you're either playing the major or minor scale, and nothing more.


Dang, now I'm even more confused, LOL! I thought that pro guitarists used modes all the time for soloing... was I wrong? And if they do, does that mean that all the songs they solo over are neither major nor minor?
#6
Most pro guitarists use major and minor nearly 100% of the time.

If a song is in a major key, you solo using the major scale. The same goes with a minor key. You may use notes outside the appropriate scale, but in the end, the ear is hearing major (or minor, depending on the key). It doesn't matter what shape you use or what note you start on, you are not using modes.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.


MUSIC THEORY LINK
#7
Quote by guitaristpr0ski
Dang, now I'm even more confused, LOL! I thought that pro guitarists used modes all the time for soloing... was I wrong? And if they do, does that mean that all the songs they solo over are neither major nor minor?


The name modes is slung around a lot where it shouldn't be slung around. It is really confusing, which is why you should stick to learning non-modal music and harmony. You'll begin to understand what modes are and how they work as you progress naturally. There is no shortcut.
"Swords, nature's hell sticks."- Trip Fisk
#8
Quote by rockingamer2
...You may use notes outside the appropriate scale...


Interesting.... are there any 'rules' to this, I mean which 'outside notes' are cool for a major scale, and which outside notes are cool for a minor scale?

Cheers again, this forum is amazing!
#9
Quote by mtforever
The name modes is slung around a lot where it shouldn't be slung around. It is really confusing, which is why you should stick to learning non-modal music and harmony. You'll begin to understand what modes are and how they work as you progress naturally. There is no shortcut.


Well, it sure seems that modal music is another beast in itself! You're right, I'm probably getting ahead of myself. I will learn the simpler stuff first, then move on.

I guess I was just getting frustrated at how boring my soloing tends to sound and was looking for a way to spice things up. Oh well! Patience is a virtue!

thx !
Last edited by guitaristpr0ski at Apr 16, 2011,
#10
Quote by guitaristpr0ski
Well, it sure seems that modal music is another beast in itself! You're right, I'm probably getting ahead of myself. I will learn the simpler stuff first, then move on.

I guess I was just getting frustrated at how boring my soloing tends to sound and was looking for a way to spice things up. Oh well! Patience is a virtue!

thx !


If your looking to spice up your soloing. Try using accidentals, chromaticism etc. Try really paying attention to your underlying chord tones. Above all, you have to think melodically, phrasing is key. Mindlessly running through scale patterns will get you no where.

Listen to other musicians. Not just guitarists, but pianists, horn players etc.
"Swords, nature's hell sticks."- Trip Fisk
#11
Quote by guitaristpr0ski
Well, it sure seems that modal music is another beast in itself! You're right, I'm probably getting ahead of myself. I will learn the simpler stuff first, then move on.

I guess I was just getting frustrated at how boring my soloing tends to sound and was looking for a way to spice things up. Oh well! Patience is a virtue!

thx !



Good luck to you. Crisis averted...

Sean
#12
Quote by guitaristpr0ski
Interesting.... are there any 'rules' to this, I mean which 'outside notes' are cool for a major scale, and which outside notes are cool for a minor scale?

Cheers again, this forum is amazing!

Nah, there are no "rules." Just use your ear. Learn solos by guitarists and see what accidentals they use and when to get a sense of a good use of them.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.


MUSIC THEORY LINK
#13
Quote by guitaristpr0ski
Dang, now I'm even more confused, LOL! I thought that pro guitarists used modes all the time for soloing... was I wrong? And if they do, does that mean that all the songs they solo over are neither major nor minor?


I think this has been answered for you above. Pro-guitarists (or any guitarist) will only use modes over modal songs. If the song is not modal, it's not using modes. And most songs are not modal.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#15
TS, what your doing is not modal---but those are the correct chord/scale relationships--though you are also free to use G lydian on the G major chord or C ionian on the C major chord--however, i would not think of these pitch collections in terms of position--instead think of them as how they relate to the relative major scale, and learn to play that in 3/4 (using the entire range of the fretboard) and 1 octave fingerings (single string, 2 strings, 3 string fingerings) , as well as from lowest and highest note available in all 12 positions with minimal shifting. reducing modes and scales to just fingerings will hinder the clarity of your ideas, your ability to "think outside the box" when improvising, and will probably hold you back as a musician.

anyone who is saying what your doing is not modal is very correct, but those who believe it is incorrect should check these out and educate themselves:
http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Theory-Book-Mark-Levine/dp/1883217040
http://www.amazon.com/How-Play-Jazz-Improvise-Book/dp/9993633593
http://www.outsideshore.com/primer/primer/.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
Last edited by tehREALcaptain at Apr 17, 2011,
#17
Quote by mtforever

Modes are for modal music. They're not some magical new tool that will take all of your soloing to new heights.

I somewhat disagree... I'd say it is for 'normal music' too... I'd say its flavouring... others would say borrowing... I also say hell yeah, it can take your soloing to new heights!

And Captain... I'm glad to see that outsideshore primer still being around... I found that about 9 or 12 years ago. It's a good resource... thanks for putting up for the others
Last edited by evolucian at Apr 17, 2011,
#18
Ok, I need to get something straight here.

Lets say I'm soloing over the Dm - G - C progression. The progression resolves to C, but doesn't it invoke some Dorian and Mixolydian feel over the Dm and G chord if I use the 6th (B note) over Dm and b7 (F note) over G extensively? Surely I can't hold those notes too long, because accenting B over Dm and F over G make the thing sound as Dm6 and G7, which both contain the b5 (B - F) and pull towards the major 3rd interval of C - E.
But if I use those notes in faster segments and don't let the tension rise, doesn't it have some momentary modal sound to it?
#20
Quote by -Mantra-
Ok, I need to get something straight here.

Lets say I'm soloing over the Dm - G - C progression. The progression resolves to C, but doesn't it invoke some Dorian and Mixolydian feel over the Dm and G chord if I use the 6th (B note) over Dm and b7 (F note) over G extensively? Surely I can't hold those notes too long, because accenting B over Dm and F over G make the thing sound as Dm6 and G7, which both contain the b5 (B - F) and pull towards the major 3rd interval of C - E.
But if I use those notes in faster segments and don't let the tension rise, doesn't it have some momentary modal sound to it?


Nope, just adds color to those chords.
shred is gaudy music
#21
Lets say I'm soloing over the Dm - G - C progression. The progression resolves to C, but doesn't it invoke some Dorian and Mixolydian feel over the Dm and G chord if I use the 6th (B note) over Dm and b7 (F note) over G extensively? Surely I can't hold those notes too long, because accenting B over Dm and F over G make the thing sound as Dm6 and G7, which both contain the b5 (B - F) and pull towards the major 3rd interval of C - E.
But if I use those notes in faster segments and don't let the tension rise, doesn't it have some momentary modal sound to it?


nothing modal about it--but thinking of those scales over that progression (and eventually, progressing to weirder scales if thats your kind of thing) does work and can properly bring out the sound of the changes.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
#22
Scales are not modes.

Modes are not diatonic.

Why make things more compicated.

If I am vamping on a Dminor chord in the key of C and I want to play B natural -- great! Yes, I can say I am playing a riff over the D Dorian scale .... and that sounds all cool and nifty. But really -- I an just vamping on a D minor and trying to tie it in with the chords and melody that moves the tune forward. If I vamp over a G7 next ... I will want to play F natural because it creates the tritone tension of B F moving to resolution with C E ... I am still not playing modal music. I am using chord tones to create tension. Dropping the term Mixolydian at a jam session with serious musicians who DO NOT play guitar will get a laugh ... I've never met a horn player who really thought about modes much .. unless they were working on some modal jazz. They always ask "Why do you guitar players always start talking about Phrygian and all that?? Just play the damn tune!"
#23
Quote by Zen Skin
Scales are not modes.

Modes are not diatonic.



actually modes are scales, and some scales are modes.

and modes ARE diatonic.
shred is gaudy music
#24
Quote by Zen Skin

If I am vamping on a Dminor chord in the key of C and I want to play B natural -- great! Yes, I can say I am playing a riff over the D Dorian scale ..


But they key being C major I will be playing nothing more than the C major scale regardless of what name I give it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#25
Quote by GuitarMunky
actually modes are scales, and some scales are modes.

and modes ARE diatonic.



You have to learn the history of modes.

Medieval church music was monophonic and interwoven with a given set of pitches, cadences, a time of the day and a mood. The illuminated "Book of Hours" that survived from various monastic communities would use a 4 line staff to indicate what was to be sang at what time. Plagal variations of the 4 basic modes were given as hypodorian, hypolydian and such -- giving 8 church modes.

As just intonation became more popular and polyphony came more and more into fashion in both secular and ecclesiastical music in the late Renaissance and Baroque period, composers got very tired of writing in modes.

There had been a movement in Tudor English plainsong that allowed the singer to raise pitches when ascending .... these variations together with the Ionian, Aeolian and Dorian modes, over time, got folded into the 4 scales used in all keys in diatonic music -- that is music that plays through the scale -- the scale being tempered to allow key changes and polyphony.

While music underwent radical changes in the late romantic and early modern period -- from Wagner to the Second Viennese school to atonalism to serialism, to chance music. Composers, looking for inspiration looked at those old medieval modes. They did not go back to monophonic choral music but started to borrow themes from folk melodies that were monophonic and noodle around with the corresponding scales.

This was evident in some work by Mendelssohn, Dvorak and other orchestral composers. Miles Davis used compositional techniques on "Kind of Blue" that were inspired my modal scales -- but in Mile's case he never played Modal music in the sense of those old church chants. "So What" -- famous for it use of the Dorian Mode uses a chromatic shift as it repeats a basic riff. We typically say that it is a Dorian composition because -- it is "kind" of blue .. not really pure minor. Not major. It sounds very different than the be bop he was playing only a few years earlier.

So ... no .. modes are not just scales.

If a song employs minor chord that does not make it minor. Songs can shift from minor to major modality and play through the scale -- i.e. diatonically. This is different than church modes which were flexible, but remember that intonation could be a problem for instrumental accompaniment if the singer wandered too far. Modern use of modal colorings sets a particular mood -- as intended -- but we also have instruments that can change key and play intervals that were either uncommon or impossible under the old church modes. So we get to be liberal or strict with them.

But .. again -- it tends to make things far more complicated. I believe it is better to learn keys, common cadences and sight reading that get bogged down in yet more complicated nomenclature that is really not needed 98% of the time in contemporary music.
#27
But they key being C major I will be playing nothing more than the C major scale regardless of what name I give it.


really? for arguements sake, if you had the progression of
C major/ D7/ D flat 7/Gb7/G7/C Major
your in the key of C major, and don't have to use chord/scales or modes (and depending on how fast the changes are going it may be unadvisable to take that approach), but just playing the C major scale might not get you the best results.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
#28
Quote by Zen Skin
You have to learn the history of modes.


That won't change the meaning of the word diatonic, or the fact that modes are a type of scale. or that the Major and minor scale are modes.

and I've taken a music history class or 2.
shred is gaudy music
#29
Quote by AlanHB
But they key being C major I will be playing nothing more than the C major scale regardless of what name I give it.



Yeah -- you can make it sound complicated and name each portion of the scale as you move over chord changes .... but you are still in C and playing he white keys on a piano.


Agreed.


Maybe we should invent terms for EVERY possibly chromatic embellishment!!!

That would sound extra super fancy!!!!

"I am playing the Dorian flat 6 here"

"You mean the minor scale?"

"Shaddup!"
#31
Quote by Zen Skin


Maybe we should invent terms for EVERY possibly chromatic embellishment!!!

That would sound extra super fancy!!!!

"I am playing the Dorian flat 6 here"

"You mean the minor scale?"

"Shaddup!"

#32
Quote by tehREALcaptain
really? for arguements sake, if you had the progression of
C major/ D7/ D flat 7/Gb7/G7/C Major
your in the key of C major, and don't have to use chord/scales or modes (and depending on how fast the changes are going it may be unadvisable to take that approach), but just playing the C major scale might not get you the best results.


Oh of course you'd have to employ accidentals to the C major scale to avoid clashes over certain chord progressions, but as the song still resolves to C major, you'll still be playing the C major scale.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#33
I don't really know what this thread is about, but just about this post:
Quote by Zen Skin

You have to learn the history of modes.


Why? What does the history of modes, as Munky pointed out, have to do with the definition of what a scale is? That's exactly what a mode is, a scale. It is more of a pure scale than the major scale, because it has far fewer connotations of a harmonic system than does the major scale.

Also, even though it doesn't have anything to do with the thread, your history of modes is somewhat dodgy. First of all, polyphony was in fashion well before the turn of the Baroque period. The first idea of polyphony (I'm just throwing out an estimated date because I don't want to crack open my textbook) probably around the 11th or 12th C. at a conservative guess. Probably not exactly what you're were thinking of when you said polyphony, but even then, what everyone would consider polyphony is in full force by, at latest, the turn of the Renaissance, 15th C. Moreover, polyphony has nothing to do with the tonal shift.
Second, the idea that composers "got bored" with modes is utter nonsense. The shift from modality to tonality took place over 80 years and came about as an expanding of harmonic practise, an expansion that had really been going on since modes were first developed in the church, not boredom. You seem to think the history of modes goes: Plainchant - Palestrina - Dead. With nothing in between. Not the case.

Again, I don't know what any of this has to do with anything about the understanding of modes, but... you started it.
#34
Quote by Zen Skin
Then we happen to see it differently.



I think it's more a matter of how we use the terms. What exactly do you mean by "diatonic"?
shred is gaudy music
#35
It's been said, but if you have a I IV in G major, just play the G major scale. Even if you think you're playing G ionian, then C lydian, you're really just playing G major.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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