Based on recent discussion, I wanted to check if my knowledge of modes is viable, sub-par..., etc.

A 'mode' is not something I can define textbook properly, it seems like the way music would be constructed relative to how each mode is written.
Are modes always diatonic or can we include anything like pentatonic...etc?

For example:
A Ionian = W W H W W W H = A B C# D E F# G#
E Phyrgian = H W W W H W W = E F G A B C D

You use these to construct diatonic scales

C Ionian shares the same notes as B locrian but not in the same order. Some are totally different (F# dorian probably doesn't have much overlap with A# locrian, I didn't write them out I'm just guessing here). C Ionian does not share the same notes as C Lydian.

I read somewhere that AeolianWolf I think (or someone) said that Major does not equal Ionian. Why is this?
Are not:
C Major = C Ionian = C D E F G A B?

Do modes encompass things like harmonic minor...etc?

Am I missing anything? Anything complicated that I might not have covered? I'm here to learn.
Modes-
If you are in the key of C major, the seven modes are as follows:
ionian (the C major scale with C as the root)
Dorian (starts on the 2nd aka D)
Phrygian starts on 3rd aka E)
Lydian 4th F
Mixolydian 5th G
Aeolian 6th A (also the natural minor)
Locrian 7th B
The modes are basically just starting the scale on a different note within the key, or centering the scale around a note other than the typical root (in this case C)
You aren't wrong but it was daft to bring modes into that other thread
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Modes are the most confusing things ever haha.

Ionian is the major scale (I was taught this) but AeolianWolf seems to have been classical trained in music theory so in that case it's not I think...

All modes have the same notes as the major scale/minor scale of the key you are in. It's just how they are arranged and how each note relates to the tonal center of the certain scale. I thought I knew a good amount of modes until recently reading on this site...

Pentatonic I believer there is 5 pentatonic shapes (Phrygian, Mixo, Aeolian, Ionian, Dorian) again same 5 notes just different root and the interval relations to the key are differnt but same 5 notes all across the neck. In the key of Cmajor the pentatonic contains the I II III V and VI and A Minor contain I III IV V VII those notes are A C D E G.

But to construct diatonic modes use the formulas

Ionain is 1234567
Dorian is 12b3456b7
Phrygian is 1b2b356b7
Lydian is 123#4567
Mixolydian is 123456b7
Aeolian is 12b345b6b7
Locrian is 1b2b34b5b6b7

and F# Dorian and A# Locrian are in different keys so yes the notes in them are completely different.

Do you understand how to determine where each mode would lay out in a major and minor scale?

Someone will probably read this and say this is completely wrong though haha. If it is can someone explain it to me what I have wrong so I can correct what I think I know.
Quote by BrokenSymphony
Modes are the most confusing things ever haha.

Ionian is the major scale (I was taught this) but AeolianWolf seems to have been classical trained in music theory so in that case it's not I think...

They differ in how they are used. Ionian would be something like a simple V-I vamp, whereas Major would be like Chopin's Nocturne in Eb Major.

All modes have the same notes as the major scale/minor scale of the key you are in. It's just how they are arranged and how each note relates to the tonal center of the certain scale. I thought I knew a good amount of modes until recently reading on this site...

Just to clarify, they share the same notes as the parent scale, or the Parallel Modes. You could play D Dorian in C Major. Or you could set your key to D Minor and alter the B when you play it. That does NOT mean you are in a key, though. You're just USING the key.
Quote by DiminishedFifth

Just to clarify, they share the same notes as the parent scale, or the Parallel Modes. You could play D Dorian in C Major. Or you could set your key to D Minor and alter the B when you play it. That does NOT mean you are in a key, though. You're just USING the key.

1st props for liking TesseracT! 2nd that is the part that doesnt make sense so if I am playing D Dorian over a Amin Dmin Emin I wouldn't be in A Minor I would just be using it?
The consensus around these parts seems to be that too much importance is placed on learning modes by guitarists in general.

But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Quote by BrokenSymphony
1st props for liking TesseracT! 2nd that is the part that doesnt make sense so if I am playing D Dorian over a Amin Dmin Emin I wouldn't be in A Minor I would just be using it?

No, that would be A minor. Your harmony implies A Minor. It's not about what scale you use. it's about what you resolve to. And that would resolve to A Minor.

And heck yes! Just saw them a month ago

^ +1
Quote by Hydra150
You aren't wrong but it was daft to bring modes into that other thread

If you have a problem what I said, then post it in there and don't ruin this one with snarky attitudes. Also I disagree with you completely on that, but once again... take it to the other thread.

Quote by DiminishedFifth
Just to clarify, they share the same notes as the parent scale, or the Parallel Modes. You could play D Dorian in C Major. Or you could set your key to D Minor and alter the B when you play it. That does NOT mean you are in a key, though. You're just USING the key.

When you say alter the B what do you mean by that? Raise it?
D minor (D aeolian?) = D E F G A Bb C

Would it be wrong of me to say that the diatonic modes just use the key in a certain way to make a specific sound?
Quote by AtomicBirdy
When you say alter the B what do you mean by that? Raise it?
D minor (D aeolian?) = D E F G A Bb C

Yup.

Would it be wrong of me to say that the diatonic modes just use the key in a certain way to make a specific sound?

i remember making that post.

ionian is completely obsolete, really. i would say that it's impossible to write a piece in the ionian mode, because it has been completely replaced by the major scale. theoretically, you could easily write something in the ionian mode. however, the listener is far more likely to hear it as being in a major key than the ionian mode. so the ionian mode is functionally obsolete.

aeolian is somewhat similar, except the aeolian mode and a minor key are not quite the same - a minor key does include the natural minor scale, which contains the same notes as the aeolian mode built on the same root -- but in minor, the seventh degree is typically raised. i believe the aeolian mode is also obsolete, but a i-v vamp could easily be seen as being in aeolian, and that's not theoretically incorrect. however, i'd probably see it as being in a minor key (since the seventh does not HAVE to be raised; although we're taught otherwise in classical theory, music is music, and does not need to adhere to such rules), and i think the listener would hear it as being in a minor key, rather than being in the aeolian mode. on a side note, when the modal system was prevalent, the seventh degree was raised at cadences anyway, so i could use this to further argue that it's been replaced by the minor key just as well as ionian has been replaced by major. but i could understand it if someone argued that the i-v vamp was in aeolian, since they're not technically wrong.

to be honest, modes are of little use to anyone outside of vamps or composing in the sixteenth-century style. they tend to be far more limiting than the key system. they're not useless, but they're far from being the holy grail.

i will say this - if you insist upon using modes, it's ALL (and i mean ALL, i CANNOT emphasize that enough) in the resolution. if you're playing in the key of C, there are no modes. EVER. unless you get out of the diatonic scale and bring in some chords which you could use jazz theory (such as soloing over Db7 using D mixolydian in the key of C, which i think is somewhat of a crock theoretically but is not without its merits). if you use the same notes but you force the resolution to D, then we have modality. there's your D dorian composition.

the length of this post probably veils the innate simplicity of modes. if you feel like maybe you don't get it, take a step back and focus on tonal theory. come back once you have a stronger foundation, and you'll be slapping yourself ten times over for not getting it before.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Quote by DiminishedFifth
No, that would be A minor. Your harmony implies A Minor. It's not about what scale you use. it's about what you resolve to. And that would resolve to A Minor.

And heck yes! Just saw them a month ago

^ +1

I saw them in Baltimore with Protest the Hero April 30th... Amazing show they stole it and are supposed to be back in September I believe.

I'm just gonna throw away ever understanding modes completely haha. I'll just stick with what I know and apply what I know how I know to.
@AeolianWolf

What would you define tonal theory as? Study of the theory of how tones relate to each other in things like chord construction, distances between notes (like the differences between tonic/submediant...etc, or even things like augmented fifth versus diminished fourth...), or other?
All you need to understand about modes is that a collection of them are all from the same scale but start at different places within the scale. Think about it any harder and you are doing it wrong.

Ionian mode is not the same thing as the major scale because the major scale goes beyond the context of the ionian mode. The major scale is not only a distinct series of diatonic notes, but it all implies key, as well as provide the blocks for functional harmony to point to a tonal center, and is very fluid in use and allows for chromatic alterations. Same reason why aeolian is not the minor scale, which is dynamic and has chromatic alterations based on harmonic context (eg. when the 7th and 6th need to be raised).

...modes and scales are still useless.

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Last edited by Xiaoxi at May 14, 2011,
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@AeolianWolf

What would you define tonal theory as? Study of the theory of how tones relate to each other in things like chord construction, distances between notes (like the differences between tonic/submediant...etc, or even things like augmented fifth versus diminished fourth...), or other?

Tonal theory?

Anything NOT modal or atonal.

I think you need to go back to your basics and forget about modes. They become a lot easier once you have a very solid grasp on the basics.
Quote by AtomicBirdy
@AeolianWolf

What would you define tonal theory as? Study of the theory of how tones relate to each other in things like chord construction, distances between notes (like the differences between tonic/submediant...etc, or even things like augmented fifth versus diminished fourth...), or other?

Tonal theory, above all, is the study of how all musical objects relate to a tonal center through the use of specific resolutions and voice leading. What you are thinking about is too cluttered and unnecessary for what you are trying to learn.

...modes and scales are still useless.

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I feel I understand and can use modes and agree with the general opinion of the theory buffs on this website (not as important as people make out, learn major scale first etc.) apart from this;

Quote by AeolianWolf

to be honest, modes are of little use to anyone outside of vamps or composing in the sixteenth-century style. they tend to be far more limiting than the key system. they're not useless, but they're far from being the holy grail.

I see this being said on threads like this from time to time and I kinda get what you mean but I dont see modes as being as useless to modern music as you seem to be making out. For example, when some sweedish metalhead plays a whole song using the notes ABCDEFG and resolving to the E (ie playing in E Phygian) are you saying that he is not playing in that mode? Or how about when I jam to some funky blues in A minor and both the rhythm section and my soloing uses only a raised sixth am I not playing in the A Dorian mode? Or would you just call that playing in E and A minor (respectively)? I could see a few other examples that seem fairly common and relevant to many guitarists (ie many shredders like to play extended solos in what I could only describe as Lydian, and the same for Mixolydian for bluesy stuff) - I dont see how these examples (which dont seem too abstract) are not playing in modes yet sometimes people comment on threads like these implying that modes are completely irrelevant.

I understand that some of these examples Ive given could fall under the category of playing over vamps in some cases, but not always.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Last edited by Hydra150 at May 14, 2011,
^But it's not that they're irrelevant, it's that they are the isolated perspectives of a much larger and more important framework, which is the concept of scale.

So anyone who is feverishly trying to comprehend modes is actually making it a lot harder for themselves by not stepping back and realizing how inherent the concepts of modes are once you see the big picture of scales.

Modes are the limit positions of a scale in its strictest form, while the scale itself (which is equivalent to key) is extremely malleable and dynamic in usage.

...modes and scales are still useless.

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I get what ya mean, sometimes when people explain that here I get the impression that they think modes arent worth knowing - Ive probably simply misinterprested a few posts here and there.
It can be useful to know modes, they are used in some musical situations, but people often go about learning them the wrong way (often too soon and with little background theory knowledge/perspective). I get it.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Quote by Hydra150
I see this being said on threads like this from time to time and I kinda get what you mean but I dont see modes as being as useless to modern music as you seem to be making out. For example, when some sweedish metalhead plays a whole song using the notes ABCDEFG and resolving to the E (ie playing in E Phygian) are you saying that he is not playing in that mode? Or how about when I jam to some funky blues in A minor and both the rhythm section and my soloing uses only a raised sixth am I not playing in the A Dorian mode? Or would you just call that playing in E and A minor (respectively)? I could see a few other examples that seem fairly common and relevant to many guitarists (ie many shredders like to play extended solos in what I could only describe as Lydian, and the same for Mixolydian for bluesy stuff) - I dont see how these examples (which dont seem too abstract) are not playing in modes yet sometimes people comment on threads like these implying that modes are completely irrelevant.

generally, yeah. i would see it as being in E minor and A minor respectively, unless the harmonic context dictated otherwise (which is entirely possible).