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#1
So, lately I've been interested in using the Aeolian mode. The hard part seems to be making sure that is differentiated from a Natural Minor tonal expression. I just jotted down a couple of ideas for the basis of an Aeolian passage.

Here's my thought process: First, I'll avoid using a strong cadence so the passage does not try to resolve tonally to the tonic minor. Second, make sure to emphasize the unique notes of the Aeolian mode (as apposed to Phyrgian/Dorian).

First idea:

Em7 -> Cadd9/E (or Csus2/E, whichever your preferred notation)

D - D
B - C
G - G
E - E

The flat 6th is emphasized here to differentiate this from the Dorian mode. I chose the most obvious route by forming the second chord on the flattened 6th interval. I figured this looked too much like a vi -> I in major, so I inverted the Cadd9 over the tonal center to weaken the chord change (also, this makes the voice leading pristine.) From here, any melodic accompianiment could really emphasize the C -> B (fifth of Em7) leading tone.

Second idea:

Emadd9 -> F#o/E (or F#m7b5/E, depending on your preference).

F#- F#
B - C
G - A
E - E

Once again, I am emphasizing the flat 6th by implented a chord with the note present (in this case, the F#o has C as its fifth.) I also chose to include the major second (F#) in both chords to differentiate this vamp from the Phrygian mode. The only potential problem I see with this is the F#o wanting to lead into a G major tonality. I placed the chord over it's minor seventh to attempt to diffuse the situation. Another option I thought of would be to change the F# in the Emadd9 into an E, making it an Em. This may give the soprano line a place to go other than F# (which screams to be resolved to a G.)

I'm able to use other modes (Lydian, Phrygian, Dorian, Mixolydian) fairly well, so I'm looking for some feedback on these proposed uses of the Aeolian. Also, I'm at work so I don't have a guitar or piano, so if you want to try these out, let me know what you hear.
#2
Quote by soviet_ska
So, lately I've been interested in using the Aeolian mode. The hard part seems to be making sure that is differentiated from a Natural Minor tonal expression.


Well, that would be impossible, since Aeolian IS the natural minor scale.

The distinction you would want to make is between aeolian as it was used before the common practice period, and minor as it was used during the common practice period. This
is actually quite easy. Just stick with the diatonic chords..... don't alter the scale.

For example in Em, DON'T use V or V7 (B / B7)..... use v (Bm)
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at May 27, 2011,
#3
Yeah they both have the same notes, so there is nothing to differentiate them there. I think you're trying to do is differential the Aeolian mode with the Minor Key. This is pretty much done by avoiding the cadence. The Minor Key can use the Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, and the Melodic Minor scales together as needed. Something 'in' Aeolian only uses Aeolian for the time its needed, right?

So the any type cadence tells us we are in Minor Key, but if there is no cadence then you could be in Aeolian.

Something like All Along The Watchtower or the end of Stairway to Heaven could be considered to be Aeolian since there is no cadence. But something like Babe I'm Gonna Leave You would be in Minor Key because there is a cadence as notes from the other Minor scales that make up a Minor Key.
Last edited by MikeDodge at May 27, 2011,
#4
Quote by MikeDodge
Yeah they both have the same notes, so there is nothing to differentiate them there. I think you're trying to do is differential the Aeolian mode with the Minor Key. This is pretty much done by avoiding the cadence. The Minor Key can use the Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, and the Melodic Minor scales together as needed. Something 'in' Aeolian only uses Aeolian for the time its needed, right?

So the any type cadence tells us we are in Minor Key, but if there is no cadence then you could be in Aeolian.

Something like All Along The Watchtower or the end of Stairway to Heaven could be considered to be Aeolian since there is no cadence. But something like Babe I'm Gonna Leave You would be in Minor Key because there is a cadence as notes from the other Minor scales that make up a Minor Key.


So, would you agree with my examples being in the Aeolian mode rather than a minor key?
#5
Quote by soviet_ska
So, would you agree with my examples being in the Aeolian mode rather than a minor key?



Off the cuff, yes. I'd want to play them but I can agree with them as two vamps.

Note though, when I see a Im-bVI progression (your Em-C) I leave E Aeolian for the C chord and play C Lydian Dominant. It's very much like the Pink Panther theme. And it's pretty much an E Aeolian but changing B to Bb. I would do this unless the harmony is stated as a Cmaj7, then B is a chord tone, but if it's not stated I would definitely toy with that Bb instead of B...thinking of it as a C7, or C9 since you specified the int he C chord.

Just some food for thought. Try it. I think you'll like it.
#6
first off, the Cadd9 / Csus2 has nothing to do with "preferred notation". they are different chords, and this one is a Cadd9. and there's also a difference between F#º and F#m7b5, namely that F#º is a triad. you'd need F#º7. anyway, on to the real issue:

i would say that it's in a minor key, but also that it could be in aeolian. i caution you, however, that, according to the rules governing the traditional use of modes, the subtonic is raised to a leading tone at cadences. that doesn't really apply here, but the point i'm trying to make is that the difference between aeolian and minor is not as simple as "b7 or 7".

i (as well as anyone with an ear) would HEAR it as being in a minor key. you can argue that it would be aeolian, and you would not be wrong. do you see, though, why i say aeolian (and ionian, for that matter) is functionally obsolete?

if you really want to work in aeolian, go do some species counterpoint exercises. that's about the closest you'll come to it.
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#9
yeah i think it's functionally obsolete too. your talking about trying to differentiate between it from dorian and phrygian, but NO ONE is going to hear it and presume your in the dorian or phrigian first, when they hear the minor triad, they'll assume a major 2nd and minor 6th, because that's what we're used to.

tbh, i don't really see what your trying to do, with other modes, grand go ahead, because it gives a different sound from the major/minor tonality we accept as standard. but this is trying to write in the accepted standard without acknowledging that we hear it as standard. don't get me wrong, be my guest if you want, but i just don't really see the point.
#11
Lumping directly related chords has always seemed rudimentary or drab to me, unless they are supported by a great melody, ala Moondance, Norwegian Wood, etc...

Reason being, without a great background in movement, they never go any where. They JUST stay in a scale, never progressing anywhere. There is no tension or release. You play ON the chord instead of TO the chord.

If you want to create modal progressions, some of the coolest are using multiple chords that ARE NOT directly related through one scale. IOW, you would need to change modes as you change to certain chords in the progression.

Like this:

||: Gm | Gm | Gm | Gm | Bbm | Bbm | Bbm | Bbm :||

This is the basis of quite a few "modal tunes". Modally you play G Dorian for Gm and then Bb Dorian for Bbm.

Try this:

3/4 ||: Dmaj7 | Dmaj7 | Dmaj7 | Dmaj7 | Dm7 | Dm7 | Dm7 | Dm7 :||

Play D Ionian for Dmaj7 and D Dorian for Dm7.

I can explain how to create this kind of movement within a chord progression that stays in one scale, but it STILL requires you to move out of scale resolve to each next chord. Read through these progressions http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/chord-progressions-t40.html And notice all the different vehicles you can use while inside the same scale/mode/Key. Example #2 is a good example of trying to fit two chords directly related into a modal progression. But you'll see there's a ton of "things" you can do to get out of a 'one scale only' mindset and add some movement, some tension and resolution to the drab progression, all using common forms of movement, or what is also called "forward motion".
#12
Quote by Woffelz
^Listen to him. Look at his username!


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#13
Quote by GuitarMunky
Well, that would be impossible, since Aeolian IS the natural minor scale.

The distinction you would want to make is between aeolian as it was used before the common practice period, and minor as it was used during the common practice period. This
is actually quite easy. Just stick with the diatonic chords..... don't alter the scale.

For example in Em, DON'T use V or V7 (B / B7)..... use v (Bm)

i feel like this is where the thread should've ended. or maybe one more post by soviet-ska saying "oh i get it." and then thread done.
#14
Quote by TMVATDI
i feel like this is where the thread should've ended. or maybe one more post by soviet-ska saying "oh i get it." and then thread done.


no, the thread should have ended where i posted my picture. where do we go now?
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#15
We could get into some killer modal ideas. I get called for a lot cool gigs that are straight modal gigs. I can bring some cool modal progressions to the table, as in progressing from mode to mode. They can really bust your chops.
#16
Quote by MikeDodge
We could get into some killer modal ideas. I get called for a lot cool gigs that are straight modal gigs. I can bring some cool modal progressions to the table, as in progressing from mode to mode. They can really bust your chops.


i'm not too proud to learn a thing or two.
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#17
So, what we're saying is that the Aeolian (and Ionian) mode has been ruined by several hundred years of Western harmonic progress?
#18
Quote by soviet_ska
So, what we're saying is that the Aeolian (and Ionian) mode has been ruined by several hundred years of Western harmonic progress?


You might say that. Funny you know, I mentioned Norwegian Wood and Moondance as both having great melodies. But in the end, they do not stay in the same Mode, they change for the chorus.

I think guitarists get hung up on making one scale sound hip but in the end things sound a little stagnant, mainly because they expect that one scale to be the tension and release. There's so much more going on in music than one linear scale playing...even over straight modal vamps.

For instance you're Em-F#m7b5. E Aeolian sounds fine over it, but over the F#m7b5 just before switching back to Em, throw in a little D# note instead of D. The D# fits perfectly over the F#m7b5. So while one scale sounds fine, after a few reps over the progression it can start to lose it's life, at that time swap out the D# for the D just before turning back around. It gives it new life.
Last edited by MikeDodge at May 28, 2011,
#19
Quote by MikeDodge
I get called for a lot cool gigs that are straight modal gigs.


What sort of gigs are straight modal gigs? That's an odd requirement for a setlist.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#20
Quote by soviet_ska
So, what we're saying is that the Aeolian (and Ionian) mode has been ruined by several hundred years of Western harmonic progress?


Not ruined, made better. Much less limiting now.
Quote by UtBDan
this man hits the nail on the head.
#21
Quote by soviet_ska
So, what we're saying is that the Aeolian (and Ionian) mode has been ruined by several hundred years of Western harmonic progress?


ruined is a harsh word. superseded is better.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#22
Quote by soviet_ska
So, what we're saying is that the Aeolian (and Ionian) mode has been ruined by several hundred years of Western harmonic progress?


If you think monkeys were ruined by humans, sure.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#23
Quote by AlanHB
If you think monkeys were ruined by humans, sure.


haha too right!
#24
Quote by AlanHB
If you think monkeys were ruined by humans, sure.

we did kinda ruin the world for all other species....but i get what you're saying.
#25
Quote by TMVATDI
we did kinda ruin the world for all other species....but i get what you're saying.


and we ruined perfectly good bird song by copying it and bastardising it!
#26
Quote by gavk
and we ruined perfectly good bird song by copying it and bastardising it!


Leave Messiaen alone!
#27
Quote by soviet_ska

Em7 -> Cadd9/E (or Csus2/E, whichever your preferred notation)

Cadd9 isn't the same as sus2.
Suspension changes the third, add just adds a 9 and leaves the 3 where it is.
I will read your question now.
#28
A suspension resolves to the third, it does not change it.
Quote by UtBDan
this man hits the nail on the head.
#29
Quote by blueriver
A suspension resolves to the third, it does not change it.

A suspension changes the third to the perfect fourth if sus4 or major second to sus2.
It doesn't need to resolve, resolving is a choice made by the composer.
#30
Suspensions and suspended chords are not the same thing. A suspension is any consonance held over from another chord which causes a dissonance (an exception would be a 6:5 suspension in which both notes are consonant) and is then resolved by step. Therefore a suspension can resolve to any consonance ( 3,5,6,8) not just the third.
Last edited by griffRG7321 at May 30, 2011,
#31
Quote by liampje
A suspension changes the third to the perfect fourth if sus4 or major second to sus2.
It doesn't need to resolve, resolving is a choice made by the composer.


Then there would be no suspension. We obviously are not talking about the same thing.
Quote by UtBDan
this man hits the nail on the head.
#32
Quote by liampje
A suspension changes the third to the perfect fourth if sus4 or major second to sus2.
It doesn't need to resolve, resolving is a choice made by the composer.


a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

the very essence of a suspension is that it must resolve.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#33
Quote by AlanHB
What sort of gigs are straight modal gigs? That's an odd requirement for a setlist.


The type of gigs where the lead sheets are either one to two non-Diatonic chord vamps or they are heads that blow through a number of non-diatonic chord where the modes/scales are constantly changing resolving back to the beginning. What you might call Modal Interchange stuff.

I have a number of examples.

---------------------------------------------------

Here's one from a session a little over a year ago, the song is called Ionia Bustle found here: http://www.myspace.com/stevetalagamusic/music/albums/heartside-sketches-16589696

This is the progression starting out modally with a two chord vamp, then moving into a couple disparate chords, then a couple of modulations, and so on...until there's a nice atonal riff bringing everything back to the first chord:

||: Fmaj7sus4 | Fmaj7sus4 | C7/E | C7/E :|| 4 times

| Cm7 | Cm7 | Fmaj7#5 | Fmaj7#5 | Em7 | Em7 | A7 | A7 | Am7 | D7 | Fmaj7#5 |riff | riff || then repeat the whole thing.


riff:
G--8--10-----------------|---------------------------|
D---------9----8--10-----|---------------------------|
A---------------------9--|--8--10--7-----6-----------|
E------------------------|------------6-----7--2--1--|


--------------------------------------

Here's a solo section of a tune based in D Minor but it leaves moving through various changes outside of D Minor...the song is At The Roundabout, found here: http://www.myspace.com/stevetalagamusic/music/albums/heartside-sketches-16589696

Again, this is the solo section:

6/4 ||: Dm7 | Gm7 | Gbmaj7 | Gbmaj7 | F7sus4 | F7sus4 | E7#9#5 | A7#9 :||


Dm7 Gm7 Gbmaj7#11 F7sus4 E7#9#5 A7#9
E---------------------------8----------
B--6---3---1---------4------8------13--
G--5---3---3---------3------7------12--
D--7---3---3---------3------6------11--
A--5-----------------3------7------12--
E------3---2--------(1)----------------

Dm7 Gm7 Gbmaj7#11 F7sus4 E7#9#5 A7#9
E---------------------------3---------(8)-(8)--
B--3---3---1---------4------1------2--(5)-(8)--
G--2---3---3---------3------1------5--(6)-(6)--
D--3---3---3---------3------2------5--(5)-(7)--
A----------------------------------0-----------
E----------------------------------------------

Modally:

Dm7 Gm7 = D Aeolian
Gbmaj7#11 = Gb Lydian
F7sus4 - F Phrygian Dominant, F Mixolydian/C Dorian
E7#9#5 - E Super Locrian/E Altered scale, E Phrygian Dominant
A7#9 - A Phrygian Dominant

Tonal Center wise:

Dm7 Gm7 = D Aeolian
Gbmaj7#11 = Db Ionian
F7sus4 - D Phrygian
E7#9#5 - D Aeolian b5
A7#9 - D Harmonic Minor

I usually approach these types of things multiple ways since I have to solo over them for 4-8 passes.

--------------------------------

I have more recent ones too. Here's one we did at a local award show where we won Jazz Album of the Year

Here's video of the performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-slrrvVIoU

This is the progression:

||: F7susb9 | F7susb9 | Bbm7 | Bbm7 | Gb/Db | Bmaj#11| F7susb9 | F7susb9 :||

| Bbm11 | Bbm11 | Gbmaj#11 | Gbmaj#11 | Emaj#11 | Emaj#11 | Db | Db | Bmaj7 | Cm7b5 F7#9 | Bbm7 Gbmaj7 | Eb7 | Eb7 | Ebm7 | Ab7sus4 | Bbm11 | Bbm11 | C7#9 | C7#9 :|| back to the top

Here's a break down:

Modally...

Thinking scale-wise or modally from each Root can be a mess for a progression like this, you go ahead and break it down further but these should help keep you moving in the right direction:

||: F Prygian Dominant | F Prygian Dominant | Bb Aeolian | Bb Aeolian | Gb Lydian | B Lydian| F Prygian Dominant | F Prygian Dominant :||

| Bb Minor Pentatonic | Bb Minor Pentatonic | Gb Lydian | Gb Lydian | E Lydian | E Lydian | Db Mixolydian | Db Mixolydian | B Lydian | C Whole-Half | Bb Aeolian | Eb Mixolydian | Eb Mixolydian | Eb Dorian | Ab Mixolydian | Bb Aeolian | Bb Aeolian | C Half-Whole | C Half-Whole :|| to the top

Tonal Center wise...

Now if we think of this with Bb being the tonal center of the bulk of the tune, we can build these scales from Bb when we can and not stray too far from it when we can't. This makes things WAY cleaner and easier to navigate through.

||: Bb Harmonic Minor | Bb Harmonic Minor | Bb Aeolian | Bb Aeolian | Bb Aeolian | Bb Phrygian| Bb Harmonic Minor | Bb Harmonic Minor :||

| Bb Aeolian | Bb Aeolian | Bb Aeolian | Bb Aeolian | Bb Locrian (or a B Lydian shift) | Bb Locrian (or a B Lydian shift) | Bb Phrygian | Bb Phrygian | Bb Phrygian (or a B Lydian shift) | C Whole-Half | Bb Aeolian | Bb Dorian | Bb Dorian | Ebm7 | Ab7sus4 | Bbm11 | Bbm11 | C7#9 | C7#9 :|| to the top

With this approach it really helps to nail the little important parts of the scales and realize/exploit ONLY what's changing between scales. You find for the most part it's based on a lot of half step changes between the scales, and other times the whole scale changes. Many times when look at it scale and mode wise it looks like everything is changing all the time and it can bog you down after a few passes, but looking at it from a tonal center really focuses on only what need to change between scales and modes, which personally allows me to play freer and more in the pocket at the same times instead of viewing it from a bunch of different Root notes. Good food for thought when working through tough progressions such as these.

-----------------------------

I have to work with a lot of modern modal music and have a ton more examples, maybe I should throw them in their own thread...I didn't mean to walk all over this thread/topic...although, there a some Aeolian examples here.
Last edited by MikeDodge at May 31, 2011,
#34
Quote by AeolianWolf
a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

the very essence of a suspension is that it must resolve.

Ow so suspended means that its a chord with a new dird and suspension is when you use it in context with the original third?
And I didn't knew what the difference was between suspension and suspended.
Mainly because I've only learnt suspension.
The terms look alot like each other.
#35
Quote by liampje
Ow so suspended means that its a chord with a new dird and suspension is when you use it in context with the original third?
And I didn't knew what the difference was between suspension and suspended.
Mainly because I've only learnt suspension.
The terms look alot like each other.


they look a lot like each other because they're built on the same principle. a Csus4 naturally resolves to Cmaj - the F in the Csus4 wants to resolve to the E in Cmaj, similar to how the F in G7 wants to resolve to the E in Cmaj. same principle.

but don't fool yourself into thinking that the only possible suspension is a 4-3.
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#36
Quote by MikeDodge
The type of gigs where the lead sheets are either one to two non-Diatonic chord vamps or they are heads that blow through a number of non-diatonic chord where the modes/scales are constantly changing resolving back to the beginning. What you might call Modal Interchange stuff.


Well I'm never happy with "modal interchange", at least as using it as a term instead of "borrowed chord". It may just be me but it seems like a lot of examples that you've listed are just you approaching a chord structure with CST rather than the traditional modal vamp songs, or movements through different vamps.

If it is simply an application of CST, you could argue that EVERY song is a modal song, and I'm not exactly satisfied with that claim either.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#37
Quote by AlanHB
Well I'm never happy with "modal interchange", at least as using it as a term instead of "borrowed chord". It may just be me but it seems like a lot of examples that you've listed are just you approaching a chord structure with CST rather than the traditional modal vamp songs, or movements through different vamps.

If it is simply an application of CST, you could argue that EVERY song is a modal song, and I'm not exactly satisfied with that claim either.


I don't like that term either, that's why I led with "What you might call...". I would call them borrowed chords or even modal progressions as opposed to modal interchange but that would be like cutting hairs I guess. There's plenty of other names for them too, I just call them modal.

I consider these types of progressions (multi-modal maybe?) more modal than a straight one chord modal vamps, at least in it's simplest form. Meaning, a lot of people will stay in one scale and there is no movement in their playing, no tension and release, because they are always playing OVER the chord instead of TO the chord. When I play a straight one chord modal vamp I rarely ever just use one scale. It's more free form and can be approached more openly through not even thinking scale but instead tension and release, or what some might call using multiple scales over one chord.

When playing through these types of of progressions I've posted there's more direction based on the harmony movement, so there's more "scale" information spelled out for you based on the chords. Beyond that there are ton of ways to follow that movement.

I've only presented two ways of following that movement. Regardless though, if you're going to play over progressions like that, you are going to need multiple scales.
Last edited by MikeDodge at Jun 1, 2011,
#38
Modal interchange/borrowed chords are interchangeable. Mode refers to a minor or major key.
#39
Quote by AlanHB
Well I'm never happy with "modal interchange", at least as using it as a term instead of "borrowed chord". It may just be me but it seems like a lot of examples that you've listed are just you approaching a chord structure with CST rather than the traditional modal vamp songs, or movements through different vamps.

If it is simply an application of CST, you could argue that EVERY song is a modal song, and I'm not exactly satisfied with that claim either.

What does CST stand for?
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#40
Quote by Venice King
What does CST stand for?


going to guess chord-scale theory.
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