#1
Lately in my music theory studies I have taken an interest in modes. I understand the concept of them very well (not a hard thing to learn), but I find myself stuck while playing on what to do with them. For instance, I recorded myself playing a C Major chord and looped it while I tried improvising an E phrygian mode (which has all the notes in the C Major scale) and it didn't sound right to me. Am I using the mode correctly, and whether or not I am, how can use modes to enhance my sound and give it "personality"?
#2
You claim to understand the concept, but you're playing E 'phrygian' over a C major?? What you're doing is playing a C major scale starting on E, probably you don't even end on E, cause the C sounds nicely resolved right?

Try playing E phrygian over droning an Em chord. Try to hear the difference between this and playing over C major. And...read all the mode stuff again, cause you seem far away from comprehending it. There some good stickies here on this forum.
Last edited by DearMoose at Jun 30, 2011,
#4
Wow, you read those in 6 minutes. You must be reading with two eyes seperately.
#5
Quote by DearMoose
Wow, you read those in 6 minutes. You must be reading with two eyes seperately.


Hahah, well I found the stickies after posting this, so I've been reading them for almost half an hour. I'm glad someone addressed the concept of modes in a way that many new musicians will be able to grasp.
#6
Tbh you're not using them right.
What you're doing is using the Cmajor scale, but just starting on C.
You need an understanding of keys, and harmony, chord functions etc before you even start to THINK about this stuff. I dont bother. And you shouldnt bother until you are ready.
Edit: ALSO, if you want to give your music personality i'd suggest devolping your own style and experiment. Learn more theory and how to use it. But with modes for example at this point it isnt going to help you, only hinder your understanding
-your friendly neighborhood spiderman
Last edited by greeneyegat at Jun 30, 2011,
#7
Haha. New musicans would not be able to grasp modes correctly as they require a knowledge of major and minor scales, keys and harmonisation first. You're simply misunderstanding modes because you dont have the fundamentals to work from.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#8
Quote by BigJellybean
Lately in my music theory studies I have taken an interest in modes. I understand the concept of them very well (not a hard thing to learn), but I find myself stuck while playing on what to do with them. For instance, I recorded myself playing a C Major chord and looped it while I tried improvising an E phrygian mode (which has all the notes in the C Major scale) and it didn't sound right to me. Am I using the mode correctly, and whether or not I am, how can use modes to enhance my sound and give it "personality"?


Hello, we get this question a lot, and I can understand the lure and appeal of the "idea" of modes. The best thing I can tell you is most people who come claiming to understand modes, actually have it wrong.

To truly understand modes, you need a solid understanding of theory and diatonic harmony, meaning that you've learned them, been applying them for a while, understand the analysis and formation and function of chords within songs, and have developed through modal interchange, understand the composition of all chords, and things like modulation, cadences etc.

Then you have to broaden your understanding from diatonic to tonal harmony and functions within a key.

If you have done all of these things, now you can start asking questions, because you'll have the knowledge to understand the answer given, and can put it to use.

If you are wondering "How do I do this? How do I learn?" There are many ways.

1. Stay on this forum long enough and listen and learn to identify the ones who speak that have their facts straight, you'll know them, because you'll rarely see their posts being disputed, and, often agreed with.

2. Teach yourself, buy books, go to the library, do your own needle in a haystack search on the Internet. I don't know where that Needle is because I know of no shortcuts to understanding.

3. Get a private teacher, or enroll in a number of music classes in school, or composition classes etc, depending upon your age. This is the best.

5. If those aren't an option, we (My Guitar School in the sig below) also teaches theory as well as Modes, but this isnt a commercial for this, it's just to list all your options available. To make it even less "attractive" I will tell you that you'd have a while before I took you through modes should you decide that you wanted to go that route, because Mode understanding requires a foundation. We build that foundation rather than just throw people into Modes.

Finally to remove some of the fog, and gloss of Modes as they are "marketed" I want to close with this:

Modes are not all that mystical, and they aren't the holy grail people expect them to be. They will not necessarily do what you are wishing they would.

My thought is that the music that you seek, will come from the inside, and not by any one scale. Familiarity with theory, pitch collections and understanding of the way music moves are all tools which will ultimately help you bring the music that's inside you wanting to come out and manifest itself in creative ways.

These skill sets can all make that inner voice easier to reach. Depending upon your commitment and investment, and the quality of the information and instruction, this could take months to years and years from right now. It really depends upon what you put into it.

Good luck! There's thousands that are where you are, and there's no magic secret besides the ones I just shared above. If you get this much from it you're well on your way to truly understanding the answer to your question.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jun 30, 2011,
#9
^ Sean, you're absolutely right, but uh...what happened to #4???
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#12
i have no idea what you're talking about, so here's a bunny with a pancake on it's head.

never mind, i can't find the link.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#14
These are the moments where people learn....
And bunnies get spammed.
Understand nothing, in order to learn everything.

Quote by liampje
I can write a coherent tune ... But 3/4? I play rock, not polka.
#16
Woah, way to spam this dudes thread with bunnies and pancakes. D bags lolz. But anyway, threadstarter, u really don't understand modes yet. You're definitely on your way. Just as important as the actual unique scales we call modes, are the chords that function in each modal setting. Here's a very very rough example of playing modally. Ill pick G phrygian. In phrygian, you have root, minor second, minor third, perfect 4 and 5, minor 6, and a minor seventh. So G phrygian is G Ab Bb C D Eb and F. So now you harmonize each note and turn them into chords. So, you're 1 chord is Gmin, 2 chord is Abmaj, 3 chord is Bb7, 4 chord is Cmin, your 5 is D diminished, your 6 chord is Ebmaj, and your last chord is Fmin. So, now what? Loop a progression using these chords, and improv using G phrygian. If any of that didn't make sense, you're not ready and you need to study a little more. Good luck dude! And to any of you theory snobs, sorry if I have some aspect of that wrong lolol. Plz correct me if I'm wrong
by the time you read this you will be wasting your time because it doesnt say anything
#17
Quote by hammettrocks
And to any of you theory snobs, sorry if I have some aspect of that wrong lolol. Plz correct me if I'm wrong


It's not quite THAT simple... . You have to make the progression resolve to the tonal center--in this case the G--which is much easier said than done. Using too many chords from the scale will inevitable lead towards a major or minor resolution. Borrowing outside chords to create this resolution will just make it a major/minor non-diatonic progression anyway. The simpler the better with modes. For G phrygian, maybe try a Ab -> Gm idea. If you try Ab -> Bb -> Gm, it will likely just sound like a deceptive cadence to Gm in the key of Eb.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#18
Quote by hammettrocks
Woah, way to spam this dudes thread with bunnies and pancakes. D bags lolz. But anyway, threadstarter, u really don't understand modes yet. You're definitely on your way. Just as important as the actual unique scales we call modes, are the chords that function in each modal setting. Here's a very very rough example of playing modally. Ill pick G phrygian. In phrygian, you have root, minor second, minor third, perfect 4 and 5, minor 6, and a minor seventh. So G phrygian is G Ab Bb C D Eb and F. So now you harmonize each note and turn them into chords. So, you're 1 chord is Gmin, 2 chord is Abmaj, 3 chord is Bb7, 4 chord is Cmin, your 5 is D diminished, your 6 chord is Ebmaj, and your last chord is Fmin. So, now what? Loop a progression using these chords, and improv using G phrygian. If any of that didn't make sense, you're not ready and you need to study a little more. Good luck dude! And to any of you theory snobs, sorry if I have some aspect of that wrong lolol. Plz correct me if I'm wrong


Hello,

I started the bunny as a joke, but I also had given a great detailed response to the TS.

I won't correct you but I will ask you to write a progression that you suggest and post up an improvisation over it that will not want to feel resolved on the E...

Best,

Sean
#19
Quote by soviet_ska
It's not quite THAT simple... . You have to make the progression resolve to the tonal center--in this case the G--which is much easier said than done. Using too many chords from the scale will inevitable lead towards a major or minor resolution. Borrowing outside chords to create this resolution will just make it a major/minor non-diatonic progression anyway. The simpler the better with modes. For G phrygian, maybe try a Ab -> Gm idea. If you try Ab -> Bb -> Gm, it will likely just sound like a deceptive cadence to Gm in the key of Eb.


Like I said, very very rough lol. But yah, I totally forgot to even talk about resolution! Mah bayd guys. And yah, I also should have said the simpler the better. A 2 chord vamping works great for modal play. Gmin7 and Abmaj7 back and forth as a loop with Gphrygian played over with emphasis on the center. I feel you my man! Thanks for clearing some stuff up
by the time you read this you will be wasting your time because it doesnt say anything
#20
You are going to need to have a droning E in the bass through all chords.
However you can use modes in your own way.
For example I use my modes just like in the C major material I say F major is my root and I have got the material of C major, leaving me with a sharp 4th.
Having a constant drone pisses me off somehow.
However this is my own ''version'' of the modes, people nowadays call it just a major or minor scale with accidentals mostly.
I just call it lydian dorian etc.
Check out my ''lydian'' solo on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q220CQyZbiY
Notice how I don't have an E in my bass with the rhythm.
I just make clear that E G# B and A# are my most important notes because E G# and B is the E major triad and A# is my so called lydian note that makes the scale lydian.