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#1
I lied, this is a post about modes. I just want to know if what I am thinking is correct. After reading several articles, what I have deduced, is the following:
Say you are playing in C Major, (CDEFGAB), but you are either playing it over a droning E note, or always resolving to an E tonic. Would it then said to be in E Phrygian?

Or do I have this concept way wrong?
#2
Modes are too overcomplicated. I think of it like this:
C Ionian: Available chords: Cmaj Dmin Emin Fmaj Gmaj Amin Bdim.
D Dorian: Chords: Dmin Emin Fmaj Gmaj Amin Bdim Cmaj
E Phrygian:Chords: ...
and so on. I use them as scales. Some say don't, some say do. In reality, it's all a bunch of notes. Use them how you see fit and don't preoccupy yourself with sticking with the rules. The greatest musicians are the ones that secede from the norm and don't abide by such rules.
#3
Quote by Lord_Hondros
I lied, this is a post about modes. I just want to know if what I am thinking is correct. After reading several articles, what I have deduced, is the following:
Say you are playing in C Major


I stopped reading here.

Either the articles you have read are incorrect or you have misunderstood them. When a song is in a key, that is anything in x major or y minor, you can only play the x major or y minor scales over them. So if the key is C major, irrespective of what notes you play, you will always be playing the C major scale with accidentals.

Quote by carnagereap666
Modes are too overcomplicated. I think of it like this:
C Ionian: Available chords: Cmaj Dmin Emin Fmaj Gmaj Amin Bdim.
D Dorian: Chords: Dmin Emin Fmaj Gmaj Amin Bdim Cmaj
E Phrygian:Chords: ...
and so on. I use them as scales. Some say don't, some say do. In reality, it's all a bunch of notes. Use them how you see fit and don't preoccupy yourself with sticking with the rules. The greatest musicians are the ones that secede from the norm and don't abide by such rules.


It doesn't look like you're using them as scales to me. It looks like you're harmonising them in the same way you would the major or minor scale. Whilst this is a good exercise, when you put this into practice the vast majority of chord progressions that will result from your templates will not be modal, but instead within a major or minor key.

If you used them as "scales", that's fine. Quite often people will use modal "scales" as a method of visualising the major or minor scale with accidentals. It's a lot easier to say "dorian", rather than "minor with natural 6th". As long as you recognise that you're just playing the major/minor scales with accidentals it's all good. However I'm not sure if you're exactly there, considering you've drawn up a chord chart for paint the numbers modes.

However, some people's use of them is not altering the major/minor scale at all, and just starting on a different note, and heralding the complete change of sound they have created. Alternatively some state that it's the chord underneath that is relevant to the mode, with no regard to the key whatsoever. These latter two situations are extremely commonplace and should be ignored at all costs.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
Quote by carnagereap666
The greatest musicians are the ones that secede from the norm and don't abide by such rules.


damn, bach must be terrible.

Quote by Lord_Hondros
I lied, this is a post about modes. I just want to know if what I am thinking is correct. After reading several articles, what I have deduced, is the following:
Say you are playing in C Major, (CDEFGAB), but you are either playing it over a droning E note, or always resolving to an E tonic. Would it then said to be in E Phrygian?

Or do I have this concept way wrong?


you don't have it way wrong. the only thing wrong here is you said "in C major". if you're in E phrygian, you're not in C major. other than that, you've basically got it.

caveat: try not to use too many notes outside of the mode, because then it will sound like the parallel major or minor. if you're playing in E phrygian and you start throwing F#s in everywhere, it'll just be E minor, even if you go back to using F naturals.

basically just resolve to the E while working to NOT make it sound like a key, and you've got it.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#5
You wouldn't be playing in C major if the music resolved to E. Playing modally is a somewhat complicated thing in itself: I see you've taken the drone method. Note that this does not necessarily make your composition modal.

As far as progressions, the less chords you use, generally the better. If you use too many (4+) from the E Phrygian scale, it's almost guaranteed to want to resolve to C major or A minor.

EDIT: Alan, you misattributed your second quote. It was actually from carnage's reply and not the TS. Don't know if that contributed to some confusion, I just happened to spot it.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
Last edited by soviet_ska at Jul 12, 2011,
#6
Well, I don't know too much about classical composers, but wasn't he in time when music hadn't fully evolved into the thing it is today? I suppose I should have said MODERN musicians instead.


It doesn't look like you're using them as scales to me. It looks like you're harmonising them in the same way you would the major or minor scale. Whilst this is a good exercise, when you put this into practice the vast majority of chord progressions that will result from your templates will not be modal, but instead within a major or minor key.


When I write using a mode, I think of it like a scale and treat it as such. I don't think modes are "the holy grail of music theory" as some people think. I say just make music and don't worry about whether it's following a certain scale, or the chords are working. Just have fun with it.
#7
Quote by carnagereap666
Well, I don't know too much about classical composers, but wasn't he in time when music hadn't fully evolved into the thing it is today? I suppose I should have said MODERN musicians instead.


Without trying to get too involved, you can be great honoring or shattering the rules. Suffice to say you like the latter?


Quote by carnagereap666

When I write using a mode, I think of it like a scale and treat it as such. I don't think modes are "the holy grail of music theory" as some people think. I say just make music and don't worry about whether it's following a certain scale, or the chords are working. Just have fun with it.


This is idea of suggestive play if I'm understanding you correctly. Getting the characteristic sounds of a mode without getting bogged down in the strictly modal/competing with the resolution to major/minor crap. In my opinion, this is about as far as one needs to go with modal ideas.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#8
Quote by soviet_ska
Without trying to get too involved, you can be great honoring or shattering the rules. Suffice to say you like the latter?


This is idea of suggestive play if I'm understanding you correctly. Getting the characteristic sounds of a mode without getting bogged down in the strictly modal/competing with the resolution to major/minor crap. In my opinion, this is about as far as one needs to go with modal ideas.



Well, rules are made to be broken. Problem is, there are no rules in music!


I am not too sure of what suggestive play is exactly. I learned the modes as scales and treat them as such. That's all I know or care about.
#9
Quote by Lord_Hondros
I lied, this is a post about modes. I just want to know if what I am thinking is correct. After reading several articles, what I have deduced, is the following:
Say you are playing in C Major, (CDEFGAB), but you are either playing it over a droning E note, or always resolving to an E tonic. Would it then said to be in E Phrygian?

Or do I have this concept way wrong?


I see what you are saying, but a little tweak and you'll have it dead on

You can play the notes of C Major - in other words the equivalent, but in naming it (functionally) It's in E Phrygian, if you resolve it to E or over a drone note. Absolutely.

If you are playing IN C Major, then it IS C Major.

Best,

Sean
#10
Quote by carnagereap666
I am not too sure of what suggestive play is exactly. I learned the modes as scales and treat them as such. That's all I know or care about.


That's really it, in a nut-shell.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#12
Quote by soviet_ska
EDIT: Alan, you misattributed your second quote. It was actually from carnage's reply and not the TS. Don't know if that contributed to some confusion, I just happened to spot it.


Hey! You're right! *Fixed*

Carnage, as long as you know that you are just playing the major and minor scale with accidentals I don't see the problem with using modes in that fashion.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#13
Short answer. Yes!

Yes you are playing in E Phrygian..but can we really call that a key? If you were sightreading a piece in E Phrygian the key signature would be C. Of course it does not resolve to C but rather to E. However, it still helps to think of C as the parent scale. I prefer to think of modes as chord scales. In this case, play C major over and E minor chord and you have the sound of E Phrygian. When playing over a2-5-1 in C major, we are targeting notes from the Dm chord, then the G7 chord then the C major chord. That could be thought of as D Dorian, G Mixolydian and C ionian. However, isnt it easier to think C major and then use the chords to tell you which notes to target?
Andy
#14
Quote by AlanHB

However, some people's use of them is not altering the major/minor scale at all, and just starting on a different note, and heralding the complete change of sound they have created. Alternatively some state that it's the chord underneath that is relevant to the mode, with no regard to the key whatsoever. These latter two situations are extremely commonplace and should be ignored at all costs.



Quote by Andy_Mclaughlan
In this case, play C major over and E minor chord and you have the sound of E Phrygian. When playing over a2-5-1 in C major, we are targeting notes from the Dm chord, then the G7 chord then the C major chord. That could be thought of as D Dorian, G Mixolydian and C ionian. However, isnt it easier to think C major and then use the chords to tell you which notes to target?


Andy, this is an incorrect method of approaching both modes and CST theory, resulting in no change to the C major scale at all, and thus achieving nothing.

Firstly it depends on the resolve. If I played the notes of the C major scale over a progression that resolved to E, yes, the accidentals employed would result in the E phrygian scale. However, if the progression resolves to anything else, the scale will not be E phrygian. If the progression resolved to A for example (think Am - Em - G - Am) then the scale will merely be A minor, and not sound phrygian at all due to the lack of accidentals.


Next your demonstration of CST theory is flawed because it doesn't change the notes or sound achieved by using merely the C major scale. CST theory acts to give extra note choices to a musician, not to replicate a scale and call it something else. An acceptable application of CST theory to achieve something different than C major would be "over C I could play C lydian or C mixolydian, over the G I could play G lydian or G ionian, and over the D I could play D phrygian or D aoelian". So you are right in just thinking "why not emphasise the chord tones?", because that's exactly the approach you should take if you are NOT using CST.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#15
Why do people say that they're just not playing by the "rules?" Everyone here knows that there are no rules. But when you are trying to describe and explain what you are doing musically, then there is a right and a wrong way of doing that.
^^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
#16
Quote by rockingamer2
Why do people say that they're just not playing by the "rules?" Everyone here knows that there are no rules.


Good point, T.J. Music theory is positive, not normative. I cringe when people state something like: music theory dictates that...
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#17
Quote by rockingamer2
Why do people say that they're just not playing by the "rules?" Everyone here knows that there are no rules. But when you are trying to describe and explain what you are doing musically, then there is a right and a wrong way of doing that.


I think people use the term "rules" in three contexts:

1. Ignorance - they don't understand theory to start with, so this is just one other manifestation of that ignorance.

2. Justification and Rationalization - Call it a "rule" and you appear to have an enlightened rationale for not bothering with it, rather than acknowledge your own unwillingness to put the work in - wrap yourself in flag of "free expression" and "just play" and you cloak your own laziness and lack of ambition.

3. Parrots - They've seen others say the same thing and so they parrot it, it sounds cool/wise/reasonable, but they've never applied their own critical thinking to the idea to examine its merits.

I know of no theory person that knows their stuff that sees theory as a rule or system of rules in any way, and have found those that do also tend to have huge gaps in their understanding to start with.

Your experience may differ.

Best,

Sean
#18
modes are actually really simple. but information on them is all over the place which makes things harder.

OP, if there is a key, its not modal. if you were playing in C major, good luck actually resolving it to E. the mere fact that claiming it's in "C" means it resolves to C, not E. just ending on an E doesnt mean you are resolving it there.

modal music is usually over a drone or a vamp. rarely do they use more than two chords because the more chords you use, the more you tend to lose the modal suggestion. i have yet to see an example of a modal song with three chords that couldnt be explained with a key and accidentals. when you bring in more than two chords, the progression starts to lean towards another key. that key will probably share the same notes as the mode you were intending to play, but its not in that mode anymore.

the complicated part of modes is trying to push the limits of modal sounds, but still keeping the modal sound. modes are actually really strict. funny how people think modes open so many doors, you actually have TONS more freedom without them.
#19
Quote by Lord_Hondros
I lied, this is a post about modes. I just want to know if what I am thinking is correct. After reading several articles, what I have deduced, is the following:
Say you are playing in C Major, (CDEFGAB), but you are either playing it over a droning E note, or always resolving to an E tonic. Would it then said to be in E Phrygian?

Or do I have this concept way wrong?

When you're playing modally you aren't playing in C major or E minor etc.
You are playing in C lydian for example.
This is what I constantly wrote here which pretty much annoyed everyone here.
To say it right you play in the material of C major but you're playing E phrygian.
For your question yes resolving to E or droning an E will make it phrygian.
Know that you aren't actually playing modes how they did it originally.
Make your own idea on modal playing, that's what I did, no-one can say I'm wrong now because it's MY ****ING WAY!
#20
Quote by liampje

Make your own idea on modal playing, that's what I did, no-one can say I'm wrong now because it's MY ****ING WAY!


Sorry to say, but things don't work like that, you know?
You can't change up definitions to your own liking.
#21
I don't like the idea of perceiving as modes as a rearrangement of the major scale. I think this is a good approach to help you memorize the modal patterns, but then you get all this murky language of 'is it C? Or E phrygian?' For understanding's sake, it's better to conceptualize them as individual scales/patterns with no relation to the major/minor key that shares their notes.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#22
Quote by Keth
Sorry to say, but things don't work like that, you know?
You can't change up definitions to your own liking.

Yes but my way is treating the E note as my tonic notem also making use of the typical sounds for that mode.
The weirdest thing is that when I said that that most people said it was wrong.
My own teacher explained it to me like that!
My teacher has got a conservatorium (Music college) in jazz so I think he knows where he is talking about.
He's a great teacher btw.
EDIT:Also I said that Joe Satriani and Steve Vai use modes and was told wrong while this thread https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=999592 at the part where he is talking about mixolydian he wrote that Joe Satriani uses this mode widely, and still it is in the best archives thread of music theory...
And artists like Joe Satriani and Dave Weiner did lessons on modes, Steve Vai told in an interview that modes are part of the expression in a song.
Last edited by liampje at Jul 13, 2011,
#23
Quote by liampje
My teacher has got a conservatorium (Music college) in jazz so I think he knows where he is talking about.


To be fair, Jazz is 1900's; modes are Middle Ages - Renaissance.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#24
Quote by soviet_ska
To be fair, Jazz is 1900's; modes are Middle Ages - Renaissance.

Well, he obviously wouldn't give me that lesson if he didn't knew that himself.
And read the edit too I just put it in there.
#25
Quote by liampje
Well, he obviously wouldn't give me that lesson if he didn't knew that himself.


Didn't you have a thread about bad teachers??

Both this and the Satriani/modes sticky seem to be argument from authority--a logical fallacy. I'm not saying that you're wrong since I don't know your teacher or study Satriani songs, but your logic is faulty.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#26
Quote by soviet_ska
I don't like the idea of perceiving as modes as a rearrangement of the major scale. I think this is a good approach to help you memorize the modal patterns, but then you get all this murky language of 'is it C? Or E phrygian?' For understanding's sake, it's better to conceptualize them as individual scales/patterns with no relation to the major/minor key that shares their notes.


if you don't approach it that way, then you're basically defeating the purpose of modes. not to say that you can't understand it any other way, but that was the basis of modal development -- that you take a scale and shift the tonic.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#27
Quote by AeolianWolf
if you don't approach it that way, then you're basically defeating the purpose of modes. not to say that you can't understand it any other way, but that was the basis of modal development -- that you take a scale and shift the tonic.


I think in retrospect we don't need to think of it like that. There are plenty of scales with weak resolutions that compete against other notes in said scale. Of course, my view is tainted by sifting through the crap information--or as I like to call it, crapformation--about modes pertaining to guitarists. It feels like this problem of understanding always occurs and it could be much easier.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#28
Quote by soviet_ska
I think in retrospect we don't need to think of it like that. There are plenty of scales with weak resolutions that compete against other notes in said scale. Of course, my view is tainted by sifting through the crap information--or as I like to call it, crapformation--about modes pertaining to guitarists. It feels like this problem of understanding always occurs and it could be much easier.


trust me -- the way we view concepts is very similar. it has a lot to do with why i'm very traditional in my views. but that's a story for another time.

i think it's just that crapformation that makes this concept seem worse than it is. i think you'd be hard-pressed to find a classical piano instructor that explained modes as this crap does to guitarists, and modes are mostly (mostly, as in not totally) within the domain of classical (as a blanket term) music, so i'm inclined to take the classical approach here.

that said, as with most things in music, you're probably better off being able to do it both ways.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#29
Why are guitarists always so obsessed with modes? It really does seem to be treated as the holy grail of music by guitarists.
Last edited by Jesse Clarkson at Jul 13, 2011,
#30
Quote by AeolianWolf
trust me -- the way we view concepts is very similar.


Allright, let's create a school of thought and call it the "East Coast School."

Quote by AeolianWolf
i think you'd be hard-pressed to find a classical piano instructor that explained modes as this crap does to guitarists, and modes are mostly (mostly, as in not totally) within the domain of classical (as a blanket term) music, so i'm inclined to take the classical approach here.


Absolutely. I guess I don't really see modes as very useful in their purest sense. I think that they should be taught as a way to introduce intermediates to new conceptual patterns--concluding with applications in suggestive play and modal interchange.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#31
Quote by Jesse Clarkson
Why are guitarists always so obsessed with modes? It really does seem to be treated as the holy grail of music by guitarists.


i think guitarmunky put it best. fancy names make them seem better than they really are, and they see their favorite guitarists talk about some awesome phrygian licks, so they view it as things they really need to learn.

Quote by soviet_ska
Absolutely. I guess I don't really see modes as very useful in their purest sense. I think that they should be taught as a way to introduce intermediates to new conceptual patterns--concluding with applications in suggestive play and modal interchange.


they're in the sense that every tool inside a toolbox is useful. they're just something else that a musician should have in his arsenal. they're useful, but the truth is that the key system will get you so much farther.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#33
Quote by Jesse Clarkson
I think we should all just learn modes from this guy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tkVz3GhxeI

I can already see the reactions.

That fancy name thing does add up though. Perhaps we should make a fancy name for the major scale.


oh, they have that. the major scale is also known as the ionian mode. man, listen all of mozart's ionian symphonies. aren't they fantastic?

Quote by Jesse Clarkson
Oh, and emailed because it wouldn't fit in PM.


i got it, read it, and i'll read it again later just to make sure i didn't miss anything, but it looks fine.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#34
Quote by AeolianWolf
oh, they have that. the major scale is also known as the ionian mode. man, listen all of mozart's ionian symphonies. aren't they fantastic?

They're dorian symphonies with a raised third and seventh. You must be stupid or something. Ionian symphonies...

Quote by AeolianWolf
i got it, read it, and i'll read it again later just to make sure i didn't miss anything, but it looks fine.

That's good, I type small so nobody can hear us.
Last edited by Jesse Clarkson at Jul 13, 2011,
#35
Quote by Jesse Clarkson
That's good, I type small so nobody can hear us.


yellow text is hard to read.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#37
Quote by soviet_ska

This is idea of suggestive play. Getting the characteristic sounds of a mode without getting bogged down in the strictly modal/competing with the resolution to major/minor crap.


THIS!! jesus, how many pointless mode threads would be saved if people knew this term and what it meant!? I've actually never heard that term to describe it but it fits perfectly with what people today do.
#38
Quote by liampje
Yes but my way is treating the E note as my tonic notem also making use of the typical sounds for that mode.
The weirdest thing is that when I said that that most people said it was wrong.
My own teacher explained it to me like that!
My teacher has got a conservatorium (Music college) in jazz so I think he knows where he is talking about.
He's a great teacher btw.
EDIT:Also I said that Joe Satriani and Steve Vai use modes and was told wrong while this thread https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=999592 at the part where he is talking about mixolydian he wrote that Joe Satriani uses this mode widely, and still it is in the best archives thread of music theory...
And artists like Joe Satriani and Dave Weiner did lessons on modes, Steve Vai told in an interview that modes are part of the expression in a song.

a lot of people "use" modes without making a modal song. i throw in dorian licks in blues all the time, but a blues isnt modal at all. jazz guys and people like satch and vai use modal patterns as a means of organizing accidentals. maybe not all the time, but they do, and i think this is where most of the confusion comes from. you'd be surprised how little a truely modal song comes up.

theres nothing wrong with using the patterns as a means of arranging accidentals, just as long as you dont confuse it with playing modally.
#40
I might name something incorrectly, but I have a question I'm interested in hearing an answer to.

Suppose I have the following chord progression
C#min9 (notes are C#, E, G#, B, D#) to F#7add11 (notes F#, A#, C#, E, B) to Esus2add#11 (notes E F# B A#) to E major.

Now, that progression could be described as being in E major using the #4 as an accidental throughout to "suggest" the Lydian sound. If that's what you'd like to call it, that would be fine with me.

To my ears however, the progression doesn't resolve to E major in the sense of the E major scale, because by the time we play the E major chord, the use of the A# has become so established by the chords that playing an A over the E chord would, to may ears, sound a little jarring. In my mind, I would still be expecting to hear A#. So, I would be inclined to call this progression an E Lydian progression, to express that to my ears, the scale we resolve to at the end of the progression isn't an E major scale, but an E major scale with a #4.

This doesn't really affect my own personal understanding of music, but I'd be interested in knowing what the correct way of expressing it to somebody else would be.
My name is Tom, feel free to use it.
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