#1
I have to write a song in a mode for class, and I really don't know how

I understand the idea of them, but I don't know how to actually employ them.

I was listening to See The Leaves by The Flaming Lips and it's basically modal, except for the bridge, and so it gave me the idea to just do a two note riff.

I'm on G and F, but I don't really know where to go.
I'm not sure how or if I can make it G Dorian or G Phyrigian, but I'm not allowed to use Ionian or Aeolian.

I feel dumb for asking, because I see the mode threads on here and they're just crazy. I've read through the modes sticky, but I still am not sure exactly how to apply it.
And we will weave in and out of sanity unnoticed
Swirling in blissfully restless visions of all our bleary progress
Glowing in radiant madness
#2
When thinking modally think melodically. What's going to define a modal sound isn't anything harmonic, it's purely melodic. The simpler the underlying harmony (i.e. one or two chord vamps) the easier it will be to do something modal in the melody.

Also:

#4
when playing with modes i find it alot easier to just use a 2 chords vamp
or a drone note

i attempted to do that in this song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJnIyZUjf2E

its just a Gmaj7 chord followed by an Amaj chords vamp
#5
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
When thinking modally think melodically. What's going to define a modal sound isn't anything harmonic, it's purely melodic. The simpler the underlying harmony (i.e. one or two chord vamps) the easier it will be to do something modal in the melody.
This. Modal music is incredibly simple, especially in the harmony. The biggest thing to do is to not overthink it.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#6
Mate I reckon whoever has set your assignment has some funky ideas about modes, its not exactly an easy task. I'd either drone one note or appropriate chord and playba simple melody over it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#7
Quote by AlanHB
Mate I reckon whoever has set your assignment has some funky ideas about modes, its not exactly an easy task. I'd either drone one note or appropriate chord and playba simple melody over it.

Yeah

Well it doesn't have to be necessarily "modal" but they played some examples in class of songs using modes. For example, for Dorian, they used Black Magic Woman and Bind Melon's No Rain for Mixolydian and then some Steve Vai stuff for Lydian.
And we will weave in and out of sanity unnoticed
Swirling in blissfully restless visions of all our bleary progress
Glowing in radiant madness
#8
^^^ What's the wording of the assingment?

I ask this because those songs aren't modal, but use chords borrowed from the parallel major/minor. This is sometimes referred to as "modal mixture".
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#9
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ What's the wording of the assingment?

I ask this because those songs aren't modal, but use chords borrowed from the parallel major/minor. This is sometimes referred to as "modal mixture".


There's not really an exact wording, but the wanted us to branch out into these other sounds, staying away from natural major and minor. I guess you could call those "modal mixture" or whatever, but like the melody of the Blind Melon song is based on the 5th mode, or something like Marquee Moon by Television.
Writing songs that way basically. It's a contemporary songwriting class.
And we will weave in and out of sanity unnoticed
Swirling in blissfully restless visions of all our bleary progress
Glowing in radiant madness
#11
Quote by TDKshorty
There's not really an exact wording, but the wanted us to branch out into these other sounds, staying away from natural major and minor. I guess you could call those "modal mixture" or whatever, but like the melody of the Blind Melon song is based on the 5th mode, or something like Marquee Moon by Television.
Writing songs that way basically. It's a contemporary songwriting class.


Well the Blind Melon song certiainly isn't based on any mode, and if you're in a key you'll always be playing some form of the major or minor scale.

Just make a song which features non-diatonic chords at parts. These will lend themselves to accidentals in the melody.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#13
well, what mode is it?
if the root note is G, if you were to play in Lydian, you could play a C scale on top of it.
the way i see it, a mode is to give off a certain vibe/sound. try listening to "flying in a blue dream", it's so lydian it's ridiculous, but awesome. it would sound so flat if you played it with the root note as 1st.
Last edited by christianfs1 at Mar 25, 2013,
#14
^^^ So you like those accidentals, thats cool.

Otherwise the song is not modal and I dont know what you mean "played it with the root as 1st".
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#15
Quote by TDKshorty
I have to write a song in a mode for class, and I really don't know how

I understand the idea of them, but I don't know how to actually employ them.

I was listening to See The Leaves by The Flaming Lips and it's basically modal, except for the bridge, and so it gave me the idea to just do a two note riff.

I'm on G and F, but I don't really know where to go.
I'm not sure how or if I can make it G Dorian or G Phyrigian, but I'm not allowed to use Ionian or Aeolian.

I feel dumb for asking, because I see the mode threads on here and they're just crazy. I've read through the modes sticky, but I still am not sure exactly how to apply it.


How is it that you are in a class that is presumably supposed to be teaching you the skill sets and knowledge required, to be able to do the homework?

Best,

Sean
#16
Quote by TDKshorty
I have to write a song in a mode for class, and I really don't know how

I understand the idea of them, but I don't know how to actually employ them.

I was listening to See The Leaves by The Flaming Lips and it's basically modal, except for the bridge, and so it gave me the idea to just do a two note riff.

I'm on G and F, but I don't really know where to go.
I'm not sure how or if I can make it G Dorian or G Phyrigian, but I'm not allowed to use Ionian or Aeolian.

I feel dumb for asking, because I see the mode threads on here and they're just crazy. I've read through the modes sticky, but I still am not sure exactly how to apply it.

This "class" shouldn't even be asking you to do this. But here is an idea for you to employ E Lydian.

------
-9-11-9
-9-11-9
-9-11-9
------
-0-0--0-

Job ****ing done.
#17
My first thought is a faux folk song. Come up with a simple Mixolydian melody, maybe in 3/4. Try to come up with lyrics: maybe humourously juxtaposing modern issues to old-style folk language ("My true love has lost her I-Pad"). Then just alternate the tonic chord and another from the mode to make a vamp. You can vary the chords with extensions and still retain the modal sound.

Anything more harmonically complex will be a lot more difficult to write without straying into a key.
#18
Use counterpoint and harmonize horizontally. You can produce rather complex modal pieces with this method. C lydian is not only droning a C and play a C scale with a F# in it.

You should know that there's a bunch of anti-mode cops running this forum who discard everything as not modal unless your name is Miles Davis and you play 20 Dm chords after each other while playing a B once in a while.

Even in Renaissance modal counterpoint it was common to use a leading tone while for example in dorian (in G for example F#). It's even a HARD rule when leading into Gm, but correct me if I'm wrong. Horizontal movements that lead to vertical sonorities like Gm - C - Am - D could be well considered as dorian.

But the self acclaimed anti-mode elite here thinks it's just G minor with an E accidental although an Eb is never used hereby disqualifying almost the whole pre-Baroque era to just 'accidentals'.

Quite funny.

*shitstorm awaiting*
Last edited by deHufter at Mar 25, 2013,
#19
A-7, D7

Repeat a lot

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#20
Quote by deHufter
Use counterpoint and harmonize horizontally. You can produce rather complex modal pieces with this method. C lydian is not only droning a C and play a C scale with a F# in it.

You should know that there's a bunch of anti-mode cops running this forum who discard everything as not modal unless your name is Miles Davis and you play 20 Dm chords after each other while playing a B once in a while.

Even in Renaissance modal counterpoint it was common to use a leading tone while for example in dorian (in G for example F#). It's even a HARD rule when leading into Gm, but correct me if I'm wrong. Horizontal movements that lead to vertical sonorities like Gm - C - Am - D could be well considered as dorian.

But the self acclaimed anti-mode elite here thinks it's just G minor with an E accidental although an Eb is never used hereby disqualifying almost the whole pre-Baroque era to just 'accidentals'.

Quite funny.

*shitstorm awaiting*

Or it could be considered as "melodic minor". It's not rare to use major 6th in minor. "Dorian sound" is about major 6th and minor 7th and 3rd.
Quote by AlanHB
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#21
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Or it could be considered as "melodic minor". It's not rare to use major 6th in minor. "Dorian sound" is about major 6th and minor 7th and 3rd.


The context is a final vertical cadence. Of course there's a minor 7th as passing tone in the melody or to make a F major sonority.
#22
Quote by Sean0913
How is it that you are in a class that is presumably supposed to be teaching you the skill sets and knowledge required, to be able to do the homework?

Best,

Sean


Well they talked about it and gave us a paper that broke it down, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to understand well enough, right away, to write a song out of it.

I just don't understand why people dislike modes in this forum. I guess I just also don't understand modes very well.

This paper I have breaks it down and it seems like some pretty good stuff.
Like if I were playing in F lydian I would have a G major instead of a G minor and a B dim instead of a B major.

I still don't know how to apply it to a song. When I hear something that uses a mode, it just registers as major or minor for the most part. I can sometimes tell what they're using but, I guess it's just not as natural to me as the natural majors and minors.


I guess one of my biggest question's is, that natural major and natural minor are techincally modes, why aren't the other modes employed so commonly?

EDIT: So I stated this earlier, and to just finally clarify. It doesn't have to be a modal song, but be a song that incorporates modes and they specifically told us to stay away from using natural major and minor.
And we will weave in and out of sanity unnoticed
Swirling in blissfully restless visions of all our bleary progress
Glowing in radiant madness
Last edited by TDKshorty at Mar 26, 2013,
#23
Quote by deHufter
The context is a final vertical cadence. Of course there's a minor 7th as passing tone in the melody or to make a F major sonority.

Iirc, since modal music is not concerned with resolution, it also would not be concerned with cadences. Cadences are various forms of resolution, after all.
A half cadence leads to either another cadence or to repeating itself as many times as required. A deceptive cadence "tricks" the ear. An imperfect cadence leads to the ear to feel as if the tension is hanging. A perfect cadence feels resolved.

Anyway, since modal songs do NOT resolve, why would they deal with cadences?

Quote by TDKshorty
I just don't understand why people dislike modes in this forum. I guess I just also don't understand modes very well.

Mainly because most of us feel that being purely modal is very limiting. However, your assignment seems to be using modes as de facto scales in a tonal song.

This paper I have breaks it down and it seems like some pretty good stuff.
Like if I were playing in F lydian I would have a G major instead of a G minor and a B dim instead of a B major.

That's thinking of modes in a tonal manner. As someone pointed to me recently, modes don't really use triads, because modes were developed by the Middle Ages Catholic Church. The Church at that time did not use triads very much.
Point is, if you're writing a truly modal song (as opposed to using modes in a tonal manner), then most people use either pitch axis theory or use modal vamps. Of the two, modal vamps are the easiest to understand. They're basically 2-chord rhythm section, where the chords only contain the notes within the mode. For E Ionian (which contains E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, & D#), you might have a Emaj7/9 (which would contain E, F#, G#, & D#) and a Amaj7 (which would contain A, C#, E, & G#). Naturally, you could come up with lots of other chords as well (provided you only use the 7 notes within the E Ionian mode), but that is a 2 simple chord example. Simply use whatever chords you choose in whatever rhythm you want.

Also, the point is not to resolve, so avoid natural resolutions. Modal songs don't resolve like tonal songs do. Instead, modal songs focus on the melody; there's very little to do with harmony (resolution being an aspect of harmony) in a modal song.

I still don't know how to apply it to a song. When I hear something that uses a mode, it just registers as major or minor for the most part. I can sometimes tell what they're using but, I guess it's just not as natural to me as the natural majors and minors.

Well, all the examples that you have been giving use modes in a tonal manner. Therefore, it's natural that you'd think of them as having a major or minor feel.


I guess one of my biggest question's is, that natural major and natural minor are techincally modes, why aren't the other modes employed so commonly?
Because the natural major and minor, when used in the tonal realm, lend themselves well to use of accidentals. This allows a composer to essentially do whatever they want with the composition tools they employ. That's why the people in this forum emphasize learning said composition tools.


Really, whoever seems to be teaching your course is teaching you how to use modes in the tonal realm, more than teaching you that modes are actually on their own, in what I call the modal realm. That's fine, as long as you (and hopefully, the teacher and everyone else) gets the difference.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 26, 2013,
#25
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
^Almost none of that is correct.

It is if you use modes in the traditional manner, as opposed to how Jazz musicians use them. Although, to be fair, Jazz musicians use modes in a tonal manner.
#27
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
use modes in the tonal realm

i've seen you say this or something similar a bunch of times and i still have no idea what it's supposed to mean

the whole distinction is that tonal music != modal music so i don't know where these "realms" intersect
#28
Quote by :-D
i've seen you say this or something similar a bunch of times and i still have no idea what it's supposed to mean

the whole distinction is that tonal music != modal music so i don't know where these "realms" intersect

It means that you use modes in the same way that you use scales in tonal music. In other words, people use the intervals of the whatever mode as a scales. A fair amount of guitar players do it, and think they're doing something modal. The smart ones do it and realize they're just using the lydian mode (for example) as a scale. The smartest ones don't even bother to call it "mode" or "modal" or "modal in the tonal realm" or "the lydian scale", but instead say they're using a key and emphasizing certain accidentals to color the piece.

I usually say "modal in the tonal realm", because for some reason we have a bunch of people who think that using the modes as scales is cool or whatever. Of course, they think it's acceptable because "Kirk Hammet did it" or whatever.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 26, 2013,
#29
I always cringe when people make up these supposed 'rules' of modal music...

>can't use any other notes
>limiting
>2 chord vamps
>Song is either tonal or modal blah blah blah

...right

Numerous modal melodies and tonal domains within a 5 minute peice, far from limiting...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I97jIw0QGc
#30
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
It is if you use modes in the traditional manner, as opposed to how Jazz musicians use them. Although, to be fair, Jazz musicians use modes in a tonal manner.

Okay...
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Iirc, since modal music is not concerned with resolution, it also would not be concerned with cadences. Cadences are various forms of resolution, after all.
A half cadence leads to either another cadence or to repeating itself as many times as required. A deceptive cadence "tricks" the ear. An imperfect cadence leads to the ear to feel as if the tension is hanging. A perfect cadence feels resolved.

Anyway, since modal songs do NOT resolve, why would they deal with cadences?

Modal music is VERY concerned with resolution. The idea that modal music doesn't resolve or somehow has weaker resolution than tonal music is totally insane. The idea of cadences and the term cadence has been around virtually since the start of Western music, that is to say that modal music definitely has cadences.
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Mainly because most of us feel that being purely modal is very limiting. However, your assignment seems to be using modes as de facto scales in a tonal song.

No it's not. The assignment is asking him to write a modal song. It's not complicated, hell it's not even difficult. There's also nothing more limited about modes than there is about major/minor tonality. You are as free to use as many accidentals and alter as many harmonies as you want and still remain within the realm of 'modality' whatever that means. What's most alarming is that people still think with those parameters.
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
That's thinking of modes in a tonal manner. As someone pointed to me recently, modes don't really use triads, because modes were developed by the Middle Ages Catholic Church. The Church at that time did not use triads very much.

Modal music ABSOLUTELY uses triads. Triads had their origins in modal music. the idea of stacking harmony in thirds and sixths (i.e. a triad) goes back to about 1500 when people were still writing music that was very much modal. That whole bit about the church is just... wrong, I have no way to say it other than that. It's simply made up.
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Point is, if you're writing a truly modal song (as opposed to using modes in a tonal manner), then most people use either pitch axis theory or use modal vamps. Of the two, modal vamps are the easiest to understand. They're basically 2-chord rhythm section, where the chords only contain the notes within the mode. For E Ionian (which contains E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, & D#), you might have a Emaj7/9 (which would contain E, F#, G#, & D#) and a Amaj7 (which would contain A, C#, E, & G#). Naturally, you could come up with lots of other chords as well (provided you only use the 7 notes within the E Ionian mode), but that is a 2 simple chord example. Simply use whatever chords you choose in whatever rhythm you want.

It might be true that most people that use modes use either vamps or pitch axis, but those are far from the only available options. Modal music can be just as sophisticated as tonal music.
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Also, the point is not to resolve, so avoid natural resolutions. Modal songs don't resolve like tonal songs do. Instead, modal songs focus on the melody; there's very little to do with harmony (resolution being an aspect of harmony) in a modal song.

We already talked about this. Totally wrong. Modes resolve, modes have harmony, the sole purpose of harmony is not resolution. A melody can resolve just as satisfactorily with or without harmony.
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Because the natural major and minor, when used in the tonal realm, lend themselves well to use of accidentals. This allows a composer to essentially do whatever they want with the composition tools they employ. That's why the people in this forum emphasize learning said composition tools.

Tonal music doesn't allow you to do whatever you want. It forces you to filter everything through the lens of traditional dissonance and consonance, with dissonance always being chained to resolution. Again, tonal music is just as limiting as anything else. Modal music is not as limiting as people like to pretend. It's still scary that we think in terms like modal vs tonal in 2013.
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Really, whoever seems to be teaching your course is teaching you how to use modes in the tonal realm, more than teaching you that modes are actually on their own, in what I call the modal realm. That's fine, as long as you (and hopefully, the teacher and everyone else) gets the difference.

Sense. This makes none of it. I seriously have no idea what your whole bit about 'modes in a tonal realm' is about.


I'm not trying to be an asshole, I swear to god, but there's so much misinformation out there I have to say something at some point.
#31
^^^ I think the issue in this case is what exactly the teacher thinks modes are. To me it just sounds like using a non-diatonic chord here and there.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#32
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Modal music is VERY concerned with resolution. The idea that modal music doesn't resolve or somehow has weaker resolution than tonal music is totally insane. The idea of cadences and the term cadence has been around virtually since the start of Western music, that is to say that modal music definitely has cadences.

...

No it's not. The assignment is asking him to write a modal song. It's not complicated, hell it's not even difficult. There's also nothing more limited about modes than there is about major/minor tonality. You are as free to use as many accidentals and alter as many harmonies as you want and still remain within the realm of 'modality' whatever that means. What's most alarming is that people still think with those parameters.


A mode may not have the possibility of V7-I, so in this way the resolution will be weaker than the corresponding cadence in a major key. The fact that V7-I is so strong means it CAN be difficult to write a modal song of any harmonic complexity which doesn't sound like it wants to resolve to a relative key centre.

You're not completely free to use whatever accidentals you wish. The reason for using modes is to achieve the signature sound of that mode. If your accidentals alter the signature notes of the mode you won't get that sound, and you may as well not be using modes.
#34
One idea would be to pick a family of modes such as major modes (lydian, ionian and mixolydian), and explore them all over a static major tonality. Or alternatively take a lydian type voicing and move it around keys. For an example of this see Heyoke by Kenny Wheeler
#35
Quote by jazz_rock_feel

I'm not trying to be an asshole, I swear to god, but there's so much misinformation out there I have to say something at some point.


+1

People here have been so against modes that they've written everything off as tonal (I've been guilty of this), to the point where they completely ignore the composers compositional process in favor of "major key with accidentals".
#36
Bagpipe music. That is an example of traditional modal music if that is what you are looking to get the feel for.