#1
Hey, after a friend explained modal playing to me I decided to try it out.

With my understanding, playing a G major scale starting on C over a C major.chord would be C mixolydian?

But when I try this out I don't get that distinct mixolydian jazz fusion kinda thing I was expecting, it just sounds like I'm jamming in a major scale. I know that's technically what all the modes are, but it just didn't have that mixolydian vibe, it still carried the major scale kind of vibe.

Any pointers for this? It's really starting to frustrate me
It's not how big your pencil is; it's how you write your name.
#2
Yes.

Ignore modes.

Seriously. You need to learn how to use the major scale, first. You need to learn how to solo, how to use non-diatonic notes in your solos, how to utilize your chord tones in your solos, and how to let your ears and brain lead your solos, rather than your fingers.

Actually the notes of G major from C to C would be C Lydian, by the way. But, again, this isn't important. There is a time and a place for modal playing, but you aren't there yet.

Modes are a very tiny part of theory, and they're far less useful than you think they are.
#3
Sure. There's a lot of misinformation on modes out there, leading to extremely common incorrect theories about modes. One of these I've named "the dumbed down CST method" which if applied will result in the major scale and nothing more. This is what has been learnt by you peer and now passed to you.

So why do your modes sound like the major scale? Because you are playing the major scale, and not modes. You effectively have been taught a very complex method of playing the major scale.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
Quote by AlanHB
So why do your modes sound like the major scale? Because you are playing the major scale, and not modes. You effectively have been taught a very complex method of playing the major scale.

^This

Oh and
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#6
Also, C major with an F# in it (G major starting on C) is C lydian. C major with a Bb in it (F major starting on C) is C mixolydian.
#8
It was already pointed out that you were playing Lydian, not Mixolydian ...so I'll skip that ...

If you were wanting to get the "Mixolydian" sound, then you play the Mixolydian pattern/mode starting on the root of the key you are in.

So if you are playing a C major, you would play "C Mixolydian" which happens to be the same notes as an Fmaj scale, as someone already stated..

A mixolydian mode has the same notes as a Major scale except for one...a b7....so a C mixolydian would be --C,D,E,F,G,A,Bb,C

So to really hear the Mixolydian sound, try to emphasize that Bb/ make sure you hit it often etc...
And you MUST play over a backing track, or Cmaj loop of some sort, the sound is only Mixolydian because of what it's being played over (ie. if you play those same notes over an Fmaj, it will only be a major sound...)
#9
Quote by MrRockandRoll

Any pointers for this?


There are many ways to utilize the 7 notes [G-A-B-C-D-E-F#] and the chords built from these. If you're eyeing for a D Mixolydian sound try to set the "TONIC" of both the progression and melody to "D" (NOT "G") and shift your old "LEADING TONE" from "F#" to "C".

For starters, spend about 5 minutes playing with a D7 arpeggio like a juicy minor pentatonic scale and see what sounds you can come up with.

After a while try inserting the remaining 3 notes occasionally - the 4th... D7add4, 9th, 13... (or b3rd grace note!)...

*******************************************************************
Then try improvising over a short mixolydian progression using the D7 arpeggio + 3 tones

[arpeggiate or strum]
|Dsus2-D7/C-G/B-D5:||

Dsus2 = xx0230
D7/C = x3423x
G/B = x2003x
D5 = xx023x
Last edited by ha_asgag at Apr 21, 2013,
#10
Quote by macashmack
playing modally is more about harmony then melody.

Um...I think you got those flipped around...
#11
Quote by MrRockandRoll
Hey, after a friend explained modal playing to me I decided to try it out.

Sounds like he knows his shit.
#12
Quote by mdc
Sounds like he knows his shit.

lol, I hope you're being sarcastic. (If so, might want to make it clear, so TS doesn't take it seriously.)
#13
Well, your friend most likely doesn't understand modes. If you play a C Mixolydian mode (which has the same notes as G major) over a chord progression that resolves (finishes) on a G major chord, you aren't playing modes. And as you said, it'll sound like the major scale. Besides, whatever mode you play over that G major progression, you're either using the notes that are within that key or some accidentals that sound pleasing.

Now, if you play a vamp of just a C major chord or even a C5, or C power chord, then you could play a Mixolydian scale over it to sound "modal." But then again, I'm not to experienced on modal playing since it's very rarely, so don't take my word. Someone on here who actually knows a bit more theory, along with modes and modal playing, than myself can explain it a bit better.
Skip the username, call me Billy
#14
I was kind of the same as you TS, it all sorta sounded the same, now I actually can notice subtle differences when I play to backing tracks and change modes, When they work nice, it really is amazing the mood change, still don't understand them 100% but enough to know what sounds good is all I need.
#15
^^^^ Wait....you've convinced yourself that the major scale does not sound like the major scale?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#16
Quote by Tempoe
I was kind of the same as you TS, it all sorta sounded the same, now I actually can notice subtle differences when I play to backing tracks and change modes, When they work nice, it really is amazing the mood change, still don't understand them 100% but enough to know what sounds good is all I need.

Um...what?
#17
You should learn the differences between the major and minor scale and the modes. Something like:

Compared to major, lydian has a #4, and mixolydian has a b7.

Compared to [natural] minor, dorian has a #6, and phrygian has a b2

These alterations are the mode's characteristic note, and to differentiate the mode from a simply major or minor scale you should emphasize these characteristic notes in your playing.

Also as far as modal harmony is concerned, simple V-I progressions don't work as cadences because they imply a tonal language; if you want to go modal, use chords that contain the characteristic note when cadencing.

Let's say in dorian, a dorian cadence would be ii-i or IV-i.
#18
"A mode is just the major scale started on a different note" was a useless definition for me. If one wants to dig deeper into nuances, that's great. But, for the people who have never been able to translate "modes are just starting counting on a different note of the major scale", into actual guitar soling, I personally found that definition to be rubbish. And that is why so many players have no idea what modes are, and never break out of the same rock scale for 10 to 20 years: pentatonic minor box position. So, put away the book, and start playing what I'm about to talk about. I've posted all you need to know about expanding your scale repertoire by a 7-fold right here in this thread.

For 15 years, people explained the order of notes and never pointed out that a mode is virtually meaningless unless you hear it over a progression. Don't miss the forest for trees. I think most teaching of modes gets in the way of learning to actually play guitar in real life. For people who don't know what a mode is, here is the only explanation that actually helped me to understand what modes are.

In a solo, you are going to play a bunch of notes in succession over a progression. Who cares if they are called 123 or 231? For me, the only thing that matters in a scale/mode is the inclusion of exclusion of the notes. There is no "order." Either the note is part of the scale or it's not. Are you stuck playing the same minor pentatonic for a decade? 1,-3,4,5-7. Well, you must try other notes over the same rhythm. For example, try the major scale. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. It will sound different than penta minor b/c the intervals are different. The flavor of the notes only comes to life against a backing chord. In the case of major scale, notice there is no -3 or -7. Who cares about the order? You will be playing hundreds of notes in ANY order you want.

Modes are just the major scale moved to a different location. You know how you slide the minor pentatonic scale down 3 frets, and it sounds major? Now, instead of 1,-3,4,5,-7 you have 1,2,3,5,6. This is the same idea behind modes.

Take the major scale: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7.
Mixolydian mode is a scale that contains 1,2,3,4,5,6,-7.
You get this scale by sliding the major scale up a 4th (5 frets).
Dorian is scale that contains 1,2,-3,4,5,6,-7.
You get this scale by sliding the major scale down a whole step (2 frets)

A mode, in practical terms, is exactly a major scale shifted to a different location. What else is it? If you loop some basic 3 chord progression, and play each of those major scales shifted by those amounts, you will immediately hear the difference. This is the ONLY explanation that has ever made sense. The notes are meaningless without context of being contrasted to some rhythm progression.

To that end, the C major scale and E Phrygian mode are the exact same thing. They are the same exact 7 notes. What determines the flavor of the sound of these 7 notes are the chords played behind those 7 notes. If the rhythm is in the key of C, then this scale will sound major b/c they are 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 in relation to the backing track. So, in this context, call the 7 notes the C major scale. But, if the rhythm chords are in E, then call the same 7 notes E Phrygian, because you will now hear -3,-7, -6 notes, and it will not have the same flavor as C major b/c of the different backing track it is being contrasted against. But they are the same exact 7 notes. Tomato. Tomahto. That explanation of modes misses the entire point of what modes mean to a guitar player trying to incorporate new scales into his playing. Modes are variations of the intervals a scale has from the key your are playing over. That's it.

I never said I am some expert, but I do understand the concept of intervals and why the same note will sound different against 2 different chords. And that is what you need to know about modes, first and foremost.

The bottom line: Over a given progression in a given key, slide that major scale to different locations, and you've instantly incorporated 7 new "scales" into your repertoire, all with varying interval notes, and their own unique flavor. Just like when you slide the minor pentatonic down 3 frets. You get a whole new sound since you're now playing 1,2,3,5,6 instead of 1,-3,4,5,-7. In my opinion, that's really Everything You Need to Know About Modes.
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
#19
What exactly do you mean by "G major starting on C".
Be very specific in what you're trying to do here.
Are you just playing the major scale pattern (W W H W W W F) but starting on C?
Like you're sliding the major scale from the 3rd fret up to the 8th fret?
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
#20
If you want C Mixolydian, just slide the C major scale up a 4th to F. That's up 5 frets or down 7 frets. Basically, play the notes in F major. Of course, you will be resolving to the C note in that F major scale, not the C. Done.
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
#21
Quote by macashmack
playing modally is more about harmony then melody.

Modes are all about melody.
Si
#22
Modal harmony is pretty interesting in jazz because they treat modes as chords. But in rock music "modes" can be boiled down to "V is the new I!"
#23
Quote by MissingSomethin
The notes are meaningless without context of being contrasted to some rhythm progression.


It is not required to have a backing track to sound modal. You can still have a vocalist sing in Ionian or Aeolian acapella without a rhythm section although the sound of a mode can be made more dramatic with proper chordal accompaniment.

If you play a middle C over an A5 chord followed by a C# over an A5 of course you'll basically get two different flavors - major and minor but the contrast doesn't necessarily imply that it is modal yet.

Quote by MissingSomethin

To that end, the C major scale and E Phrygian mode are the exact same thing. They are the same exact 7 notes. What determines the flavor of the sound of these 7 notes are the chords played behind those 7 notes. If the rhythm is in the key of C, then this scale will sound major b/c they are 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 in relation to the backing track.


Now how would you differentiate C Ionian from E Phrygian although they share the same notes - "C-D-E-F-G-A-B"?

The tonal center of C Ionian is "C" and the tonal center of E Phrygian is "E". What really determines the mode is the TONAL CENTER of the "7 notes" which you can establish when you play rhythm or lead... or "BOTH".
Last edited by ha_asgag at Apr 19, 2013,
#25
Quote by ha_asgag
Now how would you differentiate C Ionian from E Phrygian although they share the same notes - "C-D-E-F-G-A-B"?

The tonal center of C Ionian is "C" and the tonal center of E Phrygian is "E". What really determines the mode is the TONAL CENTER of the "7 notes" which you can establish when you play rhythm or lead... or "BOTH".

That's exactly what he said. He said that the chords behind what you play determine how it sounds like. And chords determine the tonal center. Play a C major chord progression and you'll never sound like you are playing anything modal, even if you emphasized the E note all the time. You aren't playing in E phrygian unless you change the chords.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#26
Experiment with these over any static note from C major scale:

-8-10-12-13-15-17-19
-8-10-12-13-15-17-18
-7-9--9--12-14-16-17
-7-9--9--12-14-15-17
---------
--------
Last edited by mdc at Apr 19, 2013,
#27
Quote by MaggaraMarine
And chords determine the tonal center. Play a C major chord progression and you'll never sound like you are playing anything modal, even if you emphasized the E note all the time. You aren't playing in E phrygian unless you change the chords.


But why would anybody play a C Ionian progression if they wanted E Phrygian? And besides, you WON'T really be changing the chords taken from the Harmonized C major Scale. If you wanted E Phrygian progressions you'll only be shifting the tonal center of those same chords to "Em".

e.g.
*Em-G-F
*Em-F-Dm-F
*E5-F5
*Em7-Fmaj7

However, Phyrgian has superimposition exemptions which would be the E major or E7 alterations which function as the I chord. e.g. *Emaj-Gmaj-Fmaj-Emaj

The point I made earlier is that you do not need to rely on a modal backing track to set the ambience/canvas. Even on an acoustic you could sound modal if you played single note riffs and melodies combined with chords as long as you maintain a tonal center.
Last edited by ha_asgag at Apr 19, 2013,
#28
Quote by mdc
Experiment with these over any static note from C major scale:

-8-10-12-13-15-17-19
-8-10-12-13-15-17-18
-7-9--9--12-14-16-17
-7-9--9--12-14-15-17
---------
--------


What's this supposed to achieve?
#29
Quote by ha_asgag
But why would anybody play a C Ionian progression if they wanted E Phrygian? And besides, you WON'T really be changing the chords taken from the Harmonized C major Scale. If you wanted E Phrygian progressions you'll only be shifting the tonal center of those same chords to "Em".

e.g.
*Em-G-F
*Em-F-Dm-F
*Em7-Fmaj7

However, Phyrgian has superimposition exemptions which would be the E major or E7 alterations which function as the I chord. e.g. *Emaj-Gmaj-Fmaj-Emaj

The point I made earlier is that you do not need to rely on a modal backing track to set the ambience/canvas. Even on an acoustic you could sound modal if you played single note riffs and melodies combined with chords as long as you maintain a tonal center.

Yes, exactly. But some people think it's about the notes they play and that they can play E phrygian over a C major progression just by "resolving to E" (that they really can't do unless they change the chords so that Em is the tonic). That's how TS was thinking. He asked why his "modal" playing sounds like he's playing the major scale. That's because he thinks he's using G mixolydian when he's really playing C major over a C major chord progression.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#30
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Yes, exactly. But some people think it's about the notes they play and that they can play E phrygian over a C major progression just by "resolving to E" (that they really can't do unless they change the chords so that Em is the tonic). That's how TS was thinking. He asked why his "modal" playing sounds like he's playing the major scale. That's because he thinks he's using G mixolydian when he's really playing C major over a C major chord progression.


Wouldn't that just be in E Minor with an accidental? And if you made a chord with the lowered 2nd then it would be classified as a neapolitan chord, no?
#31
Quote by MrRockandRoll
Hey, after a friend explained modal playing to me I decided to try it out.

With my understanding, playing a G major scale starting on C over a C major.chord would be C mixolydian?

But when I try this out I don't get that distinct mixolydian jazz fusion kinda thing I was expecting, it just sounds like I'm jamming in a major scale. I know that's technically what all the modes are, but it just didn't have that mixolydian vibe, it still carried the major scale kind of vibe.

Any pointers for this? It's really starting to frustrate me


I'm not sure about that first part - I think that G major over a C chord would give you C lydian.

Try the other way round - use C major scale over a G drone. I would recommend using a drone rather than a chord.

If you want to get into the sound of the mode, then try emphasizing the G as you play.

I don't agree with the people out-of-hand just telling you to ignore modes. It seems a bit unnecessary. If you are trying to learn jazz (which isn't clear from your post), then yes, some players find it's better to just master the idea of key centres and using the major scale.

You may not be looking at jazz especially - the modes are interesting in themselves to learn and play with and it's possible to construct melodies in different modes that will have that characteristic sound.

But I would try the drone method, and really try and listen to the drone.
Luke Mosse Guitar Teacher in Bristol, UK
#32
Quote by Morphogenesis26
What's this supposed to achieve?

Listen to some modal jazz piano.
#34
Quote by Tempoe
I was kind of the same as you TS, it all sorta sounded the same, now I actually can notice subtle differences when I play to backing tracks and change modes, When they work nice, it really is amazing the mood change, still don't understand them 100% but enough to know what sounds good is all I need.

grats on completely brainwashing yourself
#35
Cliche album, but Kind of Blue springs to mind straight away. Bill Evans' work on that.

At the other end of spectrum, 0:42 secs and around 2:50 sec onwards

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJM0A_Wyo8M
Last edited by mdc at Apr 19, 2013,
#37
Medieval modes are about melody. Most modern modal music is all about the harmony. Unless you're half ass Trey Anastasio impersonator and wank on mixolydian and dorian vamps all day.
#38
Quote by Morphogenesis26
Wouldn't that just be in E Minor with an accidental? And if you made a chord with the lowered 2nd then it would be classified as a neapolitan chord, no?

Yes, it could be just E minor with an accidental (and in most cases it is). But I think it depends on the context. But my point was, you can't play E phrygian scale over C major progression no matter how you emphasized the E note. It will still sound like it's in C major because of the chords (and this was exactly what TS was doing - playing "G mixolydian" over C major and really he's just playing the notes in C major scale). If you play the same over E minor chord, it will have that phrygian sound.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 20, 2013,
#39
Quote by MrRockandRoll
Hey, after a friend explained modal playing to me I decided to try it out.

With my understanding, playing a G major scale starting on C over a C major.chord would be C mixolydian?

But when I try this out I don't get that distinct mixolydian jazz fusion kinda thing I was expecting, it just sounds like I'm jamming in a major scale. I know that's technically what all the modes are, but it just didn't have that mixolydian vibe, it still carried the major scale kind of vibe.

Any pointers for this? It's really starting to frustrate me


Hey Mr!

For what it's worth... you are seeking that mixolydian (bebop) sound. Pay attention to the sound.

I agree with Sean in paying attention to the tonal center is wise. Afromoose is on point with pushing through your frustration and getting familiar with key centres. Don't ignore modes. They are a wonderful compliment to your playing in RocknRoll and really color up your playing and sound.

Seek it and you'll find it... best to you