#1
ive been jamming a jazzy rock backing in Am from coffee break tracks. im trying to figure out what to play in a 2 5 1 progression

So in this style ive tried

A minor ionian
A minor pentatonic
A melodic minor
B dorian
dont play phrygian lydian or locrian as they dont fit the style
mixolydian
C major
C major pent
C melodic major?
the notes in the chords which are 7ths and 9th chords
stuff outside which sounds good for tension.

anyone help my struggling efforts. i just want it clear.
Last edited by alienholdsworth at Mar 6, 2014,
#4
What do you think the "2 5 1" in A minor is?

You could get away with many things depending on the chordal skeletons you're playing over.

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#5
If it is in A minor then play A minor. You can use any accidentals you want, you can use the whole chromatic scale, but the notes in the A minor scale are going to be the basic foundation. It's generally a good idea to target the notes of each chord and you can even play with hitting notes that act as extensions of the chords, even accidentals.

But really, trying to play Mixolydian or Phrygian or the Heptatonic Gypsy Raga scale is isn't going to help you at all. If the song is in A minor then play A minor and add any colorful notes that you want. With experience and practice and learning what different intervals sound like you'll learn when the out of key notes start to fit in and how to use them.

Forget about modes for now and work on really learning the major and minor scales, how to build them, how to construct chords using them and how to really play them (not just running up and down the scale) and how to incorporate out of key notes. You might start with the pentatonic scales first, but really they're the same thing. The minor pentatonic is the same as the minor scale, just missing the 2 and the b6. The major pentatonic is the same as the major scale, just missing the 4 and the 7.

Also, there's no such thing as "A Minor Ionian" or "C Melodic Major". And A minor and C major have the exact same notes. A minor is A B C D E F G and C major is C D E F G A B. The difference is in where the song resolves to.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Mar 6, 2014,
#6
Your chord progression is in Aminor, right? So, you can literally play ANY notes. However, for simplicity's sake (and because it sounds like you may not have the ear development for more yet, frankly), just stick with the notes of Aminor. The4thHorsemen already listed them for you.

The problem I think you're having is that you're going, "What scales fit over this chord progression?" Well, that doesn't matter. Technically, there's an almost infinite number of scales that fit over any give chord progression. But what serves the song? In this case, what serves the song is probably just playing Aminor.

Note: Aminor (or any other scale) is NOT a position on the fretboard. Yes, scales naturally fit into patterns and positions on guitar, because of the nature of the instrument. But you can play Aminor ANYWHERE on the neck. Why? Because the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, & G are in so many spots on the neck. Think beyond a bit and realize what you can do.
#7
thanks. got the track sounding good with minor and extra chord notes on the dominant chord.but what confuses me is in jazz they will play eg lydian dominant for a bar then dorian etc.

in short terms should i use the scales which contains the chord notes? in regards to the example i gave with modes using the aminor notes, when would those be used. i know dorian is very similar to ionian and used in some jazzy bluee so if im in a minor and i get a b chord, would it be the place to use b dorian then if its a ionian b dorian that uses bcdefga notes.

what im getting it outwith this example i guess is when do you use the linear modes ie white piano keys and when to use the modes based on the root note.
Last edited by alienholdsworth at Mar 7, 2014,
#8
Last night my cat jumped on the piano and played this totally sick superlocrian ionochromatic modal riff.
#9
Quote by alienholdsworth
thanks. what confuses me is in jazz they will play eg lydian dominant for a bar then dorian etc.


Can you show me just one example of a song that does this? 10 dollars to you if you manage to show me just one. I know some Jazz, having studied under Jimmy Bruno. You sound like you know a lot more than me...

Best,

Sean
#10
I think he's referring to a misunderstanding of chord/scale relationships. Those "modes" would correspond to a dominant resolving to some other key's ii chord. Bb G7 Cm7 F7 could use them on the G7 and Cm7, respectively.

But it's not like the song is changing mode/key every single measure. Those goofy scales are just what you get when you rearrange the chords into a scale order:

G7#11 13 = G B D F A C# E = G A B C# D E F = G lydian dominant
Cm11 = C Eb G Bb D F A = C D Eb F G A Bb = C dorian
Last edited by cdgraves at Mar 7, 2014,
#11
Quote by alienholdsworth
thanks. got the track sounding good with minor and extra chord notes on the dominant chord.but what confuses me is in jazz they will play eg lydian dominant for a bar then dorian etc.

This approach is useful when you have a progression that features non-diatonic chords. Yours is diatonic.

in short terms should i use the scales which contains the chord notes? in regards to the example i gave with modes using the aminor notes, when would those be used. i know dorian is very similar to ionian and used in some jazzy bluee so if im in a minor and i get a b chord, would it be the place to use b dorian then if its a ionian b dorian that uses bcdefga notes.

This example uses the A minor scale and calls it something else for no particular reason. If you improvise with the A minor scale do you feel obligated to play an A note at the start of every bar?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#12
Quote by alienholdsworth
in short terms should i use the scales which contains the chord notes? in regards to the example i gave with modes using the aminor notes, when would those be used. i know dorian is very similar to ionian and used in some jazzy bluee so if im in a minor and i get a b chord, would it be the place to use b dorian then if its a ionian b dorian that uses bcdefga notes.

what im getting it outwith this example i guess is when do you use the linear modes ie white piano keys and when to use the modes based on the root note.


Your understanding of modes is all wrong. Dorian is not at all similar to Ionian, B Dorian is relative to A Major - not A Minor, and none of this matters anyways because if the song is in A minor then it is in A minor. C Ionian/Major, D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian, G Mixolydian, and B Locrian all have the exact same notes as A Minor/Aeolian, but you couldn't play any of those to a song that's in A minor because guess what you'd really be playing? The note you start playing from doesn't matter one bit, it all comes down to what the progression resolves to.
#13
Quote by alienholdsworth
in short terms should i use the scales which contains the chord notes? in regards to the example i gave with modes using the aminor notes, when would those be used. i know dorian is very similar to ionian and used in some jazzy bluee so if im in a minor and i get a b chord, would it be the place to use b dorian then if its a ionian b dorian that uses bcdefga notes.

I'll give a simple example. Hopefully, this will clear up your foggy understanding of modes a bit.

If you want to bring out the tonal characteristics of modes, you need to play them over either a drone note or a single chord or a chord vamp. (There's other more complex things methods for playing over modes, a lot of which gets "Jazzy". But you're not ready for that, frankly.) Let's pick a single chord.

A Ionian. It's a major mode, so use an Amajor chord to play over. This will give the characteristic tone of this mode. Internalize it. That will take you a while. (Yes, it sounds exactly like the major scale, because the Ionian mode and the major scale contain the exact same intervals. But we're playing the Ionian mode, so treat it like a mode. Because it is.)
Now, compare that to this next part. B Dorian. It's a minor mode, and therefore we're going to play over a Bminor chord.
One thing to note is that, for A Ionian, the Amajor chord can be built easily off of the tonic, 3rd, and 5th. Likewise, for B Dorian and the Bminor chord, except it's a minor mode (which obviously gives us a flat 3rd).

See, your problem is, you're still thinking of it as "B Dorian, which is almost the same as A Ionian". Well, no, it's not. It's B Dorian. It has the same notes, but it isn't the same at all.

One last thing: It might help you to, in your mind, separate the idea of scales from the idea of modes. Scales are generally played over chord progressions or riffs. Modes are used in a different way, as I mentioned above.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 7, 2014,
#14
I think TS thinks that dorian always means the second mode of a scale because he called B C D E F G A "B dorian". So TS, modes don't work that way. B dorian is B C# D E F# G# A (same notes as A major but I wouldn't think it that way either - I would rather think it as B minor with a major 6th). If you play B C D E F G A, you are playing the same notes as in A minor scale. And you are playing it over an A minor track so why not just call it the A minor scale? If you are playing the notes A B C D E F and G all the time (the order doesn't matter - it doesn't change the scale name), you are playing the A minor scale all the time because the function of the notes doesn't change because the key doesn't change. It still sounds like A minor. But if you changed the key to C major and played the same notes, the name of the scale would also change to C major because the function of the notes would change.
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#15
Ok i am completely clueless obviously. i struggle with technical info really, but i do try. i try to use my ear but i want to branch out. i enjoy stuff like greg howe, and on a tune like birds eye view, im really unsure how he gets that exotic sound in the main verses. thats really what im after in a nutshell. i know the chords are more complex ones to start with.
Last edited by alienholdsworth at Mar 7, 2014,
#16
Quote by alienholdsworth
Ok i am completely clueless obviously. i struggle with technical info really, but i do try.

That's good. Keep trying and don't give up. Everything will slowly start to make sense if you keep at it.
#17
Quote by AeolianWolf




Quote by The4thHorsemen
If it is in A minor then play A minor. You can use any accidentals you want, you can use the whole chromatic scale, but the notes in the A minor scale are going to be the basic foundation. It's generally a good idea to target the notes of each chord and you can even play with hitting notes that act as extensions of the chords, even accidentals.
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#18
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
(Yes, it sounds exactly like the major scale, because the Ionian mode and the major scale contain the exact same intervals. But we're playing the Ionian mode, so treat it like a mode. Because it is.)


How do I 'treat it as a mode'? you imply that its different than a major scale over a droning chord, so how exactly is it different? What treatment do you refer to?
#19
modality is a harmonic concept, not a scalar one. Usually when you're changing chords in a semi-melodic fashion, such as using the circle of 5ths, you need to play to the chords as they change. Modal music usually has more static harmony, and you can use any note in the mode at any time.

Very general description, but hopefully you get the idea.
#20
Quote by cdgraves
modality is a harmonic concept, not a scalar one. Usually when you're changing chords in a semi-melodic fashion, such as using the circle of 5ths, you need to play to the chords as they change. Modal music usually has more static harmony, and you can use any note in the mode at any time.

Very general description, but hopefully you get the idea.

Exactly.

Several ways to do this are to embellish chords to a ridiculous extent. Use a static, dysfunctional harmony. Most likely a vamp of two chords, back and forth. I'd personally stay away from any kind of benchmark major traits, or general concepts of functional harmony such as the overuse of the dominant. The two (Inonian and Major) are almost alike, and I'll catch controversy for this, but it's kind of the same situation as comparing 3/4 time and 6/8 time. Can they sound very similar? Yes. Are they? No. There are small differences that you have to listen for, but they are definitely there.

It's all about the harmony. Think of the main idea of modes as texture and color, while the main idea behind tonal music as tension and resolution.
#21
Quote by innovine
How do I 'treat it as a mode'? you imply that its different than a major scale over a droning chord, so how exactly is it different? What treatment do you refer to?

Because modes don't involve typical tonal harmonic concepts.
#22
Quote by innovine
How do I 'treat it as a mode'? you imply that its different than a major scale over a droning chord, so how exactly is it different? What treatment do you refer to?


My way of answering this is more practical. If something sounds like a mode then it can be treated modally. With the Ionian, I can't see how to achieve a different sound from the major scale, so it's never worth considering the Ionian modally. With the other modes (except - maybe - the Aeolian) there is a difference in sound.
#23
Quote by Jehannum
My way of answering this is more practical. If something sounds like a mode then it can be treated modally.


Wouldn't it simply be better to ask whether it is in a mode, rather than whether it sounds like it's in one? Just because something sounds like it's modal doesn't mean it's modal.
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#24
Quote by cdgraves
modality is a harmonic concept, not a scalar one. Usually when you're changing chords in a semi-melodic fashion, such as using the circle of 5ths, you need to play to the chords as they change. Modal music usually has more static harmony, and you can use any note in the mode at any time.

Very general description, but hopefully you get the idea.


Very helpful thank you
#25
Quote by Sean0913
Can you show me just one example of a song that does this? 10 dollars to you if you manage to show me just one. I know some Jazz, having studied under Jimmy Bruno. You sound like you know a lot more than me...

Best,

Sean


Was this really necessary..? It's nice to be nice, it's not nice to be a condescending, name dropping arsehole. Seriously.

The guy is here asking politely for help.
#26
Quote by arv1971
Was this really necessary..? It's nice to be nice, it's not nice to be a condescending, name dropping arsehole. Seriously.

The guy is here asking politely for help.

Was it really necessary to ask that? The question (which I don't think was condescending, because I've seen Sean around these forums for a while now) ultimately was meant to correct TS.
#27
fyi i mentioned lydian dominant as i watched a Gary Burton lesson on soloing and he listed lydian dominant as a mode commonly used in jazz.
#28
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Was it really necessary to ask that? The question (which I don't think was condescending, because I've seen Sean around these forums for a while now) ultimately was meant to correct TS.


Even if it wasn't meant to be condescending it certainly came across that way, with a large element of sarcasm and mickey taking added in for good measure too. If he just meant to correct TS it was an out of order way to do it imo and I thought he should be called out on it.
#29
Quote by alienholdsworth
fyi i mentioned lydian dominant as i watched a Gary Burton lesson on soloing and he listed lydian dominant as a mode commonly used in jazz.


it's worth understanding the difference between Modal Music and a Mode of a scale.

When people say something like "Play the major scale starting on a different note", that's a mode of a scale. It's just a simple way of showing how the scale used in a piece of music can relate to all of the chords. It does not mean that the modal scale is the harmonic center of the song, which is where many people get confused.

When you're playing music with lots of harmonic shifts, these modes of scales are basically an easy way to define what notes "belong" over what chord. The Lydian dominant scale, in particular, correlates to a dominant #11 chord.

To demonstrate why it makes sense to use scales here, spell out a fully voiced dominant chord, say C#11 13: C E G Bb D F# A

Notice that's 7 notes - what else has 7 notes? A scale.

So re-order that big chord's notes into scalewise order: C D E F# G A Bb

What's the scale spell? C lydian dominant - Hence, the notes in the 'mode' are just a list of what notes are or could be in the chord. Because the concept is fundamentally about chords, it's just as appropriate to think of these 'modes' as arpeggios, which might make the harmonic connection more clear to you.
Last edited by cdgraves at Mar 12, 2014,
#30
Quote by arv1971
Even if it wasn't meant to be condescending it certainly came across that way, with a large element of sarcasm and mickey taking added in for good measure too. If he just meant to correct TS it was an out of order way to do it imo and I thought he should be called out on it.


Congratulations. You've called me out.

I'm glad it got your attention. It was meant to do so. So, it worked. I'm not above shaking someone, or even offending them to wake them. But it stops there, it's nothing personal. I just want people to stop running their jets and listen a little bit more, and so when I see that, I'll selectively employ such measures.

I have no dog in the fight, but sometimes people need to be shaken to waken, and I'll employ that as a means of getting emphasis upon a point. Whether you felt it was called for, it had the desired effect.

If people can't take an honest straight talk, no BS, no hand holding answer, then they probably won't like me.

Best,

Sean