#1
Im mostly a blues player, I want to expand to broader genres such as metal in the style of Petrucci, and Satriani. Im having trouble grasping the concept of modes, i can play them technically, however i am never sure when to play a phrygian, lidian, or dorian scale. What makes it modal? Could someone reply with a lesson or some advice because most lessons Ive seen do not really explain when to use it.

Any other scales I could learn that are versitile and easy to remember?
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Ibanezrocker13
#2
It depends on the degree of the scale that the progression is in, or what it resolves to.

As a basic example, if the song goes Dm, Em, F you could play D Dorian over that progression. If the chorus then goes Am, C, Dm you'd play A Aoelian.

You need to understand what the major scale actually is, how you build it, how chords are built, what progressions are and how they relate to the major scale. That's when modes will make sense.

I feel that you're jumping the gun and you need to start at the beginning.
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#4
Modes aren't just major scales starting on different scale degrees. At least that's not how I would think them. Think the different modes as major/minor scales with accidentals.

When to play what scale? Learn the sound of the scale, not just the fingerings. Music is all about sound so don't think so technically. To learn the sound of different scales, first just play one sustained note and loop it. For example E. Now play E major scale over it. Then play E mixolydian and E lydian. You may notice that both E lydian and E mixolydian are just one note different from E major. Then play E minor. Compare E dorian and E phrygian to E minor. You may notice that again they are just one note different from E minor. Listen to the sounds. When you want to make music, you need to know the sound. You can't just play an exotic scale and hope for it to sound exotic. It will sound as boring as pentatonic if you can't use it. (Also, I think you can do lots of stuff with just pentatonic - it's not a boring scale.)

Learn what makes the mixolydian sound - it's the major scale with minor 7th. Lydian sound comes from the major scale with augmented 4th. Phrygian sound comes from the minor scale with minor 2nd and dorian sound comes from the minor scale with major 6th.

Now when to use these scales? It's all about the background. You can't play D dorian over C-F-G-C progression because it will be the same notes as C major scale and it won't sound like dorian in this context - it will sound like C major. But if you play D dorian over a Dm chord, it will sound like D dorian. Look at your chord tones and play what fits them. For example if your progression is Dm-Bb-F-C, D dorian doesn't really fit it (the progression doesn't contain a B note which makes the dorian sound - and also playing B over the progression would clash with the Bb major chord) - the "correct" scale to play over it would be D minor (of course you are allowed to do whatever you want but D minor would be the most usual choice - and you can always use accientals when you feel like - but I wouldn't suggest using them if you don't know what you are doing). But if your progression was Dm7-G7, D dorian would fit it perfectly. That's because if you look at the chord tones and build a scale with them, it will be the D dorian scale (this doesn't of course always work - for example if there are lots of non-diatonic chords - but in simple cases like this it does).

Improvisation shouldn't be random. You don't just play random notes in a scale and hope for good results. Good improvisers can play what they want to. They know the sound.

But yeah, you don't need to know modes to play other genres. Genres =/= scales. And all scales can be used in any genre.

Also, you don't need more scales to make your playing sound interesting. You need to learn to use the scales. Again, you need to use your ears. More scales =/= more interesting playing. It's not about what scale you use, it's about how you use it.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 5, 2014,
#5
Instead of thinking of them as different scales (or positions of the major scale), think of them as the major scale with accidentals. Besides, when you're playing over something in the key of "x", the name of the scale won't matter. You can you different accidentals to create unique sounds of the chord. Whether you give it a new scale name or not, you'll have to realize that it depends on the key you're in.

For example, when you're playing a 12 bar blues in the key of A (using an A D and E7), the song will always resolve to and be in the key of A major. Just because you play D Lydian over the D chord doesn't alter the fact that you're playing in A major. The best way to think of it is utilizing an accidental in whatever context you're in. Majority of songs are in a tonal context, anyways.

I hope I helped with trying to clear things up, and if I didn't, one of the regulars here will most likely explain it better. Good luck with playing!
Skip the username, call me Billy
#6
Quote by ibanezrocker13
Im mostly a blues player, I want to expand to broader genres such as metal in the style of Petrucci, and Satriani. Im having trouble grasping the concept of modes, i can play them technically, however i am never sure when to play a phrygian, lidian, or dorian scale. What makes it modal? Could someone reply with a lesson or some advice because most lessons Ive seen do not really explain when to use it.

Any other scales I could learn that are versitile and easy to remember?



To use modes correctly, you'll want to play them over a single chord tone and never change it. This is the same as saying, play it over a drone note.

If you learn music theory and understand chord construction, cadences, keys and tonal center playing, and understand how not to let your modal progression/vamp get "hijacked" by the derivative major/minor, you can also, apply those ideas that way.

I'd also advise you that the term "modes" is one of the most missed, misapplied and misunderstood concepts you will find. Many times people miscall "modes" and really mean CST, ala Berklee, and jazz players.

The funny thing there is it was originally intended for help in composition, not as a soloing "theory" device. But alas, to this day very few understand the context and intent, and instead learned it as a buncha new scales, without even understanding or acknowledging the relationship between D Dorian and G Mixolydian, instead using it as rubber stamped chord soling approaches. Thus, today Berklee has a reputation for being a "scale factory".

Not that it isn't valid when understood in an arranging context. It's certainly a viable way of playing scales, to get some outside sounds, using variants of major and minor scales, but it's not "modal", and that's an important distinction. It's simply using altered notes in scales with a major or minor 3rd. At the heart of it, as it was devised, it was to "provide a categorization of all the notes that might define a given functional harmony on a chordal instrument."

That's a lot of theory, I realize, but if you don't know all that stuff, you can simply have the bass player play a single drone note (never change it) and solo away.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Apr 5, 2014,
#8
What's CST Sean? (I probably know but I'm just not getting the abbreviation )

Also I pretty much agree with what everyone else has said in here.
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#9
Quote by Dave_Mc
What's CST Sean? (I probably know but I'm just not getting the abbreviation )

Also I pretty much agree with what everyone else has said in here.

Chord Scale Theory.

It pretty much says chord = scale. For example m7 = dorian and dom7 = mixolydian.

It works for some stuff, for example this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImxM4Rj5pOQ

The part after the intro is D7 C7 and Bb7 chords but it stays on one chord so long that it's just easier to think all chords as different keys. You would play D mixo over D7, C mixo over C7 and Bb mixo over Bb7.

But using CST for simple diatonic progressions (for example C-Am-Dm-G - C ionian, A aeolian, D dorian, G mixolydian) is just stupid (because you are actually playing the same notes all the time and there's no point in giving it four different names when it doesn't even sound like different scales).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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Bach Stradivarius 37G
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#10
ah i figured it might be chord scale theory, thanks

yeah i'm familiar with it, i thought i would be. thanks for the info, though (and i agree with you, for some things it's very useful, for others it's overcomplicating things... like most things, I guess.)
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#11
(Excerpt from Frank Gambale's "Modes - No More Mystery")

What Key is this basic 3 chord progression in?...

     A     A        D     E
     1  2  3  4     1  2  3  4            A
e |--------------|--2-----0-----|- R R -|-0-|
B |--2-----2-----|--3-----0-----|- E E -|-2-|
G |--2-----2-----|--2-----1-----|- P P -|-2-|
D |--2-----2-----|--0-----2-----|- E E -|-2-|
A |--0-----0-----|--------2-----|- A A -|-0-|
E |--------------|--------0-----|- T T -|---|
A major right?

Now use the same 3 chords, but placing the emphasis on a different chord...
now what key is the progression in?

     E     E        D     A
     1  2  3  4     1  2  3  4            E
e |--0-----0-----|--2-----0-----|- R R -|-0-|
B |--0-----0-----|--3-----2-----|- E E -|-0-|
G |--1-----1-----|--2-----2-----|- P P -|-1-|
D |--2-----2-----|--0-----2-----|- E E -|-2-|
A |--2-----2-----|--------0-----|- A A -|-2-|
E |--0-----0-----|--------------|- T T -|-0-|
E Major? No... E major contains a D# note, and here we are using a D♮.

A Major? Well not quite... because if you listen to the chord progression,
it really sounds like it's at rest at the E chord... E just sounds like home right?

So the 2nd progression is actually in a 'Modal Key' *so to speak*.(ya happy now Billy?)
We are still in the key of A essentially... but we're 'borrowing' information from the A Major scale.
It's actually in the 'E Mode' if you like, of the A Major scale.

And where is E, on the A Major Scale? A-B-C#-D-here-F#-G#-A.
E is the 5th note on the A Major scale, the 5th mode (the Mixolydian mode), of the A Major scale.
A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A

So although using (borrowing) the same notes as the A Major scale,
the emphasis/tonaltiy/mood centers itself around E... again, E just sounds like home right?

Much the same way as we don't say we're in C Major when we're playing an A minor progression,
because we " feel " A minor as opposed to C Major, and what note is A on our C Major scale?
C-D-E-F-G-here-B-C

Exactly, A is the 6th note on our C Major scale, the 6th mode (the Aeolian Mode), of the C Major Scale.
C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C


Edit: Visit Here
If you want a complete Key/Scale/Mode break-down of Joe Satch's "Surfing" album. (Pages 9-11)


...now do we put our clocks forward or backwards for daylight savings?? Ha ha!!
Last edited by tonibet72 at Apr 6, 2014,
#12
^ You do realize that the second progression isn't a "Modal key", right? The progression emphasizes E major as the tonal center making it in the key of E major. Just because it has a D natural doesn't make it modal. It's very common for a progression to borrow a bVII note or chord.

Keys are where the song resolves on. The two chord types that songs can resolve on are major (or maj7) chords or minor (min 7) chords, which are the two consonant triads. Keys are not modal.
Skip the username, call me Billy
#13
^ Yes i'm completely aware of that... you might have to finish that discussion one day with Frank Gambale... personally, i'm sticking with it myself, as it's all in a matter of speaking and not wrong, as much as I can't say your completely wrong. it just depends on your interpretation... maybe re-read it and hopefully it might at the very least get you to think... yeah I suppose you could put it like that... it still ends up at the same place. Cheers!

Note: ugh! ...I keep suffering that D# note from your E Major Scale over Franks E | E | D | A chord progression... I gotta stay with Mixo for this one I think Billy! sorry mate!
Last edited by tonibet72 at Apr 6, 2014,
#14
Quote by ibanezrocker13
Im mostly a blues player, I want to expand to broader genres such as metal in the style of Petrucci, and Satriani. Im having trouble grasping the concept of modes, i can play them technically, however i am never sure when to play a phrygian, lidian, or dorian scale. What makes it modal? Could someone reply with a lesson or some advice because most lessons Ive seen do not really explain when to use it.

Any other scales I could learn that are versitile and easy to remember?


There are major scales, there are minor scales, and then there are 5 more scales that use all the same notes. It all depends on the root note.

To learn every mode that uses natural notes (C maj scale 7 ways), you can play a full octave of C major starting on one of 7 notes (C,D,E,F,G,A,B). When you start on C, the mode's intervals are major. When you start on A, the mode's intervals are minor. When you start on one of the other 5 notes, you're playing the other 5 modes.

That's really all there is to it.

Where people are missing the mark by arguing about the subtle technicalities of music theory and proper terminology is that modal music is just one of many systems for us to use to learn and memorize scales. Don't forget that our main goal is to actually be able to play these scales and remember them. It makes sense for guitar players especially to learn the 7 modes because we can take one scale shape and play it starting on any fret. Learn all seven modes (it's just one scale shape starting at 7 different points), and you can play any scale in any mode in any key. For each mode, try learning 3 notes per string across all 6 strings and you'll see it's just one continuous "whole-step / half-step" pattern. Look up some of those Petrucci or Satriani tabs and try to figure out which mode he's playing.

As for the music theory part... why modes sound they way they do is entirely about intervals. If you want to understand why each mode sounds different, think about each individual interval in the chromatic scale. Each mode has it's own unique blend of major, minor, augmented, and diminished intervals. Across all 7 modes, every chromatic interval is used at least once. Hope this helps.

EDIT: An earlier version mistook every mode using natural notes for every mode of C. Sorry!
Last edited by cjohnson122989 at Apr 6, 2014,
#15
Quote by cjohnson122989
There are major scales, there are minor scales, and then there are 5 more scales that use all the same notes. It all depends on the root note.

To learn C in every mode, you can play a full octave of C major starting on one of 7 notes (C,D,E,F,G,A,B). When you start on C, the mode's intervals are major. When you start on A, the mode's intervals are minor. When you start on one of the other 5 notes, you're playing the other 5 modes.

That's really all there is to it.

Where people are missing the mark by arguing about the subtle technicalities of music theory and proper terminology is that modal music is just one of many systems for us to use to learn and memorize scales. Don't forget that our main goal is to actually be able to play these scales and remember them. It makes sense for guitar players especially to learn the 7 modes because we can take one scale shape and play it starting on any fret. Learn all seven modes (it's just one scale shape starting at 7 different points), and you can play any scale in any mode in any key. For each mode, try learning 3 notes per string across all 6 strings and you'll see it's just one continuous "whole-step / half-step" pattern. Look up some of those Petrucci or Satriani tabs and try to figure out which mode he's playing.

As for the music theory part... why modes sound they way they do is entirely about intervals. If you want to understand why each mode sounds different, think about each individual interval in the chromatic scale. Each mode has it's own unique blend of major, minor, augmented, and diminished intervals. Across all 7 modes, every chromatic interval is used at least once. Hope this helps.

You're a bad guitarist and a bad musician
#17
Quote by cjohnson122989
Isn't that why we're all in these forums?


I think he means that you're cheating yourself. If you insist on using scale shapes (which I think are a perfectly good introduction to modes and the like) and only use the Ionian scale shape you'll tend to resolve to the wrong notes and you're not really pushing yourself to be the best musician that you can be. You're also not really understanding the intervals in the same way which will affect your playing.

I am always learning, and I'm not the best guitarist. I have been playing 20 years, of which I spent 15 just randomly finding out little harmonies and not really learning what I was playing. Now I try to push myself and I'm not only here to learn but to try and pass on what I've learned.

That and about Les Pauls.
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#18
Quote by Mephaphil
I think he means that you're cheating yourself. If you insist on using scale shapes (which I think are a perfectly good introduction to modes and the like) and only use the Ionian scale shape you'll tend to resolve to the wrong notes and you're not really pushing yourself to be the best musician that you can be. You're also not really understanding the intervals in the same way which will affect your playing.




Point taken. I think the OP really just wants to know things like... In the intro to "Constant Motion," Petrucci alternates between A Phrygian and E Phrygian.

IMO, playing scales > reading about scales

Just play what sounds good and be aware of major/minor sounds. Experimenting with modes is a good composition technique. As far as I can tell, no forum or UG lesson on modes is without massive arguments about proper music theory.
#19
Quote by cjohnson122989
IMO, playing scales > reading about scales


You'll have to try listening to the scales too mate, and that's why your above post is incorrect.

You are arguing that:

Quote by cjohnson122989
It makes sense for guitar players especially to learn the 7 modes because we can take one scale shape and play it starting on any fret. Learn all seven modes (it's just one scale shape starting at 7 different points), and you can play any scale in any mode in any key.


Ignoring the simple point "why are modes used for any other instrument then?", you are basically saying that you need the modes to play all the notes on the fretboard in a major or minor key. You don't. The notes repeat throughout the fretboard, you just play the notes.

Furthermore your approach does not result in a different sound. If you play an A aoelian scale in the key of C major, it sound like and functions as the C major scale. It doesn't do anything "minor" because the key has already determined that C is the root, making your scale the C major scale.

Really what you are doing is calling the major or minor scale 7 different names for no particular reason. This isn't modal, it's just silly.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#20
Quote by tonibet72
^ Yes i'm completely aware of that... you might have to finish that discussion one day with Frank Gambale... personally, i'm sticking with it myself, as it's all in a matter of speaking and not wrong, as much as I can't say your completely wrong. it just depends on your interpretation... maybe re-read it and hopefully it might at the very least get you to think... yeah I suppose you could put it like that... it still ends up at the same place. Cheers!

Note: ugh! ...I keep suffering that D# note from your E Major Scale over Franks E | E | D | A chord progression... I gotta stay with Mixo for this one I think Billy! sorry mate!


Are you dense or something? What I said was that it's common to use a bVII in a major key. If you're really not capable of understanding that the song is in E major with the use of a D natural as an accidental, than I don't know what to tell you.
Skip the username, call me Billy
#21
If you like Shred and heavy Metal, try the Aeolian/Minor scale. It's versatile enough to fit in any style and evoke lots of moods. Try learning to apply that, then go to the other modes/scales. Here's a little soloing trick, use neighboring tones (playing an accidental and then playing the next note a half-step up or down to get back in key). That sounds great and can be done with a simple pentatonic scale. Have a nice day.
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Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#22
Quote by ibanezrocker13
Im mostly a blues player, I want to expand to broader genres such as metal in the style of Petrucci, and Satriani. Im having trouble grasping the concept of modes, i can play them technically, however i am never sure when to play a phrygian, lidian, or dorian scale. What makes it modal? Could someone reply with a lesson or some advice because most lessons Ive seen do not really explain when to use it.

Any other scales I could learn that are versitile and easy to remember?

There is a modes sticky in this forum. Have a read of that first and check out the links supplied in that thread. It should clear up a fair bit for you. If you still have questions then post back.

In the meantime thread closed.
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