#1
I've known what modes are for a couple years but I never took the time to actually learn about them because it doesn't make sense to me. Like, since it's just the same scale starting on different notes, isn't the first note the only important thing for improvising a lead? Like if you have the 1 4 5 of C which is Cmaj Fmaj and Gmaj, back to Cmaj, is the idea of modes to use whatever mode starts on C, on F, and on G? Because you could do that without knowing mode names/degrees, because it's all connected.

I don't know the history of mode usage like in jazz or anything like that so this might be a dumbo questiono.
#2
Well, it might make sense if you actually play them. Play different modes over a static drone note. So, like play a C drone note for 30+ seconds. (You might have to record this or something on your phone, unless you have a looper pedal.) Then, play C Ionian (aka C major scale) over it. Next, play C dorian. C phrygian. Etc.


You should hear a different flavor to each mode.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 16, 2014,
#3
You're actually on the right track. Even though that's how a lot of beginners think modes are used, that's not using modes. Acknowledging that playing the "modal scales" on different degrees is just the same as playing the relative major/minor scale is a good step forward.

I think one of the reasons why this is so confusing is that some people explaining modes on the internet use the word "start". As in, the mode/scale/key starts on note X or Y. This is a terrible word to use in this context because it gets taken to mean "the first note that's played" or "the lowest note that's played" or "the note on which a certain pattern is built" or something like that by people who are learning and don't have the experience or knowledge to be able to understand that the above three things don't matter, or to guess what's actually being meant.

If you're playing an F lydian scale over a progression in C major, you're pretty much just playing a C major scale, and calling it anything else would generally be confusing or misleading.

The root of F lydian is F. Think of it more as an F major scale with a #4 for a 4 (B instead of a Bb). Mind you, this probably isn't enough for you to completely understand what a mode really is, but I'm just pointing you in the right direction and letting you know that you're on the right track.

Modes happen to have relative minor and major scales, and that's what confuses people. The main comparison/contrast shouldn't be between C major, D dorian, E phrygian, etc, but between C major, C dorian, C phrygian, etc.


EDIT: ^ What? Surely you meant C major, C dorian, etc?
Last edited by sickman411 at May 16, 2014,
#4
Quote by KillerPhail
I've known what modes are for a couple years but I never took the time to actually learn about them because it doesn't make sense to me. Like, since it's just the same scale starting on different notes, isn't the first note the only important thing for improvising a lead? Like if you have the 1 4 5 of C which is Cmaj Fmaj and Gmaj, back to Cmaj, is the idea of modes to use whatever mode starts on C, on F, and on G? Because you could do that without knowing mode names/degrees, because it's all connected.

I don't know the history of mode usage like in jazz or anything like that so this might be a dumbo questiono.



Looking at your questions the overarching answer to all of these, would be "No".

That wouldn't be modal playing or the use of modes, in your example, it would be playing C Major scale, everywhere.

As you said, you haven't learned about modes, and it appears you have just enough factual information as to then try and piece together the rest, and that's gotten you even further away from understanding them.

If this is something that you want to learn, then invest in a teacher or book or something, and learn it correctly, and build a foundation that will ultimately make sense.

Best,

Sean
#5
Quote by sickman411



EDIT: ^ What? Surely you meant C major, C dorian, etc?

He means C Major = C Ionian, Dorian in C Major starts on D so he is calling it D Dorian. E Phrygian, etc.
#6
Quote by sickman411
EDIT: ^ What? Surely you meant C major, C dorian, etc?

Gah, hell...that's what I meant. Let me fix it. Sorry...

Quote by KillerPhail
He means C Major = C Ionian, Dorian in C Major starts on D so he is calling it D Dorian. E Phrygian, etc.

Um...no, that's not what I meant. If you played D dorian over a C drone note, it would just sound like C Ionian. On the other hand, if you play C dorian over a C drone note, it would sound like C dorian. My bad.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 16, 2014,
#7
i find that simply imagining during a chord progression that i'm going from D dorian, to G mixolydian, to C major (or whatever other progression) helps me choose notes better and more accurately when improvising. especially when it's a weird chord progression that arbitrarily changes key. i think the concept of "modes" are used like this most often, just as a frame of mind, not as an actual sound.

correct me if i'm blaspheming, i just heard about this in a jazz lesson...
Quote by archerygenious
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#8
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
i find that simply imagining during a chord progression that i'm going from D dorian, to G mixolydian, to C major (or whatever other progression) helps me choose notes better and more accurately when improvising. especially when it's a weird chord progression that arbitrarily changes key. i think the concept of "modes" are used like this most often, just as a frame of mind, not as an actual sound.

correct me if i'm blaspheming, i just heard about this in a jazz lesson...

You're hinting at a jazz concept called chord-scale theory. Which is usually used in improvisation contexts with difficult chord progressions.

Here:
http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/AlanHB/blog/100719/
(check sections 3 and 4)

Anyway, my guess as to why it sounds better is because you're emphasising the root of the chord by using a different pattern. If you're mindful of all the notes in the chord and play them on "strong beats", you might get sounds you wouldn't get so easily by just noodling with patterns, and with less mental effort.
#9
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Gah, hell...that's what I meant. Let me fix it. Sorry...


Um...no, that's not what I meant. If you played D dorian over a C drone note, it would just sound like C Ionian. On the other hand, if you play C dorian over a C drone note, it would sound like C dorian. My bad.

So C Dorian has different notes than C Ionian? But it still goes with CMaj?
#10
Quote by sickman411
You're hinting at a jazz concept called chord-scale theory. Which is usually used in improvisation contexts with difficult chord progressions.

Here:
http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/AlanHB/blog/100719/
(check sections 3 and 4)

Anyway, my guess as to why it sounds better is because you're emphasizing the root of the chord by using a different pattern. If you're mindful of all the notes in the chord and play them on "strong beats", you might get sounds you wouldn't get so easily by just noodling with patterns, and with less mental effort.


thanks, yes! chord-scale theory, i'd forgotten the term.

admittedly i'm a lazy guitar player, after about eight years and i'm only just starting to pay attention to note names on the fretboard. using approach #4 in AlanHB's article you linked just makes it easier for me to find the appropriate root notes and corresponding scale/arpeggio patterns when playing quickly.
Quote by archerygenious
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#11
Quote by KillerPhail
So C Dorian has different notes than C Ionian? But it still goes with CMaj?

Yes and no.

The way I think of it C Dorian is the dorian mode in C. But the dorian mode is more closely related to minor keys than to major keys. The intervals of dorian are: 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7. (Compare that to the intervals of the minor scale: 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7.)
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 16, 2014,
#13
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
thanks, yes! chord-scale theory, i'd forgotten the term.

admittedly i'm a lazy guitar player, after about eight years and i'm only just starting to pay attention to note names on the fretboard. using approach #4 in AlanHB's article you linked just makes it easier for me to find the appropriate root notes and corresponding scale/arpeggio patterns when playing quickly.

Well, it seems like you're in a transition phase where you're much more familiar with the shapes than with the notes themselves so I get that. Here's something for you to think about though: what would you do if you were in C major and, say, an F minor chord appeared?
#14
Quote by sickman411
Well, it seems like you're in a transition phase where you're much more familiar with the shapes than with the notes themselves so I get that. Here's something for you to think about though: what would you do if you were in C major and, say, an F minor chord appeared?


well, i'd probably play an F...then an F an octave or two above, and find a hip rhythm to play those notes in until we left the ugly chord!

if i had time to study/practice it beforehand though, i guess i'd find the F mode with an Ab but also with as many other notes in common with C major as possible. but it's easier to think in terms of C here so... C aeolian -> F dorian?

sorry for hijacking the thread, by the way
Quote by archerygenious
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#15
You see, you don't have to find a mode. If you want something with an Ab but as many notes as possible in common with C major, just play C major with an Ab instead of an A. It's that simple.

Doing what you said might work (it will probably sound alright in our particular case), but the other "new" notes that you introduce into the melody (in our case, Eb and Bb) might give you a different type of sound or not sound good at all, and they might make the following chords sound more jarring and out of place.

Also, keep in mind that just playing all the notes that are in a certain scale can be pretty restrictive. It's ok (and I encourage you) to sometimes play outside of the main scale you're using, both in terms of notes and in terms of chords. With time you'll learn which notes/chords will sound good in which contexts.
#16
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
thanks, yes! chord-scale theory, i'd forgotten the term.

admittedly i'm a lazy guitar player, after about eight years and i'm only just starting to pay attention to note names on the fretboard. using approach #4 in AlanHB's article you linked just makes it easier for me to find the appropriate root notes and corresponding scale/arpeggio patterns when playing quickly.


But as I explained in that blog, #4 is simply using the major or minor scale, and nothing more.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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