#1
I've been trying to understand guitar modes, but I'm finding out some confusing stuff. For example, there are different modes that are played the same way, just on diferent parts on the guitar neck. The shapes are the same!
This means, for example, that the Dorian mode in E, is the EXACT same thing as the Lydian mode in G. This is very confusing. This means that I can be improvising in a song that is in the tone of E, playing the Lydian mode in G. However, these modes/scales, are talked about as if they are different things, each apropriate to a specific tone. How to understand and make sense of all this? I tought every mode was meant to have a specific sound.
#2
Quote by rafael_pinhei
I've been trying to understand guitar modes, but I'm finding out some confusing stuff. For example, there are different modes that are played the same way, just on diferent parts on the guitar neck. The shapes are the same!
This means, for example, that the Dorian mode in E, is the EXACT same thing as the Lydian mode in G. This is very confusing. This means that I can be improvising in a song that is in the tone of E, playing the Lydian mode in G. However, these modes/scales, are talked about as if they are different things, each apropriate to a specific tone. How to understand and make sense of all this? I tought every mode was meant to have a specific sound.


You need to take a step back and do some more research - your question is the perfect question to answer to understand the difference between the modes. You should focus on intervals ( third, minor third, 5th, flat 5, etc.) - the best way to understand modes is to focus on the intervals specific to each one in relation to its root note.

That being said, if you want to understand the sound difference between Dorian and Lydian modes - play E dorian over a drone bass note (i.e a single low E note, not chord, that simply repeats itself) and then play E lydian over the same E drone Bass note. Do the same thing comparing E dorian to E Aoelian and E Phrygian. Really listen to the differences - the secret is in the intervals specific to each mode. Do the same thing for Mixolydian compared to Ionian and Lydian - switch from one mode to the other over the same drone note repeating itself. You should be able to hear the differences in that context. The minor modes ( Aoelian, Dorian, Phrygian) all sound sad/evil/darker than the major modes ( Ionian, Lydian and Mixolydian) which have a generally happier feel ( with the exception of lydian).

You're having trouble understanding the differences because your simply playing the modes of the same scale ( C Major) and your ear is probably just lumping it all together.
Last edited by reverb66 at May 30, 2014,
#4
They're the same notes, it's all defined by what you play over. If you play G Lydian over an E Dorian backing, you're just playing E Dorian.
#5
when a lot of those random guitar lessons you find floating on the web use 'mode' when introducing scale positions you can use on the fretboard, they're just re-appropriating the word 'mode' as a (technically incorrect and misleading) shortcut to label positions.
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#6
Forget about modes. They're not that widely used in guitar, and you can really get by without them. Unless you're planning to become a guitar teacher and you want to teach this to your students, there's not a whole lot of use to learning modes. Sure, they have their place in music, but they are not fundamental or necessary.
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#7
Quote by Junior#1
Forget about modes. They're not that widely used in guitar, and you can really get by without them. Unless you're planning to become a guitar teacher and you want to teach this to your students, there's not a whole lot of use to learning modes. Sure, they have their place in music, but they are not fundamental or necessary.


can you explain? it seems like a lot of people, new and experienced, have this attitude.

for example, when a piece in C major shifts its focus to the D for 16 bars, why not just learn to call that a mode, instead of a relatively cumbersome "it's still C major but it's staying on the supertonic"? also, even simply being aware of modes opens up new sounds that one might not have discovered if they were always thinking of things in terms of the classic major or minor.
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#8
You really need to understand basic scales and harmony before modes will make much sense, or be particularly useful. Learn all 12 major scales, learn how to build chords and make traditional chord progressions. Once you understand the relationship between scales and chords, you'll have a better idea of what modes can do. Modes can mean a lot of different things, depending on the usage.
#9
Quote by cdgraves
Modes can mean a lot of different things, depending on the usage.


I dunno. In here they normally mean a massive flamefest.
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#10
It's nice to get abit modal now again in your playing,Adds some flavours and makes you sound all clever.lol
#12
Quote by Dave_Mc
I dunno. In here they normally mean a massive flamefest.

This.

TS, A minor and C major scales have the same notes. Why do we have two scales with two different names?

That's because they sound different. You can tell when the song is in a minor or a major key. And how can you tell that?

It's all about the tonic. That's your "home note/chord". When you are in C major, your tonic is C major. And in A minor your tonic is A minor. If you for example play Am-Dm-Em-Am, you can tell it's in A minor. But if you play C-F-G-C, it's definitely in C major. This has nothing to do with what scales you play over the chords. You can't play the A minor scale over C-F-G-C because it won't sound like A minor. If you play the notes in A minor over those chords, it functions as C major.

The chords you play over give the notes their function. If you are in the key of C and want a dorian sound, you need to use the C dorian scale, not the D dorian scale. Whether it will sound good or not depends on the chords you play over.

Relative modes all have the same notes. Parallel modes all have the same root. You will see the differences by comparing parallel modes.

So here they are:

C major: C D E F G A B (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
C dorian: C D Eb F G A Bb (1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7)
C phrygian: C Db Eb F G Ab Bb (1, b2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7)
C lydian: C D E F# G A B (1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, 7)
C mixolydian: C D E F G A Bb (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7)
C minor: C D Eb F G Ab Bb (1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7)
And forget about the locrian, it's really not used anywhere.

As you can see, dorian and phrygian are close to minor and lydian and mixolydian are close to major. You could think lydian as a major scale with a sharp 4th and mixolydian as a major scale with a flat 7th. Dorian is a minor scale with a natural 6th and phrygian a minor scale with a flat 2nd. This tells you a lot about their sound.

C dorian will only sound like C dorian over a progression that resolves to C. C dorian will not sound like C dorian over a Bb major chord progression.

But I'm not sure if you are ready for all this yet. Learn some basics first (like intervals, keys, harmony). Modes is not something you should start with because they can only confuse you if you don't understand the basics first. The fact that you called them "guitar modes" just shows that you need to learn more about theory.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 31, 2014,
#13
Quote by rafael_pinhei
This means, for example, that the Dorian mode in E, is the EXACT same thing as the Lydian mode in G. This is very confusing. This means that I can be improvising in a song that is in the tone of E, playing the Lydian mode in G. However, these modes/scales, are talked about as if they are different things, each apropriate to a specific tone.

Tell me, do you understand how Cmajor and Aminor are different, despite the fact that they both share the same notes?

It's the same with modes; E Dorian =/= G Lydian. They share the same notes, but use those notes in completely different ways. It's all about intervals, man. The Dorian mode uses the following intervals: 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, & b7; but the Lydian modes uses: 1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, & 7.
So...comparing these two modes (E Dorian and G Lydian), how does the F# note, for instance, interact in regards to the respective tonics (E and G, respectively)? Well, in E Dorian, F# is the 2nd. In G Lydian, F# is the major 7th. Same note; totally different functions in these different modes!


Make sense?