#1
Hello,
just a question: For example, I am in the key of C major. I decide to write my song in C Dorian, so I flatten the 3rd and the 7th. Now that I am in the key of C Dorian, will I still be able to use the chords the C major? I am not sure because the root note that defines the key is the same but two notes are flat...
Thanks
#3
The answer is: NO!!!!

If you want to play in C dorian, avoid using the chords of C major. Build your harmonies from the notes of the Dorian scale. YES, it's a scale like any other. Treat it like that. It has nothing to do with C major.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Mar 5, 2015,
#5
short of exercise i don't see the point of writing modally

just write something good and if it ends up being modal, it'll turn out

save the restrictions for fugues and counterpoint if you can help it
modes are a social construct
#6
I like to try to just play it naturally for the lead while record then i go back and listen to what part sounded the best and change it from.
#7
Quote by Hail
short of exercise i don't see the point of writing modally

just write something good and if it ends up being modal, it'll turn out

save the restrictions for fugues and counterpoint if you can help it


I think that's kinda the point of this - to learn how to do it. It's good to practice writing with different constraints. You may not make an awesome song that way, or you might, but that's not the point when you're learning how to do these things. I never write anything that's actually modal anymore, but I'm glad I learned how because it helped me to understand what the notes that aren't diatonic to a major or minor scale sound like and how to use them.
#9
The scale you use needs to fit the chords you are playing over. And the chords you are using need to fit the melody. You can't just play a melody and play random chords and hope for them to fit each other. You need to look at the chord tones. The melody should have chord tones in it. That's how you harmonize a melody - you look at the notes in the melody and use chords that use those notes (it's also good to learn what chords work together well - but of course you can just try different things and use the one that sounds the best - use your ears).

If you have a chord progression in C major, dorian could fit over it (especially if it's a more bluesy sounding track), but you need to know what you are doing. It won't really sound that great, unless you can use the b3 and b7 notes well over the chords. I would suggest just using the key scale. If you are in the key of C major, use C major.


I would also suggest focusing on major and minor before starting to learn about modes. Modes will just confuse you if you don't understand keys first.

You are not "in the key of C dorian". Dorian is not a key. Also, if you are using chords from C major, you are not in C dorian, you are in C major, no matter what notes you play over it. Chords are more important than scales when it comes to determining the key.
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
#11
Maggara's response is more or less verbatim what'd I say.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#12
If you went from C major to C dorian, It would be like using the notes in the key of C major and shifting to Bb major; you would use notes from Bb major and tonicize C.

The seven modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian.
Think of each mode containing the notes from the major scale but start on as different interval/pitch. For instance, in C major you have C ionian, D dorian, E phyrgian, F lydian, G mixoldyian, A aeolian, and B locrian.

So dorian starts on the second degree of the major scale, phyrgian on the thrid degree of the major sclae, lydian on the fourth, and so on and so fourth. If we have C dorain, then C is the second scale degree of some other major sclae (not C major). We can find out what key it is in if we go down a full step/major second, which is Bb. C is the second scale degree in Bb major.

Now, if you have a bunch of chords and you want to solo different modes over them you'll need to know the quality of the chords. If your accompanment is basic traids, like C major and G major chords or something then it's really easy. When you started using 7 chords, added chords, extended chords, and altered chords, then it gets a little more challenging. Basically, ionain, lydian, and mixolyidan are major modes, dorianm, phyrgian, and aeolian are minor modes, and locrian is a diminished mode. So if you have a major chord, you can use a major mode to solo over it. And if you have a minor chord you can use a minor mode and if you have diminished chords you can use locrian. So for example, if there's a G major chord, soloing in either G major, G lydian or G mixolydian it will all sound okay.

So if we wanted to know what chords to play or key to play in if we have a solo in C mixolydian, we treat the C as the fifth scale degree, go down a perfect fifth, and we land on F. F major is the key signature used for C mixolydian and you would use chords from that key.

Hopefully this makes sense and helps make playing /relating modes easier.
Last edited by mhillips at Mar 6, 2015,
#13
^ But if you treat the C note in C mixolydian as the fifth scale degree, what makes C mixo different from F major?

C is the root note of the C mixolydian scale. The tonic is C. This is why I'm against this kind of thinking (that C mixolydian = F major). I think C mixolydian as a major scale with a minor 7th. It tells more about the sound.

Actually thinking C mixolydian as the same notes as F major was what confused me in the first place - I mean, why give the same set of notes so many different names. Later I realized that it makes more sense to compare C mixolydian to C major because they are very close to each other and both scales have the same root. So mixolydian to me is just a variation of the major scale. Same with lydian. It is major scale with an augmented 4th. And the minor modes are variations of the minor scale. Phrygian is minor scale with a minor second and dorian is minor scale with a major 6th.


You use C mixolydian over songs that are in C, not really over songs that are in F (because that will just sound like F major).
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
#14
mhillips' post is pretty much exactly what not to do. Playing the C mixolydian scale on an F major progression means you're just playing F major. Nothing more, nothing less.

Playing C mixolydian on chords derived from the mixolydian scale = mixolydian sound achieved. Try playing C mixolydian on Cmaj - Gmin7/Bb for example.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Mar 7, 2015,
#15
Quote by MaggaraMarine
The scale you use needs to fit the chords you are playing over. And the chords you are using need to fit the melody. You can't just play a melody and play random chords and hope for them to fit each other. You need to look at the chord tones. The melody should have chord tones in it. That's how you harmonize a melody - you look at the notes in the melody and use chords that use those notes (it's also good to learn what chords work together well - but of course you can just try different things and use the one that sounds the best - use your ears).

If you have a chord progression in C major, dorian could fit over it (especially if it's a more bluesy sounding track), but you need to know what you are doing. It won't really sound that great, unless you can use the b3 and b7 notes well over the chords. I would suggest just using the key scale. If you are in the key of C major, use C major.


I would also suggest focusing on major and minor before starting to learn about modes. Modes will just confuse you if you don't understand keys first.

You are not "in the key of C dorian". Dorian is not a key. Also, if you are using chords from C major, you are not in C dorian, you are in C major, no matter what notes you play over it. Chords are more important than scales when it comes to determining the key.

But if you say that it is just like another scale then when I use a pentatonic scale the chords underneath should also fit?
#16
^ The good thing about pentatonic scale is that it is really flexible. Not all of the chord tones need to be part of the scale, but the scale shouldn't have notes that clash with the chords (for example over a C major chord a C# note will sound pretty dissonant).

What I mean is, if your progression is Am-F-D-Bb, A minor pentatonic will work over it, even though there are two non-diatonic chords in the progression (D and Bb).

Think it this way - A minor scale has A, B, C, D, E, F and G in it. It wouldn't work over D major (because it has an F# in it) or Bb major (because it has a Bb in it) chords. To make it fit over D major, you would need to change the F to F# which would make the scale look like this: A, B, C, D, E, F#, G. You could call it A dorian. And to make it fit over the Bb major chord, you would need to change the B to a Bb and of course play an F, not an F#. So the scale would look like this: A, Bb, C, D, E, F, G (which you could call A phrygian). Now if we look at the common notes in the scales, we get A, C, D, E and G. Those notes will work over all of the chords. And that's also the A minor pentatonic scale. This doesn't mean those are the best notes to play over the chords, but if you want to use just one scale, Am pentatonic will work.

A similar kind of progression in a major key would be something like C-D-F-G-Bb - two non-diatonic chords, D and Bb. Again, C major pentatonic will work over everything because if we build a scale that has all chord tones, we get C, D, E, F, F#, G, A, Bb, B. Notice how there's both F and F#, and Bb and B in it. So we can just omit those notes because they are the notes that would clash over certain chords in the progression (F over D major, F# over F major, Bb over G major and B over Bb major). So the notes that will work over all of the chords in the progression are C, D, E, G and A, and that's the C major pentatonic scale.

Sometimes a progression has some "crazier" non-diatonic chords and that may mean there will be only a few notes that will work over all chords. This means you should change the scale over different chords because otherwise you would only be able to use like two notes in the whole solo. Chord tones will always work. You may want to take a look at Jet Penguin's Chord Scale thread if you are interested. But yeah, first I would learn about major and minor keys and chord functions before you can really understand CST well (and I don't think CST, ie another chord = another scale, should be applied to everything - some people start thinking in CST over the most simple progressions like C-F-G-C, which just makes no sense - it's all in a single key, no non-diatonic chords, just play C major over it). First learn about keys and chord functions, then learn about chord scales if you are interested. Many times it's enough if you just emphasize the chord tones and play the key scale (and avoid the most dissonant notes over the chords - which can also be made sound good if you know how to use them).
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
#17
This.

CST only really comes alive when we are no longer following diatonic progressions.

If your chords are in one key, use that major/minor scale. But when you begin to leave that tonal area, CST is what keeps you on track.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#18
Maggarra is right, of course.

Listen to him.

People get confused about modes for a lot of reasons, but the primary one is because of the difference between the way they're derived and the way they're used.

D Dorian can be derived from the C major scale. But that's not how you use it! That's not how you hear it. You hear it as a similar scale to D minor. You don't hear it as anything having to do with C major. Generally, you'll hear the notes behave functionally as they would in D minor.

Maybe you'll find this useful.

Let's ignore modes for a minute and just talk about two scales: A minor and C major. They have the same notes, right?

And yet one sounds major, and the other sounds minor. Why is that?

This is the case both melodically and harmonically. That is to say, I can play a melody without any chords which sounds like it's in A minor, and using the same notes I can play a melody that sounds like its in C major. It's even more obvious with chords, though.

If you can not HEAR that difference, stop. Do not study modes. Do not worry about modes. You're just going to confuse yourself. Take the notes A B C D E F G and play something, no chords, that sounds minor. Now play something that sounds major. Repeat until this is second nature and you have fully internalized the difference between major and minor IN PRACTICE.

Then if you want to muck around with D Dorian, go for it, but not before.

PS Penguin that Ravel piece is perhaps my favorite piece of classic music ever. It was my gateway drug for classical music.
#19
Ravel rules.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp