#1
RIGHT! After several weeks of learning mode shapes properly (as in building them from the major scale aka: lydian is #4, mixolydian is b7, Dorian is b3 + b7 etc) I would like to try attempt to understand how to PROPERLY apply them.

I am under the understanding that you play modes with the correct chords meaning the major modes over major chords and the minor modes over minor chords depending on what notes are flattened. At the moment because of my lack of usage of modes, I have been simply applying 1 mode over a whole chord progression such as E mixolydian over an e major chord pattern which uses dominant 7th chords. This sounds great to be honest but I really want to understand exactly how they are applied in solos and whatnot. Would you literally change between modes for every chord? It seems very daunting at the moment.

Apologies for ANOTHER post on modes, I bet the forums are littered with them but I have not found any with this subject matter.

Cheers guys!
#2
One way of using modes is using a mode with a particular quality (like Lydian having the #4) over a chord that has the same quality (like a maj9#11) , that is why your mixolydian mode works over dominant 7th chords, because the the b7 found in the mixolydian mode is also found in domimant 7th chords.

So yes, you could use a different mode for every chord. The way I use modes lately is using the Ionian/Aeolian (dependant of the part/piece being major or minor) as a base mode, one which I can pretty much use over any chord in the chord progression, and using different modes when I encounter a 'fancy' chord. So when encountering a B7 for example, using mixolydian would work fine.

Hope this helps you out a bit, modes had my head spinning for a while as well!
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Last edited by constructbot at Mar 16, 2015,
#3
Your'e confusing modal "stuff" with chord scale theory, or CST, which uses the same scales and names, but in a completely different manner.

In chord scale theory, every chord has a seven note scale that goes with it and is the "vanilla" sound for improvising.

These scales are derived from the "modes" of the major and harmonic minor scale, and have the same names.

Check this thread out:

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1658192&highlight=Jet+talks+JAzz

Basically all you need to worry about is playing the major/minor scale of whatever key you are in and most of the modal stuff will come out in the wash.

Ex. You play a C major scale over an F major chord in a song in the key of C major. It gives you an F Lydian sound, which is the vanilla chord scale for IVmaj7. Lydian.

Worry about the key centers first and the rest of it takes care of itself.

To go off constructbot's example, yes, a standalone B7 takes a mixolydian scale.

But that has nothing to do with modes. the reason we use mixolydian is:

1. A fully extended B13 chord contains all the notes of B mixolydian.

2. A vanilla B7 is most likely a V in E major. E major is enharmonic to B Mixolydian. We just say B mixolydian instead of E major for organizational purposes; keeping the scale and chord roots the same.

Let me know if that makes sense, and don't over think things, as modes tend to make us do.
"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
#4
Some great help in those replies, thanks so much. I will battle these modes eventually, they become more confusing when you try and read tutorials online when people are telling different things each time. My knowledge of music theory is quite good and im no new guitar player however modes are the only real thing ive struggled with due to the amount of different ways people seem to teach em. I know soon enough I will crack on and understand PROPERLY how to use them within my music, and that day will be very pleasing.

Thanks for the help, and I will read the thread you linked Jet!
#5
Look at the chords in your progression. What is the tonic (you should be able to hear that)? Are there any non-diatonic chords? If you are in E major and your song uses a chord progression like E-D-A-E (very common in rock - very AC/DC-ish), E mixolydian scale would fit well over it because all of the chords are in that scale. If you want to use different scales over different chords, look at the CST thread.

E mixolydian will not fit a progression that has a B major chord in it that well, because B major has a D# in it (same with G# minor and D# diminished). You need to look at the notes in the scale and the chord tones.

So to know what scale to use, you need to look at the chords. Does the scale fit over the chords? Sometimes one scale doesn't fit the whole progression. Then you need to look at the chords - which of the chords are not part of the key signature? You need to change the scale to play over those chords.

I would suggest learning about keys and chord functions (if you don't know about them yet).
Quote by AlanHB
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 16, 2015,
#6
I would stick with just scales for now..learn them in ALL positions and KEYS that should be more than enough material to create a few thousand melodic passages .. most players don't use modes..because they don't know how and they are not needed..few if any songs you have heard are modal based..(look up definitions of "modal")

if you think your going to sound completely different in a solo using a (dorian) mode you will be disappointed at the results..unless you really know what chords would make that work..and then you will be surprised its not going to sound as "cool" as you thought..but rather ordinary or even bland..

come back to modal stuff when you really have the major/minor scales down..you may find you won't even need "modes" ..
play well

wolf
#7
Quote by wolflen
I would stick with just scales for now..learn them in ALL positions and KEYS that should be more than enough material to create a few thousand melodic passages .. most players don't use modes..because they don't know how and they are not needed..few if any songs you have heard are modal based..(look up definitions of "modal")

if you think your going to sound completely different in a solo using a (dorian) mode you will be disappointed at the results..unless you really know what chords would make that work..and then you will be surprised its not going to sound as "cool" as you thought..but rather ordinary or even bland..

come back to modal stuff when you really have the major/minor scales down..you may find you won't even need "modes" ..


I already know major, minor, harmonic minor and pentatonic scales in all shapes dude. I also now know mode shapes and can work out modes by being able to flatten or sharpen notes relevantly to its parent major scale. As I said I am certainly no newbie to guitar. All I am trying to understand is how to apply the modes over certain chord progressions, for example, do most people use a different mode for every chord or do most people tend to use a mode over a whole chord progression for example, using Mixolydan over a dominant 7th chord progression due to its flattened 7th OR do people base modes around tonal centre, for example, not starting on the tonic but starting on say the 2nd (as in 2,5,1 jazz progression) and accenting this tonal centre using the 2nd mode of the scale oppose to the parent major scale.
A guitar is a very personal extension of the person playing it. You have to be emotionally and spiritually connected to your instrument - Eddie Van Halen
#8
^ It has to do with the way you are thinking.

If you are using CST (a scale = a chord), then mixolydian can be played over dominant 7th chords (for example let's take a G7 chord. G mixolydian has G, B, D and F in it, and that's why it works over the chord). There are also other scales that you can use over dom7, but mixo is pretty usual.

CST makes a lot more sense if you understand chord functions and keys.

ii-V-I has nothing modal in it.

You can also use one scale over the whole chord progression. As I said, a common progression that mixolydian would fit perfectly is E-D-A-E. If you look at the chords, the E mixolydian scale fits all of the chords - and the tonic of the progression is E major. What scale you should use is all about the chords you are playing over. If you want a progression that uses notes from the mixolydian scale, use the notes of the mixolydian scale to build the progression. Just make sure the tonic is the root of the scale - otherwise it won't sound like you are using the mixolydian scale.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#9
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ It has to do with the way you are thinking.

If you are using CST (a scale = a chord), then mixolydian can be played over dominant 7th chords (for example let's take a G7 chord. G mixolydian has G, B, D and F in it, and that's why it works over the chord). There are also other scales that you can use over dom7, but mixo is pretty usual.

CST makes a lot more sense if you understand chord functions and keys.

ii-V-I has nothing modal in it.

You can also use one scale over the whole chord progression. As I said, a common progression that mixolydian would fit perfectly is E-D-A-E. If you look at the chords, the E mixolydian scale fits all of the chords - and the tonic of the progression is E major. What scale you should use is all about the chords you are playing over. If you want a progression that uses notes from the mixolydian scale, use the notes of the mixolydian scale to build the progression. Just make sure the tonic is the root of the scale - otherwise it won't sound like you are using the mixolydian scale.


I never thought about building chords from the modes themselves, I was just focusing on chords from major keys. This has brought a whole new perspective to modes for me, thanks for the great advice man!
A guitar is a very personal extension of the person playing it. You have to be emotionally and spiritually connected to your instrument - Eddie Van Halen
Last edited by MarkAlanIrwin at Mar 17, 2015,
#10
A song can also be in mixolydian (if you want to know about actual modal music, check out Jet Penguin's mode thread). But most of the time it isn't. Most of the time you'll be using the modal scales over major and minor key progression (with accidentals) or if you are using CST.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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Charvel So Cal
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#11
Music that works like the way you are talking about sounds kind of weird, usually. Some let you do stuff like that a lot. Blues is one of those. Blues is crazy because of how much freedom you have. Different pieces of music let you play with a different amount of freedom like that. Minor key songs will let you use harmonic minor a lot for example. If you try to approach it like what you're thinking, I think you will find that's it's really tough to make it sound nice. But some music will demand that you do that.

What you want to do first, imo, is stick to playing stuff that works like you're used to in a progression kind of thing, and then learn some exceptions, learn some key changes, and then if you want some pieces that demand that sort of play. Or mess around with the blues, because it will let you do a lot.

But I almost never look at music that way. The music I like to play just doesn't really work well with that approach. Modes I think are something important to know what they are, but a lot of people talk about them like they are some next level that will make your solos all fresh and diversified and stuff, but they are not really that, imo.

It's not something I have even practiced that much. Even less the way you did. I don't know what is sharp or flat from one mode in comparison to major. I just know one pattern, and how to play it on any degree.
#12
just highlight your chord tones
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#13
Quote by MarkAlanIrwin
All I am trying to understand is how to apply the modes over certain chord progressions, for example, do most people use a different mode for every chord or do most people tend to use a mode over a whole chord progression for example, using Mixolydan over a dominant 7th chord progression due to its flattened 7th OR do people base modes around tonal centre, for example, not starting on the tonic but starting on say the 2nd (as in 2,5,1 jazz progression) and accenting this tonal centre using the 2nd mode of the scale oppose to the parent major scale.



here is a copy of my post in reply to a similar question..

Q-How do I get a dorian sound?? Key of Bb ..C dorian

A-you HAVE go get the sound of C minor as the "resolving" chord in you ear...this may take some time to establish because it is not as strong as the Major cadence we are ingrained with .. it more subtle..try these simple progressions

||: Cmi F :|| Cmi Eb F Cmi || Cmi7 F9 || Cmi7 Dmi7 EbMA7 Dmi7 || (repeat each progression twice)

now play the C dorian scale over these and end on the C note until you feel the Cmi as the root chord..

also try this - play the first five notes of C dorian ascending and descending then the first 6 notes and then the first seven and then the entire scale

Then try this kind of "centering" devices: play the notes C D Eb D C Bb C then play them over this progression - Cmi Eb Bb Cmi

this should help establish the Cmi sound as the resolve point
...............................................................................................

the idea of playing a mode is to get its "sound" isolated from its major key-- the above is a basic way to establish a dorian sound...now in most progressions you are not going to be able to isolate a chord by itself to establish a "modal" feel as in the above exercise..so a progression like C Emi Ami Dmi G7 C your solo is going to sound very C major even if you play the 1357 of each chord (or even its "scale") ..that will give it harmonic motion but it will not give you any "modal" feel..(its going to sound C major)...to do that you will need to have an isolated progression like in the example above

there are many posts on this subject..and at best..it is very confusing to most players..understanding the difference between modal and tonal harmony..and even the basic term "mode" has many preconceived notions as to what they should sound like..but many do not know the context they have to be in to be of any use.

the advice to review JetPenguins posts on modes..it may help you find what you are looking for..

hope this helps
play well

wolf
#14
Quote by MarkAlanIrwin
RIGHT! After several weeks of learning mode shapes properly (as in building them from the major scale aka: lydian is #4, mixolydian is b7, Dorian is b3 + b7 etc) I would like to try attempt to understand how to PROPERLY apply them.

I am under the understanding that you play modes with the correct chords meaning the major modes over major chords and the minor modes over minor chords depending on what notes are flattened. At the moment because of my lack of usage of modes, I have been simply applying 1 mode over a whole chord progression such as E mixolydian over an e major chord pattern which uses dominant 7th chords. This sounds great to be honest but I really want to understand exactly how they are applied in solos and whatnot. Would you literally change between modes for every chord? It seems very daunting at the moment.

Apologies for ANOTHER post on modes, I bet the forums are littered with them but I have not found any with this subject matter.

Cheers guys!


1) I would strongly suggest you start by exploring the following tunes ( bear with me , even if you don't like this type of music) :

Satriani - Cool #9 ( Dorian)
Satriani - rasperry Jam Delta V (Mixolydian)
Satriani - Flying in a Blue Dream - ( Lydian )
satriani - Always with me Always with you ( main theme is in major, then solo switches to minor)


He really hammers home the sounds specific to each mode in those tunes and you can see how a progression can be used for each.

2) When to use modes when actually soloing

Most progressions in popular music stick with the one scale throughout the whole progression, so you can simply play one scale over the whole thing and basically get away with it ( this is pretty much every rock solo ever). However, it is crucial, if you want to be great at soloing, to always know what chord is playing at a given time and its role in relation to the key. This takes a lot of practice.

For example, if you have a II - V progression ( say Amin for four bars and D 7 for four bars) - you can look at it as A dorian over both chords ( the lazy way) or you can play A dorian over the A chord and then play D mixolydian over the D7 ( the hard way) - you're playing the exact same notes in both scenarios ( all the from G major scale ), but by looking at each chord separately in relation to major scale you will be more aware of the important intervals to be considered over each chord. If you know you're playing over D7 then you know that the b7 and the major 3rd are some great notes to outline.

It doesn't really matter what framework you use to learn this. Some people find it easier to just do everything in relation to the major scale and find modes to be a waste of time. That being said, in my experience, if you spend a lot of time on each mode you will really interiorise the intervals and it will have a great effect on composing and improvising.
#15
^ If you have a ii-V-I progression, I wouldn't really think in dorian - mixolydian - major, because that kind of thinking may make you lose the feel of the key. All of the chords are in the same key, and playing all these "different" scales will actually sound like playing the same scale. It makes more sense if you are not using the same scale over the chords. For example you could use the altered scale over the V chord or whatever and it would sound pretty different. And of course in more complex progressions that may not stay in one key, it makes sense to think in chord scales. But in a simple progression like that, if you are just going to play the same notes over every chord, I would also think it as the same scale (but of course know where the chord tones are).

Also, if the song is Am-D7 all the time, I wouldn't really call it a ii-V progression - that's kind of misleading, because we aren't actually in the key of G major. It is a i-IV progression because Am is our tonic. And I wouldn't think it as two separate scales. It will feel like it's in A, not in D, even though there is a D major chord. The feeling of the key or mode still remains, even when you change the chord. This is why knowing about chord functions is really important - the same chord can sound really different depending on the context, and which scale you should use depends a lot on that. You hear the chords in a context. They aren't just random separate scales played one after other. Most of the time the chords in your progression are connected in some way. So before choosing what scale to play over which chord, look at the chord functions. Of course emphasize chord tones (and even if you don't do it consciously, your ear should tell you if the note you play over the chord sounds good or if you should play another note).

To me CST starts making more sense if you are playing over complex progressions or if you want to use some more "exotic" scales over certain chords (for example the dominant chord that has a lot of different chord scales to play over it). But you should still figure out what key you are playing in at the time and what functions the chords get (though some progressions are so "weird" that it makes more sense to treat them all as separate keys, and this is where CST makes a lot of sense).
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
#16
Total agreement Maggara.

CST really comes in to play when dealing with non-diatonic chords, or progressions that don't appear to make logical sense.

The other application of CST is to, as you said, expand the sounds available on each chord.

But if you are in a chord progression that is clearly in a key, you would just use major/minor scales and harmonic minor when necessary.

thinking of this:

Am7 - D7 - G

Like this:

A dorian - D mixo - G Ionian

Is not entirely correct, because that implies that we've modulated twice. There's no way you hear that progression as having three different tonics, one of which is a dom7.

It's just all G major. It's more beneficial to think of highlighting chord tones within a key than it is to rationalize it with three different roots.
"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
#17
not even much necessity to pay attention to the scale or key, really. everything between chord tones are kinda common sense fill.

there's no reason to make it so complicated if you're just improvising

not even that there are many situations where you'd need to apply CST or improvise in general. it's typical in jazz but as a guitarist you're playing chords most of the time anyway. you don't go to a jazz show to hear somebody shred

$.02
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