#1
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 7 modes (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian) use the same notes in the major scale, but they have a different root note. So for the C major scale, with C as the root note, this is Ionian. But for the Dorian mode, you choose the second note and make it the root. Same for Phrygian but you choose the 3rd note to make it your root.
So the C major in F Lydian mode would go:
e----------------------------------0-1-------------------
B-----------------------------1-3------------------------
G---------------------0-2-4-----------------------------
D-------------0-2-3-------------------------------------
A------0-2-3--------------------------------------------
E-1-3----------------------------------------------------

I'm just starting to learn about scales and their inner workings so sorry if I completely screwed that up haha.
#2
Don't think about "C major in F Lydian".

Think about C major, or F lydian.

If the key is C major, use C major.

If the mode is F lydian, use F lydian.


And yes, the notes are correct, but if you played them over the key of C major it would just be the C major scale.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
Alright. So to play one of the modes, choose another note in the scale to be the root, and play the c major in that key. Thats it?
#4
It is not just the root and notes. Each mode has what I call important notes that give it the special sound you want. For example the Phrygian mode's important note is the b2 (if the key is E then important note is F). Those are the notes you need to focus, along with the root. The thing with modes is, it is very hard to create the unique sound you want out of them. They always try to sound like the major or minor scale. That happens because our brains are wired to those two particular scales due to being VERY common in everyday music. Find the notes that differ from the usual minor-major scales on each mode, make a backing track with them being as usual as possible and play over it. Practices makes perfect, I hope this helped
#5
I don't think D dorian as C major starting on the second note. I think it as D minor with a B natural instead of B flat. Dorian is very close to the natural minor scale when it comes to the sound. So rather than thinking them as major scale with a different root, I would think them as variations of the major and minor scales.
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#6
If you know which chords can be classified as Ionian/Dorian etc and play them then the scale you should get a better feel about which are the 'key notes' in each mode too.

Learning the 3 note per string versions of the scale also helps differentiate them abit (and is also good for general fretboard knowledge)

There was a another cool exersize I used to know that'd be useful here but I can't remember what it was exactly and dont want to give wrong advice.
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#7
Quote by ajsbored
Alright. So to play one of the modes, choose another note in the scale to be the root, and play the c major in that key. Thats it?

No. You're repeating what you said in your opening post which is not exactly correct.

This is how I think of modes and my approach to them. Please feel free to correct any inaccuracies or to shoot down the entire post if I am totally wrong.

I think thinking of modes in this manner is easier:

Each mode is a modification of the corresponding major scale. For example, don't think of D Dorian as the second mode of C Major. Think of it as a modified D major. Likewise, think of E Phrygian as a modified E Major scale.

Here's a list of the modes and what modes they contain.

Ionian
Root note
Major 2nd
Major 3rd
Perfect 4th
Perfect 5th
Major 6th
Major 7th
Octave

Dorian
Root note
Major 2nd
Minor 3rd
Perfect 4th
Perfect 5th
Major 6th
Minor 7th
Octave

Phrygian
Root note
Minor 2nd
Minor 3rd
Perfect 4th
Perfect 5th
Minor 6th
Minor 7th
Octave

Lydian
Root note
Major 2nd
Major 3rd
Augmented 4th
Perfect 5th
Major 6th
Major 7th
Octave

Mixolydian
Root note
Major 2nd
Major 3rd
Perfect 4th
Perfect 5th
Major 6th
Minor 7th
Octave

Aeolian
Root note
Major 2nd
Minor 3rd
Perfect 4th
Perfect 5th
Minor 6th
Minor 7th
Octave

Locrian
Root note
Minor 2nd
Minor 3rd
Perfect 4th
Diminished 5th
Minor 6th
Minor 7th
Octave

I feel there is no need to fixate on the fact that they share the same notes as that has no bearing on anything whatsoever when it comes to composing, other than for easy classification.

I also feel thinking of them as altered scales makes it easier to understand what makes something modal. It is these accidentals that give them their unique sound, and thus to have the classic Lydian sound, for example, you need to accentuate these accidentals, first through the chord progression, and then through the resolution to the tonic. Certain chords tend to do this better than others, such as the IMaj7 chord (taking this straight from one of the mode stickies), which is why it's common to come across modal (or supposedly modal) vamps with only one chord repeated in the back.
Last edited by triface at May 11, 2015,
#8
Quote by ajsbored
Alright. So to play one of the modes, choose another note in the scale to be the root, and play the c major in that key. Thats it?


Nope.

Step 1: Identify what key or mode the song is in.
Step 2: Play the scale or mode assoicated with it.

If you want to get a different aound from the parent scale, use accidentals or a different scale that shares the same root note.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#9
^This.

Also Triface, D Dorian isn't altered D major. It's altered D minor. There's three major and three minor modes.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

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#10
You're right. The way I look at it, which is not taught anywhere in conventional theory, is just to call the modes by their tonic (root is technically word for chords, and tonic, is the "root" for scales) So, Ionian is I mode for me, and Aeolian is vi mode. I find it much easier that way, but nobody else will have any clue what you're talking about, and if you try to explain it to them, 80% of them will think you're always stuck in Ionian mode. But for me, in my mind, for making music, it's the simplest way to look at it.
#11
Quote by ajsbored
Alright. So to play one of the modes, choose another note in the scale to be the root, and play the c major in that key. Thats it?


The root (or really, the tonic) is NOT determined arbitrarily. You can't just say that "D is my tonic now" when you're playing the notes C D E F G A B.
#12
Quote by HotspurJr
The root (or really, the tonic) is NOT determined arbitrarily. You can't just say that "D is my tonic now" when you're playing the notes C D E F G A B.

You can, but it's impractical and confusing.

@OP: If your tonic is D, ALWAYS think D E F G A B C D, not C D E F G A B C or anything else that doesn't start with the tonic.

If you compare D Dorian, D E F G A B C D with the regular D minor, which is D E F G A Bb C D, you can see that there's only a difference of a single note (the B vs Bb)

That's why the the best approach and least mentally taxing is to think of D dorian as D minor with a raised sixth.

Same goes for the other modes. There's a reason they're categorized as major and minor modes. It has to do with the fact that all of them are either the regular major OR minor with a difference of a single note. (and the fact that they have a major or a minor third)
Last edited by Elintasokas at May 11, 2015,
#13
^This.

Just to clarify:

Ionian isn't I mode, or X mode. Modes and tonality are mutually exclusive.

Unless you're talking CST, which I assume fingerpikingood is, he knows his stuff, then yes, the I chord takes Ionian as the vanilla sound. But that's a different story entirely.
"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
#14
I think I might be trying to learn a lot way too fast. This is the 8th day since I started trying to figure out what scales are, and I've learned the major scale formula, minor scale formula, relative major/minor, how to make a pentatonic scale from the major or minor scales, and now I'm trying to cram what modes are into this. I don't even know what chord progression is honestly, it confuses me when people talk about it. Most of the places I've read about modes usually go "You choose a different note to make the root, different mode of the scale. youre welcome" which is where this question came from.
#15
Then leave modes alone for a while. It's alot, and there's SO MUCH bad info on modes online.

Right now you want to focus or major and natural minor scales, and pentatonic scales, while learning about chord progressions and keys.

Modes will come later, it's a more in depth subject.
"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
#16
Best way to learn the modes of the major scale and how to use them:

Treat each mode as an "entity unto itself," as it were.

In other words, don't just think of D Dorian as "a C major scale starting on D."

Learn the intervals (i.e., the order of half steps and whole steps) for each mode, and familiarize your ear with each mode's characteristic sound.

Each major scale mode has one or more tones that distinguishes it from the other modes and which imparts its characteristic sound.

For example:
Dorian: Nat 6th.
Lydian: #4
Mixolydian: 3 and b7, etc.

The next step is to learn to recognize specifically modal chord progressions when you see and hear them.

(Note: this presupposes you already have a handle on major scale harmony, i.e., you know how to harmonize the major scale in triads and seventh chords.)

For example:

Imi - IV (or IV7) = Dorian
I - II = Lydian
V7 - IV = Mixolydian
Imi - bII = Phrygian, etc., etc.

It's a good idea to practice playing each mode over its specific progression(s.)

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Last edited by Tonto Goldstien at May 11, 2015,
#17
Quote by Jet Penguin
^This.

Just to clarify:

Ionian isn't I mode, or X mode. Modes and tonality are mutually exclusive.

Unless you're talking CST, which I assume fingerpikingood is, he knows his stuff, then yes, the I chord takes Ionian as the vanilla sound. But that's a different story entirely.



I'm not. I'm talking about how I look at it, which I find much more simple. It is simplest for guitar, because of the way guitar is laid out. I wouldn't look at it that way on piano, for example.

On guitar though, what is difficult is how you can't see visually easily what a "C" looks like the same way you can on piano. But what is easy is that every mode and every key, is the same pattern.

So, all my naming is pattern based. Not sound based,.. sort of.

So, I've learned all my boxes, and that pattern very well. I can look at my guitar, and know where I am at all times. So, let's say I'm at the box where the low E, is an Ionian IV. Position 4, I guess probably it is called. That section will either sound like an Ionian IV, or it will sound like a Lydian I (I think) depending on the context I'm in. But I don't bother with that name, because it is irrelevant to me. Ok, so now forget for a second everything about modes you've learned, all the sound aspects of it, and only think of it pattern based. Look at the chords rooted on E string, and think of those as 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 same as Ionian, except might as well identify if the chords are major or minor as well, since that is useful, so I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii^o . That's the names I've given to positions on the fretboard. Or more precisely positions of "the pattern" It's not to do with Ionian, in reality. So, Ionian, is the sound you get if I is the tonic. Aeolian is the sound you get if vi is the tonic. I leave it like that. I don't bother with the greek names, and I don't bother changing the number values if i switch mode.

It is conventional to do that, because conventional theory wants to put the number value consistent with the function or "role" of the chords for whatever key you're in. Which kind of works, especially going from major to minor, but it doesn't work in every mode very well. I would do that though still, if my main instrument was piano. But since it isn't and function is not well linked to number value anyways, I drop that altogether. It is easier for me to just know that in minor it's the iii which is the dominant, which often likes to be a III, and which resolves to the vi, the tonic. I find that much easier than changing all teh names of the positions in "the pattern" for minor now, and call the iii chord a v, just to say its the dominant. I don't need that information. I know that in minor the iii is dominant, I don't need to confuse things and start calling it a different name now.

That's just the way I do it. It's not conventional. It's a bit hard to explain, nobody ever gets it really when I try to explain it to them, and most of the time they get all upset and offended, because it isn't the way school teaches it, but I find it the simplest way to look at guitar.

The only down side, is that if you find a progression somewhere written in roman numerals, and it is not in Ionian, then you have to do some math. If it is in minor, all you have to do is (-2) though, so it's not that bad.

So, modes are simple, because you can just have "vi mode" that's just a name, just like Aeolian is. It doesn't mean anything else. Except it is really fast to know and learn, because you don't have to memorize weird names, and associate them with the pattern you know. You just know immediately how to easily find the tonic of that mode, and what the pattern is.

I just find it more simple. Doing something like

I don't think D dorian as C major starting on the second note. I think it as D minor with a B natural instead of B flat.


If you compare D Dorian, D E F G A B C D with the regular D minor, which is D E F G A Bb C D, you can see that there's only a difference of a single note (the B vs Bb)


Because then you have to learn Major as a thing, and minor as a thing, and know all of the notes in that pattern, and which one is changed, and on paper, it might not be so bad, idk, I'm not a paper kind of guy, but on the guitar, it's a bunch of mental gymnastics, whereas all you really have to do, is switch which note is your tonic.

If I played modal music though, again, I use the conventional way, because it let's you more easily see how the modes are closely linked, but I never play that way. I never call up a different mode for a different chord, so it is not useful to me. I don't find modes work well that way, and I don't play music that switches pattern quickly like that.

Sometimes I might play some music where you can have a number of options of mode, like the blues, but I don't find my method hurts that. I haven't come across its weakness at all yet, except for the explosions that ensue when you try to explain it to people, and the fact you have to do a little math if someone wrote roman numerals down in a minor key.

I prefer it for me writing it down also. It makes it so easy to find a progression. I just look at the roman numerals and it's the same in every key. I don't have to think what key I'm in, and then think what tonic that makes me need to use, and so which chord is ii or IV or whatever. It's always the same. Really fast and easy. Then after you play it, you can easily know what key you're in by how it sounds. Or, you can specify the information, but it is not necessary. With conventional method it is always necessary to specify the key, because what the number values mean, depends entirely on what mode you're in. What position in "the pattern" they allude to depends on what key you're in.

That's too confusing for nothing to me, for what/how I play.

Whether one mode compared to another is a #this or bthat, it doesn't matter to me, that's not information I would use to play. It is however important for me for Harmonic minor, because I do switch back and forth on that one a lot, in minor keys. So, and you guys will really hate this , harmonic minor, to me, is 1,2,3,4,#5,6,7, because my naming system is always number valued as though I were in Ionian.

I find that system a lot easier on guitar, and haven't come across any reason to change it yet. If I did, I would change it in a second. Whatever lets me play better, is what I'm interested in.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at May 11, 2015,
#18
Quote by Jet Penguin
^This.

Just to clarify:

Ionian isn't I mode, or X mode. Modes and tonality are mutually exclusive.

Unless you're talking CST, which I assume fingerpikingood is, he knows his stuff, then yes, the I chord takes Ionian as the vanilla sound. But that's a different story entirely.



Hmmm!!!

Not true. You can write a piece in the tonality of e.g C Dorian, write a melody in C Dorian, and use chord progressions from that to back up the C as the tonal centre.

You can write modal "progressions" as well where the chord changes are much more constrained ... but these also back up the tonal centre.

cheers, Jerry
#19
I never understand why the origin of the modes is ever taught ... it's not even slightly useful to know that D Dorian has same notes as C major, etc. Otherwise, the bear trap is loaded to catch newbies out by being tempted to try and bring out the "C majorness".

My strongest advice is learn a mode based on the intervals it contains, and what is unique to it in terms of sound (e.g 6 in Dorian, b6 in Aeolian). Just accept a mode as a palette of sound, same way you accept the major scale or pentatonic scale without questioning their origins. Learn how to establish tonality given a palette.

cheers, Jerry
#20
^This.

I don't meant that you can't have chord sequences in modes with roots, I just mean that modal music and tonal music aren't the same, (this old debate again) so it's odd to try and think of them in such away. Unless CST is involved. Same terminology, different meanings.

Otherwise, relate modes to modes, and keys to keys. Ionian had nothing to do with I, and Dorian has nothing to do with II, UNLESS we're talking CST.

But yeah, what Jerry said lol.
"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
#21
Quote by ajsbored
Alright. So to play one of the modes, choose another note in the scale to be the root, and play the c major in that key. Thats it?

You need to stop thinking of modes as a scale within some key. D Dorian is not really the same thing as C major. Yes, they contain the same notes.

But C major and E minor also contain the same notes. Why are they considered to be different keys? Because the note we resolve to is different. (In C major, we resolve to C, whereas we resolve to E for E minor.) Similarly, C Ionian (aka C major) is not the same as D Dorian. C Ionian resolves to C, but D Dorian resolves to D. My point is, stop viewing modes in relation to tonal keys. Modes are modes, and tonal keys (major or minor tonality) are tonal keys.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 11, 2015,
#22
Quote by crazysam23_Atax

But C major and E minor also contain the same notes. Why are they considered to be different keys? Because the note we resolve to is different.

Also, they have different notes, lol.
#23
Oh dear.
"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
#24
In practice, C major = A minor = E phrygian scale (all the fingerings on the guitar are the same, you dont need different fingerings, just relate to the parent scale)

I think all mode threads should be closed at this point, its always the same arguments


read this
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1660895
#25
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
You need to stop thinking of modes as a scale within some key. D Dorian is not really the same thing as C major. Yes, they contain the same notes.

But C major and E minor also contain the same notes. Why are they considered to be different keys? Because the note we resolve to is different. (In C major, we resolve to C, whereas we resolve to E for E minor.) Similarly, C Ionian (aka C major) is not the same as D Dorian. C Ionian resolves to C, but D Dorian resolves to D. My point is, stop viewing modes in relation to tonal keys. Modes are modes, and tonal keys (major or minor tonality) are tonal keys.

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it's all coming back

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#27
Yeah for the love of God read my thread.
"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