#1
So I take weekly guitar lessons...

And things are really starting to take off with my lessons. My guitar teacher threw a curve at me and introduced me to modes this week. He gave me the task of coming up with a basic song before my next lesson and try to use GarageBand. How screwed am I lmao

I have a pretty good idea for a chord progression in E Phrygian. I have a section in mind for a clean chord progression and separate section with power chords. Should I just stick to the chords or try to make a riff out of it. Really all I'm trying to do is create a basic drum beat on GarageBand and have the application play the chord progressions soI can solo over it. Can anyone help me?

Em - F - C - G - C - F (Repeat)

Then some heavy distorted power chords going from

E - F - G (Bending the G chord a whole step?)
#2
First, try C major, because that's what it'll end up being in. I think of chant and staying around a tonal center of E when thinking of modes. The C is too strong in your progression.

If you have qualms about calling it C major because it starts on an Em chord, it's an off-tonic beginning. See "Kiss from a Rose" (Seal), "Anything but Ordinary" (Avril Lavigne), "Guld och Gröna Skogar" (Hasse Andersson. Good times ) for examples.

When I think of modes, I think melody first. The melody needs to establish both the tonal center and the modal notes... what has your teacher taught you?
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#3
First of all, that's not in E phrygian, it's in C major. (Why? Listen to it. Em doesn't sound like the home chord, C does. What makes the C sound like the home chord? Well, we have a dominant-tonic (V-I) there - G major goes to C major. That's a pretty strong, key defining sound. And if you want to write anything modal, you want to avoid that.)

But yeah, do whatever sounds good to you. Play them as arpeggios or strum them with clean guitar or whatever. If you think a riff will sound better (and can come up with one), do that.

If you have the newest version of GB, it has a built in "drummer" that automatically plays a beat that you can control. I would suggest trying that.


What do you want it to sound like? There's really no right or wrong. It's all up to you, it's your song.
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
#4
I suppose you guys are right. I'll try to summarize my lesson material in a little as possible.

I started back in August...

Basic First Position Chords
Closed Chords
Pentatonic shapes in the key families of C & G, and a little bit of F
Sight Reading
Chops Exercises
Learning songs by ear
Theory including Dominant 7th & Secondary Dominants? And Scale Intervals as well I think.
Finding Major Chords across the neck using the CAGED system.

Probably other stuff I'm forgetting. I still new to this, and I was just introduced to modes yesterday. So as far as I remember if I want to make my chord progression E Phrygian he told me to start with Em and the my next chord needs to contain an "F" he didn't exactly explain why yet. SO if anyone can point me in the right direction...
#5
Ahh I think I get it...

The following is the Phrygian mode starting on E, or E Phrygian, with corresponding tonal scale degrees illustrating how the modern major mode and natural minor mode can be altered to produce the Phrygian mode:

E Phrygian
Mode: E F G A B C D E
Major: 1 ♭2 ♭3 4 5 ♭6 ♭7 1
Minor: 1 ♭2 3 4 5 6 7 1
#6
^ Yeah. Phrygian is really close to minor - just one note different from it.


But it can be hard to come up with a modal chord progression (well, that's really the wrong way to think about it - chord progression itself is a tonal, not modal thing) with a lot of chords, because usually when you add more chords, you will start feeling pull towards some other chord. It usually starts to sound like either major or minor because those sounds are just stronger.

If you want a phrygian sound, start with a two chord vamp. Em-F is a good example. You want the E to sound like your tonic (if you want to write in E phrygian). Or start with melody instead of chords, because chord progressions really have nothing to do with modal music.

I wouldn't really worry that much about modes. They can be confusing in the beginning. I would first learn the major and minor keys properly. I would also learn about accidentals. As you figured out, phrygian can be explained as a minor scale with a b2.
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
#7
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ Yeah. Phrygian is really close to minor - just one note different from it.


But it can be hard to come up with a modal chord progression (well, that's really the wrong way to think about it - chord progression itself is a tonal, not modal thing) with a lot of chords, because usually when you add more chords, you will start feeling pull towards some other chord. It usually starts to sound like either major or minor because those sounds are just stronger.

If you want a phrygian sound, start with a two chord vamp. Em-F is a good example. You want the E to sound like your tonic (if you want to write in E phrygian). Or start with melody instead of chords, because chord progressions really have nothing to do with modal music.

I wouldn't really worry that much about modes. They can be confusing in the beginning. I would first learn the major and minor keys properly. I would also learn about accidentals. As you figured out, phrygian can be explained as a minor scale with a b2.


So how about this for my clean chord progression?

Em - F - G (Repeat) it's probably best if I keep this as simple as possible.
#8
Quote by anthonymarisc
So how about this for my clean chord progression?

Em - F - G (Repeat) it's probably best if I keep this as simple as possible.


It's harmonically ambiguous. But it could be in C or G depending on if you following it up with a C chord or a D7 or whatever. But if you want it modal it's going to be tricky. Because playing an E phygian over a G chord is just going to end up implying a G7, that will bring people to thinking it's in C.
#9
Quote by anthonymarisc
So how about this for my clean chord progression?

Em - F - G (Repeat) it's probably best if I keep this as simple as possible.


That'll work. Just hold the Em a few bars, and maybe even a few more. Repetition helps establish the tonal centre.
Si
#10
Quote by 20Tigers
That'll work. Just hold the Em a few bars, and maybe even a few more. Repetition helps establish the tonal centre.

Yeah. It has to do with the rhythm.

This is a good example of a phrygian sound with pretty similar chords as TS posted. The chords are F/G-G/A-Em and Em does feel like the tonic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSVHoHyErBQ
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
^ based on melody, I think JT is screwing with your expectations, but it's still in E minor.

When I think of Phrygian I think of plainchant

https://youtu.be/DUP5C5-MEoU

Which is why I said to start with melody instead. But whatever works for you

I'd also volunteer the Dm chord into Phrygian compositions as the relative minor of F.
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#12
I agree with Neo, but for different reasons. Keep in mind that the chords:

F/G & G/A

Are hybrid voicings, the bass note is the root.

G9sus4 - A9sus4 - Em = What's really going on there.

Is very clearly an Em progression (bIII-IV-Im), with a little "fake dorian" tinge from the borrowed A7 chord.
"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
#13
Quote by NeoMvsEu
^ based on melody, I think JT is screwing with your expectations, but it's still in E minor.

When I think of Phrygian I think of plainchant

https://youtu.be/DUP5C5-MEoU

Which is why I said to start with melody instead. But whatever works for you

I'd also volunteer the Dm chord into Phrygian compositions as the relative minor of F.

Yeah, I didn't mean the song was actually in phrygian. I meant that it had kind of a phrygian sound to it.
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
Quote by anthonymarisc
So how about this for my clean chord progression?

Em - F - G (Repeat) it's probably best if I keep this as simple as possible.
It could still be simpler.
Take out the G, and play Em more than F.
That makes it more phrygian.

OTOH, if you like the sound of your sequence, who cares what mode it is?
#15
Figured out my song. Might not keep the first section Phrygian rather lead into this riff I came up with. The guitar is in D Standard but tuned up to E then the main power chords are E, D, E, F. That's kinda Phrygian isn't it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Defve2kXrdg
Last edited by anthonymarisc at Nov 6, 2015,
#16
Quote by anthonymarisc
Figured out my song. Might not keep the first section Phrygian rather lead into this riff I came up with. The guitar is in D Standard but tuned up to E then the main power chords are E, D, E, F. That's kinda Phrygian isn't it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Defve2kXrdg

Uh, yeah still in D standard. And I'd call it D Phrygian because I could give less of a crap about what it says on the fingerboard; it's in concert D.

Otherwise
#18
^ That is a question you should never ask. Don't worry about whether other people like it or not. As you grow as a musician, how you listen and perceive sound will change ad you grow.
#19
^ +1

I did say it worked, but maybe not plainly enough.

Well, if you're making a song out of it, you have one section down, now you have to make material that will complement what you have.
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#20
Quote by anthonymarisc
Does anyone like what I came up with? Trying to figure out how to expand upon it.

Do you like it? If yes, keep it that way. If you think it sucks, change it. Whether it's in phrygian or not doesn't matter. Whether it sounds good does matter.

I think it sounded okay. Nothing wrong with your riff. Keep it that way and start adding more stuff to it. Add more instruments, come up with another riff to follow it, add a melody... After doing that, you may notice that your riff sounds even better. Many times riffs don't sound great on their own - they sound great in the context of a song.
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
#21
I appreciate the responses guys. I'll try to make it sound good to myself, and build it into a good song. I hope it comes out the way I like then.