ok i was talking to my guitar teacher about the pentatonic scale positions, and he said that the reason there are all the positions for the same notes were so
1) you could work your way up the neck all the way to the high notes without having to stop and move to another scale, and
2)so you could hammer on, slide, and do other techniques with notes that you cant in the other positions because of the string locations.

i keep asking about the different modes, and my main conclusion is for why there are all the modes for the same notes is, so you can move the notes up the neck, and so you can do techniques with the notes like hammer on twice and such without reaching far, etc. that you cant do in the other positions.

am i right? is this the main reason for modes? pleaasseee tell me im right because i dont want to have to grasp any more.
no because modes are used for all instruments, not just guitar. modes are variations of scales, that give different 'feels'. ive never understood it really, personally the only difference between incorporating a c ionian scale (not playing through it, but simply using it) and incorporating an a aeolian, is using a different root note. but i know that when i play through the scale notes in the right order, different modes give off different feels, and its to do with the relationship between the notes, and perhaps more importantly, between each note and the tonic.
i need to get a better signature.
Last edited by MATTTHEMOP at Jul 5, 2006,
From what I know modes are a different scales. Even though they may have the same notes, C major and A minor, they have a different sound. You can test this out by recording a C chord over and over and playing C major over it. Then record yourself playing an A minor chord playing over and over again and play C major. The sound you hear over the A minor chord won't be C major it will be A minor because of the way the notes sound over the chord. When you see a scale and it says Dorian mode, that scale is actually all the modes in one. It could be major (ionian), dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian, minor or locrian. The way it can be turned into either of these modes is the way you emphasize certain notes and the way the scale resolves. If you play C major and really focus on making the scale resolve to D then you will have a D dorian sound. Basically, modes are sounds IMO and those scale positions you learned may have all the same notes but its the way you emphasize certain notes that will give it a different sound.

I think you may have confused modes with positions too.
Quote by tryhardslash
and plus you like blink 182 which prooves you are dumb and have no taste in music

you just follow trends

What a tard...
Scales are building blocks in music. You build chords from them. You build melodies. You construct songs around. They're a tool.

Modes are just scales. It is as simple as that.

Your question is .. if C major and A minor share the same notes then what's the difference ?

The differences is because the relationships between each in the scale are different. Lets take a close look at C major and A minor.

The C major scale has a 1st (root note or tonic) - C, it has a 2nd - D, a 3rd - E, a 4th - F, a 5th - G, a 6th - A and a 7th - B. If you wanted to describe a major scale without using actual notes (so that you could apply it to any 'root note' for example) you could just say 1234567.

Build a chord from the major scale and you have a major 7th chord. Start on C and take every other note .. C, E, G and B. That's a Cmaj7 chord.

The minor scale has a 1st - A, a 2nd - B, a FLAT 3rd - C, a 4th - D, a 5th - E, a FLAT 6th - F and a FLAT 7th - G. If you wanted to describe this scale it would be 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 ... quite different from a major scale indeed.

Build a chord from the minor scale and you have a Minor 7th chord. A, C, E and G = Amin7. Again .. quite different from the major scale.

So now that I've proved that the two are completely different you wonder .. so when would I use one over the other ? The answer is "modes, like scales, are tools .. building blocks for creating music .. you use them for whatever you come up with .. there are no rules". They each build their own unique chords .. so you can play certain modes over certain chords. Hell, when you play through a chord progression in a common key you're technically using modes (those chords are each built from their own modes)... so chances are you use modes all the time you just don't realize it. You can pick a mode and use it as a tonal center for a song (ie: just take E phyrgian and write your whole song in it).

Here's an excersise for you. Write a song using C Ionian as it's tontal center. In order to do this you will have to write a chord progression that resolves back to Cmaj7. Now write a song using D dorian as it's tonal center. To do this you would normaly write a progression resolving back to Dmin7. I dare you to come up with something that sounds similar .. even though your two modes share common notes.

I just thought of another thing you can consider. C major and G major share 6 out of 7 notes. The only difference is that G major has an F#. Would you say that the two scales sound almost exactly the same ? By same I don't mean sound like a major scale because obviously they both do because they both are major scales.. but same pitch, same notes, same everything minus one note ? Play a G major from G to G and then a C major scale from C to C. Do they sound like you're playing the exact same scale in the exact same pitch minus one note ?
ok so even though if you played a c ionian and an a aeolian over a c chord, they would sound like the same because they have the same notes, they would have different sounds for different chords that would make you land on notes in that scale to imphasize the notes that make that scale sound like it does.... like the a aeolian is like not different at all from the c ionian, but it is very different than the a ionian. so if you played it over an a chord it would have a totally different feel than an a major scale. is that the basics of it?
to garrett: thanx for typing that. obviously, c ionian and a aeolian are very different because of the note intervals. but the thing that bugs me is when incorporating it into music. for example, say ur writing a melody in a particular mode. the notes arent neccesarily going to be in the order of the scale. in fact, its very unlikely they will be. therfore, wot makes it 'that particular mode'? the note intervals that define the different modes aren't so much there because a melodic pattern can have notes in any order.

i apologise if im totally missing the point. wot ive just said is why ive never understood modes.
i need to get a better signature.
Last edited by MATTTHEMOP at Jul 5, 2006,
This is to answer both Glen'sHeroicAct and MATTTHEMOP.

Glen'sHeroicAct - you've kind of got the idea. Read the rest of this post and if it doesn't answer your question I'll give you a more simplified 'yes/no' type answer for your question.

The problem is that most people associate scales with solos and that's what you're doing right now. You're ignoring the chords and the rythm section .. you're focusing only your solo / melody.

Say you have a Cmaj7 chord and over top of that you play a G. What mode are you 'in' ? What is that G ?

The answer is your mode is Ionian and you're playing a 5th. If you play a G over Cmaj7 it will function as a 5th.

Lets say you play an entire A minor scale over a Cmaj7 chord. What now ? First you're playing a 6th, then 7th, then 1st, then 2nd, then 3rd, then 4th, then 5th etc. Your mode is still Ionian.

If you play a G over an Amin7 then what now ? The G functions as a 6th.

Of course this all simplification. I just know some wise-ass is going come back and say "yeah but play an F# over a Cmaj7 and your mode isn't Ionian anymore it's Lydian". I didn't even want to bring this up because I'm trying to keep it very simple but it actually helps bring me into my next point.

The problem that both of you are having is you're failing to recognize that the ENTIRE ESEMBLE .. the bass, the rythm section and any other instruments that are currently playing are ALL having a role on the mode that's being used. Every time a new chord is played, a new mode is introduced. And what notes you play in your 'solo' both DEPEND on that and sometimes help decide it.

Lets go back to my Cmaj7 example and the confusing bit about "what if you play an F#". The thing is .. the only way a mode or a key signature is absolute is if all 7 notes in that mode or key are being used. If my rythm guitarist and/or bassist are playing a Cmaj7 then I've got a couple choices. Two choices would be - I could play an F over it (a 4th) and make the mode Ionian.. or I could play an F# (#4) and make it Lydian.

Speaking from the perspective of a lead guitarist .... sometimes the mode is concrete and absolute. Your bassist is using different notes than your rythm guitarist and together they make the current mode very obvious and they give you little choice. Other times you have the choice to play different notes that would ultimately change the mode.

Just try to remember that modes are only scales. The fact that they are derived from other scales is not something that should be ignored .. but people tend to put all the emphasis on that when often it's not imporant and completely besides the point. And that's where people get confused. They think "why is A minor different from C major ? It's the same notes" etc. I hope I've answered that question.
Two words: avoid notes. But with the pentatonic scale, you're pretty safe, so you don't need to think about that very much.
Quote by crazydiamond73
You, my friend, are a genius.
Quote by Voodoo_Chile42
Two words: avoid notes. But with the pentatonic scale, you're pretty safe, so you don't need to think about that very much.

wot do u mean by 'avoid notes'? this is music. u cant avoid notes...pentatonic scale uses notes as well.
i need to get a better signature.
ok. i got some of it. but seriously, in order for me to grasp it completely and have it click, you are going to have to WAAAAY simplify it. pretend you are talking to a five year old. im still not getting like why it is like always ionian,when it wont be ionian, etc.
MATTTHEMOP you have no idea how much i envy you for understanding it now.
is there a lesson somewhere in UG where i can go and try to figure it out for myself? cuz garett is explaining it and im starting to grasp it, but i think i need more examples.

WAIT JUST ONE SECOND!!!! is the main outlook of modes to not look at how the d dorian is different from the c ionian, but to look at how the d dorian is different from the d ionian, etc? is that how i should be looking at it? and why if you play an F# is it lydian? couldnt it be dorian, phrygian, aeolian, or locrian, because they all have F#'s in them as well?
Last edited by Glen'sHeroicAct at Jul 5, 2006,
Quote by Glen'sHeroicAct
WAIT JUST ONE SECOND!!!! is the main outlook of modes to not look at how the d dorian is different from the c ionian, but to look at how the d dorian is different from the d ionian, etc? is that how i should be looking at it?

D Dorian IS different than C Inoian and it is also different than D Ionian.

The idea is not to compare them to any specific scale. You can compare them to all scales (because every scale/mode is different from one another) or you can forget this whole comparing thing and just focus on using them.

However .. you are correct in that if I were to decribe a mode .. for example "flat 3rd, flat 6th, flat 7th" (minor scale) I am comparing it to it's PARALEL major.

By that I mean that D major would be:
D E F# G A B C#
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

But D Aeolian (called a paralel mode) has a b3, b6 and b7 -
D E F G A Bb C
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b6

You're trying to understand why a mode is different than the scale it's derived from. I tried to answer that by showing that even though the raw notes within the scale are different .. the order of the notes changes everything else about the scale.

The short answer to your question is HARMONY. HARMONY is the reason that an A minor scale is so different from C major. The way the notes interact with eachother are different.

To prove it .. have someone play a C major chord on a guitar or piano while you play an F# (just the note - not a chord).

Now have that same person play a D major chord and keep playing an F#.

You'll hear how the sound of the note changes depending on what chord it's being played over. Over a C major F# will function as a #4 but over a D major it will function as a 3rd.

I'm not even sure I made this any clearer but I'm tired so I'm going to bed. If you're still stuck hopefully someone else can help or I can help you more later.
wot do u mean by 'avoid notes'? this is music. u cant avoid notes...pentatonic scale uses notes as well.

An 'avoid' note is a note in the scale of a chord that sounds dissonant when held against that chord.
For example, because of it's proximity to the third, the fourth note of a major scale sounds dissonant against the chord, and should only be held against it if the intended effect is dissonance. However, using it as a passing note will sound perfectly fine.
Quote by crazydiamond73
You, my friend, are a genius.
ok garett, ive got it now. thanks for putting up with my endless barrage of questions. finally i think i can stop wondering in the back of my head if i fully understand them.