#1
So i was thinking, how would i write a song with chords in modes? I know that the C Ionian mode is CDEFGAB and the D Dorian mode is DEFGABC, and so on and so forth. How would i write a song with chords in say, the D Dorian mode? Is it the same chords as C Ionian? I think i heard that they were different? Wouldnt i build the chords off of 3rds? IE: DFA=D min, EGB=E min, FAC=F maj, and so on and so forth? Do i need to do any more?
And if im writing in the D dorian mode, would that make D min the new i chord, or would it still be the ii chord? IE: D min, E min, F maj, G maj, A min, B min, C maj, with D min being the i, F maj being the III, and so forth.
Last edited by jon333 at Mar 25, 2007,
#2
if the notes are the same then the scale is the same the order of the notes does not matter and when it comes to the chords just do what ever u want as long as it sounds good that is what music is all about.
#3
Quote by i suck
if the notes are the same then the scale is the same the order of the notes does not matter and when it comes to the chords just do what ever u want as long as it sounds good that is what music is all about.

Your name says it all

Jon, you pretty much have the right idea, except that Bmin should be a Bdim. Yes, the chords will be the same. Yes, you could build the chords from thirds if you want. Yes, Dm will be your i and Am will be your v, and I would emphasise these two chords.
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#4
writing songs with modes ,

key center : the major scale which the mode you are working from is in ,

if you are playing the with D dorian mode , your key center is "C"

modal (tone) center : The root note the of mode you are using , if you are working in D dorian mode the modal (tone ) center will be D .

once you undersatnd these concepts , you can try and alter the key Center ,
such as :

D dorian (8 bars )
D mixolydian ( 8 bars )
D dorian (8 bars )
D phyrgian (4 bars )
D locrian (4 bars )
D dorian and so on

You get some real tension here as the key center changes but the modal center remains in D


another other option is to just change the modal center
such as :

D dorian (8 bars )
G mixolydian ( 8 bars )
C ionian ( 8 bars )
F lydian ( 8 bars )
D dorian and so on .

here we keep the "key center " intact , all the modes come from the C major key center, this creates a smoother sound naturally as the "key does not change .


finally here are both key center and modal center changes :

D dorian (8 bars )
G dorian (8 bars )
Ab mixolydian (8 bars )
Eb Phyrgian (8 bars )
D dorian and so on ...
"notice how every 8 bars the modal center and the key center changes , this give a very dynamic sound .


you can try and mix and match these ideas in you songs see where you end up .

Try and write on a piece of paper , 2 -4 modal center changes or try 2 - 4 key center changes like the list above and then try 2 - 4 key and modal changes , maybe you can post the ideas you like on this thread ?

(c) damien redmond 2007 , but please feel free to share with others !
#5
Just a question, if im playing a song in the D Dorian mode, do i try to keep accenting the C or D? Becuase its still in the key of C, but in the D Dorian mode?

And what would i use to solo over a progression in D Dorian? The D Dorian mode for that i guess, no?
Sounds like an obvious answer, just making sure.
#6
Quote by jon333
Just a question, if im playing a song in the D Dorian mode, do i try to keep accenting the C or D? Becuase its still in the key of C, but in the D Dorian mode?

It is in the key of D minor. If you make it sound like C is the tonal center, it will just sound like C Ionian.
#7
^ well, D minor with a B natural

what damienguitar was saying, for those who dont know, is basically Pitch Axis - Satriani uses it a lot, and he'll use other scales, like double harmonics and phrygian dominants, over a single tonal centre (eg E double harmonic, followed by E phrygian dominant, followed by E dorian).
Last edited by blue_strat at Mar 26, 2007,
#8
Quote by kirbyrocknroll
It is in the key of D minor. If you make it sound like C is the tonal center, it will just sound like C Ionian.


Woah, you just totally flipped me over there. So if i'm playing a song in D Dorian, and even if it has all the notes/chords of C major in it, it is in D minor? Its just a mode of C major isnt it? With all the same notes/chords and such, just in a different order?
If I'm playing a song in G mixolyidian, its actually in G major, with the notes/chords of C major? Huh?!
help please?
#9
Quote by jon333
Woah, you just totally flipped me over there. So if i'm playing a song in D Dorian, and even if it has all the notes/chords of C major in it, it is in D minor? Its just a mode of C major isnt it? With all the same notes/chords and such, just in a different order?
If I'm playing a song in G mixolyidian, its actually in G major, with the notes/chords of C major? Huh?!
help please?


Don;t compare D dorian with C major, compare it with D major.
It's best to think of modes as scales in their own right.
Dorian is the major scale with a b3 and b7, Lydian has a #4, Mixolydian has a b7. These alterations give each mode their distinctive sound.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#10
It is NOT in the key of D minor, even if you are basing your writing off of D Dorian there are still no sharps or flats. So it's either in C major or A minor. The chords underneath your lines determine the sound that happens. For example if you use D dorian over Dm7 it will naturaly give you the D dorian sound, but when the chord changes to say G7, even if you are in the D dorian position it will attribute to the mixolydian sound. Modes do not sum up keys, only Ionian and Aeolian can be considered the basis of any key.
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#11
Quote by VR2005
It is NOT in the key of D minor, even if you are basing your writing off of D Dorian there are still no sharps or flats. So it's either in C major or A minor. The chords underneath your lines determine the sound that happens. For example if you use D dorian over Dm7 it will naturaly give you the D dorian sound, but when the chord changes to say G7, even if you are in the D dorian position it will attribute to the mixolydian sound. Modes do not sum up keys, only Ionian and Aeolian can be considered the basis of any key.


you're right, I don't understand why most people here think that by using a mode you're automatically in the key of the mode you're using.

Plus the original poster asked about a D Dorian progression...if you play a bunch of chords from 'D Dorian' their functions will most likely push you towards a C major sound.
#12
^ not necessarily, depending on the progression you can definately write music to resolve back to the tonal center of D. archeo avis has the right idea here, the best idea is to think of a new mode as its own individual scale for that key, ie D Dorian is

DEFGABC

so i would think of it like a scale in the key of D with the following intervals

WHWWWH

now if you just "play a bunch of chords from D dorian" depending on what chords you play and the inflections given it may sound as though it pushes you back to C (as the progression you are playing may sound like is just starts on the ii of C major) but if you play chords contained within D dorian and outline the D dorian sound it will want to resolve back to D

try i - III - vi dim - VII

which will be

Dm, G, Bm dim, C

it should sound like it wants to resolve back to D minor for the i.
#13
Quote by z4twenny
^ not necessarily, depending on the progression you can definately write music to resolve back to the tonal center of D. archeo avis has the right idea here, the best idea is to think of a new mode as its own individual scale for that key, ie D Dorian is

DEFGABC

so i would think of it like a scale in the key of D with the following intervals

WHWWWH

now if you just "play a bunch of chords from D dorian" depending on what chords you play and the inflections given it may sound as though it pushes you back to C (as the progression you are playing may sound like is just starts on the ii of C major) but if you play chords contained within D dorian and outline the D dorian sound it will want to resolve back to D

try i - III - vi dim - VII

which will be

Dm, G, Bm dim, C

it should sound like it wants to resolve back to D minor for the i.


Well your progression of Dm>G>Bdim>C absolutely SCREAMS C Major

thats basically a ii>V>I in C, just with the added Bdim/Bm7b5 that makes it really want to resolve to C

here is a helpful summary from a professional teacher over at another forum...


"MODAL music is characterised by STATIC harmony. Often just a single chord is used throughout. This chord may or may not be dissonant, but the dissonance is purely colour, it doesn't require "resolution" to a consonant chord. When other chords are used they are like random notes from the scale. Chromatic notes are much rarer in modal music: they can occur, but modal tonalities are weaker than key-based ones, so are more easily disrupted by chromaticism.
Modal music tends to sound contemplative, meditative, forming a trance-like drone or groove. It's a single "mood", while key-based music is more restless, "telling a story" using many different harmonic effects."

http://jsguitarforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22836
Last edited by Stash Jam at Mar 26, 2007,
#14
^ and see to me, it sounds like it pushes to resolve back to the D from the VII - i movement for resolution especially in 4/4
#15
Play the Bdim followed by the C major chord....That's a textbook tension and release sound.
Play it a few times, the Bdim is tense, and the C major is your 'release'
After that cadence, you're just starting the whole thing over on Dm to push you right back to C.
#16
right i understand what you're saying but b/c its in 4/4 it sounds to me like the C wants to push back to the Dm
#17
those chords have the same function regardless of the time sig. The tritone in the Bdim chord (B, F) is strongly resolved by the (C, E) notes of C major.

Dm>G>Bdim>C feels rested, at home, finished, resolved, whatever you want to call it on C

ii.(Dm) is functioning as the Supertonic
V (G) is functioning as the Dominant
vii(B dim) is functioning as your leading tone (as in leading you to C)
I (C) is functioning as your tonic

If you understand all that it should be clear that you're in C major for this progression right?
#18
^ look im not arguing with you, i'm just saying that to my ear it sounds like it wants to resolve back to D. i understand your reasoning behind it but to my it doesn't have the rested effect when i end on C. if you want me to give a better example i can

Dm, F, G C

all 4 of these chords are in D Dorian.
#19
Quote by z4twenny
^ look im not arguing with you, i'm just saying that to my ear it sounds like it wants to resolve back to D. i understand your reasoning behind it but to my it doesn't have the rested effect when i end on C. if you want me to give a better example i can

Dm, F, G C

all 4 of these chords are in D Dorian.


...and C ionian, and F lydian, and G mixolydian. It definitely wants to resolve to C. Dm sounds great in the progression, but if you ended the song on it, there'd be a hell of a lot of tension.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#20
oh no worries man, I'm just trying to make it clear for everyone...Like the original poster wants to write a song using the chords of D Dorian, and people are like 'yeah that will be in D minor'
that's an incomplete & potentially misguiding answer at best...
it's all about the Chords, they determine the key or the mode if it's a modal tune. Using a progression based off D Dorian chords will likely resolve to C.
Modal harmony is static, so like a Dm>Em vamp would be a D Dorian sequence. The more chords you throw in there the more likely your progression will want to resolve to C or Am.
#21
I think i get what you're saying stash jam, but what do you mean when you say that modal harmony is static?

thanks.
#22
static = doesn't move in any specific direction (i think) thats how i've always heard static music referred to.
#23
yeah you've got the right idea..It can have chord changes, but they are very limited, and never stray from the tonal center for long. Like a vamp, or extended soloing over a couple chords.
see when you throw in other chords from D Dorian, they start to provide strong harmonic functions toward C major, which is fine. It's a good idea to experiment with using chord progressions starting and ending on various chords from the harmonized scale. You should just know that once your solidly in a major key, it rules as the tonic, everything else basically functions around it.

So modal songs are conveying one particular mode/mood, which is cool, but that mode/mood just sort of mixes in with other moods when used in major key chord progressions. for example, from the progression Dm G Bdim C, you could look at it as having a D Dorian mode, G Mixolydian Mode etc...so the Dorian mode/scale is still there, it's just not the main focus of the progression in that case.
Last edited by Stash Jam at Mar 26, 2007,
#24
modes get pretty muddy, I think Stash's quote sums *most* modal music up pretty well, and I agree that the progressions resolves to C, its a pretty standard progression in the key of C with C as the tonal center.