#1
...are the hardest things i have ever had to learn about guitar, and though i have gone through many lesssons, i still don't understand how to use them. The mode lesson i've used the most is the Hopscotch Method 2, and it does a pretty good job of explaining. But it doesn't tell me how to apply a mode(s) to a key. It gives an ultimate scale of all the modes together. Can i actually use this in improv? And if so how do i get it into the key i want. And it says that after the locrian mode, it starts back up at Ionian. But i don't see where.

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#2
The modes are like a cycle sort of....Ionian
Dorian
Phrygian
Lydian
Mixolydian
Aeolian
Locrian

So, for example, if you're in the key of E Aeolian, which consists of the notes E F# G A B C D, the modes would be E Aeolian F# Locrian, then G Ionian (start back at the top of the list see) and A Dorian and N Phrygian etc.

SO if you are in the key of E Aeolian you would start at Aeolian and next it would be F# Locrian as that is the next letter of the scale and the next mode on the list, then when you reach the bottom, Ie Locrian, you go back to Ionian. I hope I'm accurate here and I hope this makes sense.

E Aeolian would look like this:

G Ionian
A Dorian
B Phrygian
C Lydian
D Mixolydian
E Aeolian
F# Locrian
Last edited by markonavich at Sep 2, 2007,
#3
Sorry, but N Phrygian? I couldn't but give a little giggle at that . You probably meant B Phrygian.

One thing: If you're in E Aeolian, your key is not "E Aeolian". If you look at it closely, you only see one sharp (F#), so that gives you G Major (Ionian).

Modes are basically the major scales starting on a different note of the scale.
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#4
Modes can be pretty much used in two diffrent ways, one being the tonal focus of the song, the other being a way to use a scale of a certain chord change. Now, a good majority of songs will stay in one key, which means the entire scale across the fretboard will contain all the same notes of the relative modes of the key.

E.G- Dmaj will include D Ionian/E Dorian/F# Phrygian ect...

You`re probably asking yourself "so if all the notes are the same, how do I make it sound different?" So assuming you`re in the same key and are using a simple Dmaj chord progression, lets use a 1/5/6/4 progression, which would be D/A/Bm/G. Over the D chord you could improv in D-ionian, then A-Mixolydian when the A chord happens, now the tricky part is knowing how to use the notes to get the modal feel. Typically you want to at least use the 1/3/5 intervals considering the chord is structured off of those notes.

More importantly, you want to start and end your phrase over the chord/modes tonal center. So you could play what you like inbetween depending on the sound you`re going for, but put emphesis on the 1/3/5 intervals, and you can do that by starting and ending on those notes.

Now there are rightfully reasons to play outside of a chord tone, however, that is related to mostly jazz music which involves much more advanced theory. Also, keep in mind not all music will stay in one key, so at that point you would have to change the scale, and they would not all comfortablly fit into the dmaj scale form.
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#5
Quote by utahotc
Sorry, but N Phrygian? I couldn't but give a little giggle at that . You probably meant B Phrygian.

One thing: If you're in E Aeolian, your key is not "E Aeolian". If you look at it closely, you only see one sharp (F#), so that gives you G Major (Ionian).

Modes are basically the major scales starting on a different note of the scale.


I'm not sure how you come to the conclusion the key is G ionian/major because there is only one sharp, could you please explain? I thought that it would be E aeolian/minor because it has a flat third (g)
#6
Well, from what I have read he seems to be saying the key of the song is G major because it has one sharp F. What's the relative minor of Gmajor? E minor. Sooo, the key of the song could be either and it's generally decided over things like the final note and if it includes that alterations of the harmonic minor scale. I think that's it. At least that would be how I would go about finding out a key of a piece of music I'm learning if I wasn't sure.
#7
Quote by markonavich
I'm not sure how you come to the conclusion the key is G ionian/major because there is only one sharp, could you please explain? I thought that it would be E aeolian/minor because it has a flat third (g)


There's a procedure for finding key signatures, most likely here on this site. If you can't find one I'll be happy to prep a lesson on them.
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#8
This is how you use modes.
Basically you use the 7 basic modes from the 7 notes.
If you have C major, you get 7 notes C D E F G A B C
before even thinking about using modes you need to know the tonal chords (in sevenths) you can use.
They are Cmaj7 Dmin7 Emin7 FMaj7 G7 Amin7 Bmin7(b5)
these normal chords then have a basic pattern of usuable modes
they would be C jonian D dorian E frigian F lidian G myxolidian A eolian B Locrian.

So if the song is in Cmaj7 and you play the Emin7 chord you have to use E frigian to be perfectly on tonality.
This sounds easy. It gets a little harder when you try to use this logic for every tonality (Example: Ab major or Db major). But it gets even harder when you try to use it on minors, because you have three options: eolian (same as above but starts from eolian mode), harmonic minor and melodic minor.

If you for example, are on A minor, and want to use something like Bm7 chord, you need to know the harmonic minor modes to move on a solo.

Chords: Amin#7 Bmin7b5 CMaj7#5 Dmin7 E7 Fmin7b5 G#º7
modes: Aeolian harmonic (7) Blocrian(#6) Cionian (#5) Ddorian #4 E frigian major (3) Flidian (#2) G#diminished

some people like to call C ionian (#5) as harmonic major and to D dorian (#4) as spanish phrygian. but whatever

As rule you never use Amin#7 mode unless you know what you are doing.

Once you are used to the modes and its natural positions, you'll need to know harmony theory to make it all this work altogether.
So you know what I mean, imagine you are playing on Am. When you get to a E7 chord, if you know enough theory, you'll see two chances in this chord: to use E myxolydian (and go to A major tonality) or using E frigian major (and move to A minor tonality) or even E dim (and go to wherever you want).
Last edited by elnole at Sep 2, 2007,
#9
I think the reason a lot of people seem to have trouble with modes, is because
they don't understand the most basic, most fundamental definition of a scale.
That's where your understanding has to start for modes.

A scale is BOTH:

A) A collection of unique notes within an octave
B) Assignment of a sequential scale degree to each of the notes in the collection.

People seem to have no problem with A), but when it comes to B) they totally lose
the understanding.

B) is what assigns a UNIQUE FUNCTION to each of the notes.

For exampe C Ionian and D Dorian. Are the same A). But, because they are
different in B), they are different scales. If you take the note E relative to
each scale: E is the 3rd of C Ionian and the 2nd of D Dorian. A 3rd in a scale
has a completely separate and UNIQUE function than a 2nd in a scale.

Hopefully that makes some sense, because its really the basis for understanding
modes.
#10
Firstly, RTFS

STANDARD RESPONSE TO MODES THREADS

Okay, a mode of the major scale contains the same notes as the major scale, but the root is a different note. This is just explaining where modes come from, but I don't think of them like this when actually using them.
D Ionian (major) is D E F# G A B C#
E Dorian (second mode) is E F# G A B C# D
A mixolydian (fifth mode) is A B C# D E F# G
They contain the same notes but start on different root notes.

So, they contain the same notes but they are definately different scales. I think of modes as alterations to the major scale.
Ionian (Major) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Dorian 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
Phrygian 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Lydian 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
Mixolydian 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
Aeolian (Natural Minor) 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Locrian 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

So, for F Phrygian you start with the F major scale, F G A Bb C D E
Then flatten the 2 3 6 and 7 to get 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
And you end up with the notes F Gb Ab Bb C Db Eb.

Now, when playing modes over chords, look at the intervals making up the chord and the intervals making up the mode. If they match up, they will sound good together.
Say a Cm chord comes up, thats 1 b3 5. Look at the modes and you see that Dorian, Phrygian and Aeolian all contain those intervals.
So you could play C Dorian, C Phrygian or C Aeolian, which one you chose will give a different feel.
Now if an Amaj7 comes along, thats 1 3 5 7. Compare that to the modes and you see that you can play A Ionian or A Lydian, againg giving different feels.
What about a Bbm7b5? You see that the only mode with 1 b3 b5 b7 is Locrian, so you can play Bb Locrian
With an E7 (1 3 5 b7) you find that only Mixolydian fits, so you can play E mixolydian

JohnlJones Jazz-Theory Bit:
With that E7 you could play E Phrygian, with the b3 funtioning as a #2, to outline an altered dominant chord.
E7 - 1 3 4 b7
E Phrygian 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
This gives the intervals 1 b2 #2 3 4 5 b6 b7 which is a _11b9#9b13 chord.

Remember none of this is law, it's just a guide so don't be afraid to experiment.
Hope this helps

The way to use modes and get their different sounds is to think of the intervals it is made up of. Phrygian has a b2, a dark, dissononant interval. Lydian has a #4, which sounds... I dunno how to describe it but it sounds cool. Mixolydian is like the major scale but has a b7, making it bluesy and dominant.

Just drone the low E string, keep it ringing (clean setting works best). Then on the remaining five stings, play E Phrygian, E lydian, E Aeloian, E Ionian etc. and emphasise the unique intervals in each. Really listen to each scales' characteristics. Try making a melody from each mode while droning the E string.

Once you have done this, watch this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWHKeC4IEgA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoGQ9yHOyZQ
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#12
what i did when i first learned modes was to memorize the steps between each note compared to its base major scale. then would remember the notes after i put the steps to practical use. THEN i would pick up the guitar after going through all this either in my head or on paper. then i would learn the basic patterns and figure out what other patterns i can make with the notes i learned.
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