hey UG,

i've been slowly learning theory but there are a lot of stuff that still confuse me.i know about the basic construction of modes but i don't know what's so special about modes and how to use them.what i'm talking about is what is like what's so special in D Dorian if it has the same notes as the C Ionian?i mean you would still play the same notes on the guitar right?when will you use them?and how would i know what scales or modes to use over a certain chord progression?

and if you're going to gice an example,could you do it in thekey of C because it's the easiest one to understand and can think of all the notes and intervals on top of my head
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well if you were doing a ii V I in C. You can play dorian over the ii mixolydian over the V and Ionian over the I. This is just one example..
Originally posted by arrrgg
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doing a ii V I in C

what do you mean by this??

like a Dm G major C major??

and what am going to use,what dorian??D dorian or C dorian?
Quote by Gunpowder
The Pit is to intelligence what a black hole is to light; it's devoid of reason and logic, and nothing can escape it's shadowy depths. Once you enter, you cannot leave.
Last edited by pa3k_2414 at Oct 31, 2007,
Quote by pa3k_2414
doing a ii V I in C

what do you mean by this??

i think its when you play a D G C chord progression
Ok well though yes, D Dorian has the same notes as C Ionian, look at the notes of the D Dorian relative to IT's major scale.

D Major :

D E F# G A B C# D

D Dorian:

D E F G A B C D

So a minor sound is created because of the Flat 3rd and 7th.

This is just a silly little example of why they are cool and not just "The Same" as the Ionian mode. The intervals between each note makes a difference. The Phrygian has a flat 2nd, which gives it a unique sound etc etc
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Quote by jaypooner
i think its when you play a D G C chord progression

yep.i know it was a D G C prog. but what am going to use over it??? he said a dorian for ii,which dorian am i going to use??C dorian or D dorian,because if it is D Dorian then wouldn't it be just the same with the C major scale?
Quote by Gunpowder
The Pit is to intelligence what a black hole is to light; it's devoid of reason and logic, and nothing can escape it's shadowy depths. Once you enter, you cannot leave.
i think there may be a sticky at the top of this forum, it is called something like 'music theory faq'

after this i am fairly confident you will have a better chance of grasping the more detailed aspects, which can then be explained in detailed posts.

good luck
Why don't you try things out? See what does and doesn't work for yourself. Try playing D dorian over a Dm chord and also try playing notes from C Dorian over a Dm chord. Note that playing notes from C dorian ie C D Eb F G A Bb over a Dm chord, the root note is D, so the notes are D Eb F G A Bb C and the intervals are 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7. This is D Phrygian. The chord determines the mode.

STANDARD RESPONSE TO MODES THREADS FOLLOWS

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:
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Last edited by Ænimus Prime at Oct 31, 2007,
okay it's seems to be a little clearer now,read the theory faq but i got confused because it never really showed how to use it

so it's easier if i look at the mode as a altered major scalee rather than part of another scale.
like D dorian would be a sad D major rather than mode of the C major scale that just has a different root note but same notes
Quote by Gunpowder
The Pit is to intelligence what a black hole is to light; it's devoid of reason and logic, and nothing can escape it's shadowy depths. Once you enter, you cannot leave.
Think Intervals, As I said. Same notes, but When you play C Ionian/The C major scale, you jump from C to D, which is a whole step jump. When you play E phrygian (Even though it has the notes C and D as well), the first notes you play contains a jump from E to F (which is a semitone interval), therefore a more "Spanish" sort of sound.
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