I tend to write a lot of riffs based off of modes, but I'm always struggling to turn my riffs into actual songs.

For example, I've got a bunch of riffs that are A mixolydian, and I've no clue how to actually make this go beyond just a riff and become actual song that works.

Being that A mixolydian is the 5th mode of D, I figured I'd try to use chords from D, but it doesn't really seem to flow or fit all that well.

A7 D7 E7 works, but it drastically changes the song into something far more bluesy than I want.
theory is good for alot of things but sometimes you just have to write what you feel
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I'm not a super theory buff, but I find if you try to put too many chord changes in a song, you'll end up having it resolve to your relative major. Just analyze the notes in a bar, and try and pick chords that match it.
if its in A mixolydian your progression should resolve to A without making use of the D.

so you'll have to use and A7 chord as that highlights the defining qualities of the mixolydian mode. the next chord should also make use of the b7 (G) while avoiding the use of the D. it would be hard given that A7 wants to resolve to D, so just work on it until you find something that you like. and like Austyn said, you don't want to use too many chords otherwise it ends up moving the tonal centre back to D.

EDIT: you could use a progression like A7 F#m7b9 (1 b3 5 b7 b9 = F# A C# E G) notice that it's basically an A7 chord with an added base note, almost like A7/F#. i think that would work, but still might get the bluesy effect that you were looking to avoid. just keep trying it if that doesn't work for you.
Last edited by sisuphi at Jun 26, 2008,