Page 1 of 2
#1
What exactly is the locrian mode used for? I have never seen it used in any compositions, and it seems like there are always better options then it when it comes to making a song with a haunting, spacey sort of sound. What the hell is this mode good for?
#2
Quote by Trabo
it seems like there are always better options then it when it comes to making a song with a haunting, spacey sort of sound.


You need more than a scale to get a haunting, spacey sound. Chord progression, instrumentation, intervals, etc matter.
#4
^^ That's true.. (EDIT: to pwrmax)

As far as a composition which uses the mode.. check out As I Am by Dream Theater. The intro (and first few riffs at least) are using the Locrian mode. Can't say I know much else that uses it, though.
Nor less I deem that there are Powers
Which of themselves our minds impress;
That we can feed this mind of ours
In a wise passiveness.
--Wordsworth

last.fm
#5
Locrian is a bitch of a mode to be honest. It's so unstable it always wants to resolve somewhere which technically makes your piece non modal.


+1 a lot to pwrmax about the making haunting and spacey sounds. A scale might help you, or give you a series of notes that have more possibilities to sound "haunty" but if you don't write it properly no matter how much locrian, superlocrian and any other odd scale you use, it isn't going to sound the way you want it to.


EDIT:


+1 to what BGC said.
Last edited by confusius at Jul 19, 2008,
#7
Quote by Thursdae
As far as a composition which uses the mode.. check out As I Am by Dream Theater. The intro (and first few riffs at least) are using the Locrian mode.
No it doesn't.

WHen you analyze something for the scale used, you don't want it to be Locrian. That intro uses the E minor scale with heavy use of the b5 tone; it's not Locrian.
#8
Quote by bangoodcharlote
No it doesn't.

WHen you analyze something for the scale used, you don't want it to be Locrian. That intro uses the E minor scale with heavy use of the b5 tone; it's not Locrian.


What do you mean you don't want it to be Locrian?.. if it's Locrian then it's Locrian. Yes it uses the b5 a lot.. and it doesn't use the regular 5 (of minor) at all. It also uses the b2 (and not a regular 2, of minor).. in addition to the b3, b6, and b7 of minor. That's Locrian as far as I can tell.

edit:.. actually it does use the 5 in the E power chord... but the b2 still stands.
Nor less I deem that there are Powers
Which of themselves our minds impress;
That we can feed this mind of ours
In a wise passiveness.
--Wordsworth

last.fm
#9
Quote by Trabo
What exactly is the locrian mode used for? I have never seen it used in any compositions, and it seems like there are always better options then it when it comes to making a song with a haunting, spacey sort of sound. What the hell is this mode good for?

It's my favorite mode, don't say it's not good for anything.

What BGC said is correct: m7b5 is its use, so you'll see it in jazz and little else other than a couple of passages I've written with Locrian.
#10
Locrian mode: 1, b2, b3, 4, b5, b6, b7

min7b5 (half-diminished) chord: 1, b3, b5, b7


The intervals match up
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#11
Quote by Trabo
What exactly is the locrian mode used for? I have never seen it used in any compositions, and it seems like there are always better options then it when it comes to making a song with a haunting, spacey sort of sound. What the hell is this mode good for?
If you take the "modal interchange" aproach to modes, than its used for a split second in some santana songs, like smooth. It's actually used this way quite a bit in jazz.

If you take the modal progression approach to modes, it's never used because it requires a progression only consisting of m7b5 chords which would sound horrible if played for too long.

I guess if you call those metal riffs that are loosely based around modes 'modal,' some metal bands use it for an "evil" sort of sounds.
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#12
Quote by Trabo
it seems like there are always better options then it when it comes to making a song with a haunting, spacey sort of sound.


Quote by pwrmax
You need more than a scale to get a haunting, spacey sound. Chord progression, instrumentation, intervals, etc matter.


Chord progressions, instrumentation, intervals, etc. could very well be what Trabo meant when he referred to 'better options'.
#13
i believe part of "judith" by a perfect circle is in locrian (maybe the whole song, i can't remember) i was about to point out that i use the locrian intervals in metal with V chords, such as E5, F5, G5, A5, Bb5, C5, D5 and well..... i dig it, sounds evil to me.
#14
Quote by demonofthenight
If you take the "modal interchange" aproach to modes, than its used for a split second in some santana songs, like smooth. It's actually used this way quite a bit in jazz.
Why wouldn't you call it the blues scale and make things easy?

Quote by z4twenny
i believe part of "judith" by a perfect circle is in locrian (maybe the whole song, i can't remember)
I don't know the song, but it would probably be better described as heavy use of the blues scale's b5 tone.


Quote by z4twenny
i was about to point out that i use the locrian intervals in metal with V chords, such as E5, F5, G5, A5, Bb5, C5, D5 and well..... i dig it, sounds evil to me.
But since you're using E5, it isn't really Locrian. It's just heavy use of the b5 tone.


There was a big discussion about this involving the intro to "Enter Sandman." It was concluded that there is no reason to call it Locrian when saying it uses the blues scale is much easier and you avoid the m7b5 resolution completely.
#15
Quote by bangoodcharlote
But since you're using E5, it isn't really Locrian. It's just heavy use of the b5 tone.


I'm sure I've heard Archeo say that you can use a minor chord as the tonic chord and use the other chords to create the Locrian tonality. Why would using power chords be different?
#17
But just because you use one B that doesn't remove the sound of locrian from all future Bbs. And if I'm not mistaken the b5 isn't the only thing that separates Locrian from minor.. the b2 is there as well.
Nor less I deem that there are Powers
Which of themselves our minds impress;
That we can feed this mind of ours
In a wise passiveness.
--Wordsworth

last.fm
#18
Quote by Thursdae
But just because you use one B that doesn't remove the sound of locrian from all future Bbs. And if I'm not mistaken the b5 isn't the only thing that separates Locrian from minor.. the b2 is there as well.

The b5 is what defines Locrian, really; the b2 is present in Phrygian as well, and the b2 and b5 make the Locrian mode unique. Since there's a 5 in your harmony (B), I would be hesitant to call that the Locrian mode because the harmony alters the key interval of the mode.

Does that make any sense?
#19
I understood what you were saying.. and are saying. The phrygian v locrian thing goes both ways though. Since the thing that separates them is the b5.. is a riff/song which has a natural 5 and a b5 phrygian or locrian? What defines which it is? Does the use of a tonic power chord elminate locrian, even if there is a b5 within the same measure? Does the use of a Bb5 in E eliminate phrygian, even if there's a natural 5 in the same measure?
Nor less I deem that there are Powers
Which of themselves our minds impress;
That we can feed this mind of ours
In a wise passiveness.
--Wordsworth

last.fm
#20
Quote by Thursdae
I understood what you were saying.. and are saying. The phrygian v locrian thing goes both ways though. Since the thing that separates them is the b5.. is a riff/song which has a natural 5 and a b5 phrygian or locrian?

If it contains both fifth degrees, it's likely neither; it's some regular key with some alterations.
#21
I like to mess around in this mode because it is quite fun melodically and poses such a challenge harmonically.

As far as chord progressions it is extremely challenging. What you want in a tonic is somewhere to relieve tension and give the song an occasional sense of stability.

The minor third and diminished fifth of the Locrian make for such an unstable, and tense tonic chord that it is hard to find that sense of resolve. Often if you have a Major chord in your progression it will sound more stable than the diminished tonic and your ear will prefer it as the tonic. But that doesn't mean it can't be done you just have to think about it and be critical with your ear. Like BGC said it's not Locrian just because you want it to be.

I agree with :-D when it comes to using the perfect fifth interval in your harmony - particularly in the tonic - it is no longer Locrian.
Si
#22
Quote by :-D
If it contains both fifth degrees, it's likely neither; it's some regular key with some alterations.


So you have the viewpoint that modal music can't contain any accidentals whatsoever?
#23
Quote by Eirien
So you have the viewpoint that modal music can't contain any accidentals whatsoever?
That's a ridiculous viewpoint. What D means is that, although many metal songs use the b5 and b2 notes, it's not modal music. There is some pitch-axis at play.

You can use accidentals in modal music as long as you don't violate the important tones of the mode. The b5 is vital to the Locrian mode and playing the nat5 destroys the delicate modal tonality.

However, over a Dm7 G7 vamp, the b5 of D, Ab, is a completely acceptable tone in a lead. Dorian is somewhat bluesy/jazzy, so the blue note makes sense.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Jul 19, 2008,
#24
Quote by bangoodcharlote
That's a ridiculous viewpoint.

Wait... So modal music CAN have accidentals?
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#26
I figured it'd be some thing with your coined term: "delicate modal tonality." It's impossible for something not to turn in to a modal discussion here
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#27
Quote by metal4all
I figured it'd be some thing with your coined term: "delicate modal tonality."
I rather like my term.


Quote by metal4all
It's impossible for something not to turn in to a modal discussion here
It could be worse: speed vs. emotion.
#28
Quote by Eirien
So you have the viewpoint that modal music can't contain any accidentals whatsoever?

No, BGC summed up what I was trying to say there. Modal music can have accidentals, but you have to pick them carefully.
#29
Quote by bangoodcharlote
I rather like my term.


It could be worse: speed vs. emotion.

It's a nice term I guess (I couldn't think of anything better).

Ohhh god. You're right there. I remember that way too well.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#30
Quote by bangoodcharlote
That's a ridiculous viewpoint. What D means is that, although many metal songs use the b5 and b2 notes, it's not modal music. There is some pitch-axis at play.

You can use accidentals in modal music as long as you don't violate the important tones of the mode. The b5 is vital to the Locrian mode and playing the nat5 destroys the delicate modal tonality.

However, over a Dm7 G7 vamp, the b5 of D, Ab, is a completely acceptable tone in a lead. Dorian is somewhat bluesy/jazzy, so the blue note makes sense.


Yeah I get all that, it makes sense to me. So if a section of metal song contains the notes D Eb F G Ab A Bb C, you would think of it as D minor with alterations rather than D phrygian with alterations, depending on the emphasis of the Ab?
#31
Quote by confusius
It's so unstable it always wants to resolve somewhere which technically makes your piece non modal.
So don't resolve it, just stay on the dim chord. Dorian's ii V could easily resolve to I, but if you don't then it doesn't.

Quote by sue
What D means is that, although many metal songs use the b5 and b2 notes, it's not modal music. There is some pitch-axis at play
Pitch axis uses parallel modes, so what you're saying is that it is in fact locrian.

Quote by sean

Wait... So modal music CAN have accidentals?
I believe so. Think about this: if I play a melody using the intervals/scale degrees 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 over a i IV7 vamp for god knows how long, then finally ending the piece by using a major seventh to lead to the tonic, does that mean that I'm actually using the parallel minor key?

Quote by sue
Why wouldn't you call it the blues scale and make things easy?

My answer to that was posted by thursdae:
Quote by Thursdae
if it's Locrian then it's Locrian.

Thursdae, I am in complete agreement with all of your posts in this thread
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
Last edited by Ænimus Prime at Jul 19, 2008,
#32
It would depend on both context and personal views wouldn't it. Whether a person chooses to describe a musical passage as Locrian with a natural 5 or as Phrygian with a b5, or switching between the two parallel modes.

Personally, when both terms are used I would look at three things in deciding how to best understand and describe a chord progression in modal terms. First with whether the tonic uses a b5 or natural 5. In my view this is usually a defining feature. The next thing I look for is whether a chord progression uses the bV chord or a natural V chord, and then whether a III or iii chord is used.
Si
#33
In case those unfamiliar with the song care to pitch into the debate, Here's a tab:

   
e|---------------------------|-------------------------|
B|---------------------------|-------------------------|
G|---------------------------|-------------------------|
D|---------------------------|-------------------------|
A|--------------3-----3------|-------3--------3--------|
E|--3--3--3--3-----------2~--|--L-------1~-------------|
B|--1--1--1--1-----1---------|-------------------4~----|


That repeats. Then there's this


   E  E  E  E  S S S S S S E     E  E  E  E  S S S S S S E   
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|--------------4-3-1-4-3-1-4--|--3-----------4-3-1-4-3-1-3--|
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|--1--1--1--1-----------------|-----1--1--1-----------------|
 
 
  E  E  E  E  S S S S S S E     E  E  E  E  S S E  S S E     
-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
--------------4-3-1-4-3-1-4--|--3--------------------------||
-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
--1--1--1--1-----------------|-----1--1--1--4-4-4--2-2-2---||

which also repeats.

I don't know exactly what it should be classed as. Obviously, emphasis on the b2. With the 5 versus b5, in my opinion since the 5 is in a chord (R 5 R....not really a complex chord), and the b5 is held by itself, that seems to place more emphasis on the b5 than the 5 making it seem more locrian. From a theoretical standpoint I have no idea if that's correct so I'm not really going to try to argue it.
Last edited by TheShred201 at Jul 19, 2008,
#34
I wouldn't classify it as locrian just because it makes use of the flat fifth. The locrian mode is the sum of all of its intervals, not just one. I'd call it a minor progression with liberal use of chromatic tones, which is very common in metal.
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.
#35
Quote by arch
I wouldn't classify it as locrian just because it makes use of the flat fifth. The locrian mode is the sum of all of its intervals, not just one.
It uses all the intervals of locrian
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
#36
Quote by Ænimus Prime
It uses all the intervals of locrian


...as well as intervals that aren't found in locrian. If I play a chromatic run, I'm playing all the intervals of locrian as well, but it doesn't mean I'm actually playing in locrian.
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.
#37
Quote by arch
...as well as one interval that isn't found in locrian
Fixed. And that 5 doesn't do much other than define the root.

If I play a chromatic run, I'm playing all the intervals of locrian as well, but it doesn't mean I'm actually playing in locrian.
I would hardly call that riff a chromatic run. It uses the intervals 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 almost exclusively, it very briefly uses a 5 which again only serves to reinforce the 1.
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
#38
Quote by Ænimus Prime
I would hardly call that riff a chromatic run. It uses the intervals 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 almost exclusively, it very briefly uses a 5 which again only serves to reinforce the 1.


I think the vocal melody uses the perfect 5th a lot too.
#40
Quote by Eirien
I think the vocal melody uses the perfect 5th a lot too.
Yes I think it does too. It is sung over the second part of the tab TheShred posted, where the guitar doesn't use a fifth at all. So the intervals used in that section are 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 which makes it phrygian.
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
Page 1 of 2