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#1
Since modes appear to be simple but are actually rather complex, most discussions about them end with arguing about minor but significant details. While these are interesting and important to the regulars and members with knowledge in the area, the arguments usually happen in a thread started by a beginner in theory, and the discussions go way over their heads and confuse, rather than help them. I propose we move all arguments to this thread.

Mods, if you dislike the idea, feel free to close/delete this thread. Else, I think a sticky would be appropriate; we can count of 2 or 3 arguments per week.


BGC

Edit: Please tell me if you delete it so I don't go crazy.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Jul 20, 2008,
#2
Since this is the mode argument thread can i ask this?

Someone quoted this on my thread about a begginer mode question.

Originally Posted by bangoodcharlote
(You're right that D Dorian, in its most simple definition, is C major played D to D. However, the following is wrong:

ii - iii - IV - I - ii in the key of C is Dm Em F G C. That isn't rooted around D, so playing D Dorian over that is not possible. Secondly, playing C Dorian over that is possible, but fairly ridiculous. C major would be appropriate.)


Umm I said C dorian not D dorian and how would that be ridiculous? Just asking cause im confused about that. And wouldnt the C major be the C ionian? Seeing as a scale pattern on the neck.
#3
This thread is made because of my argument in your thread; you are the beginner discussed in my original post. While you're free to do what you want, I caution you not to read this thread until your knowledge of theory is considerably higher, as you (and all beginners) need information explained at a basic level, which is not going to happen in here (I hope). You wouldn't expect a freshman pre-med student to attend a graduate level or medical school biochemistry lecture and understand it, would you?

I will address your question in your thread.
#4
I am self taught but believe I have a fairly good handle on modes. I understand how to use modes melodically over diatonic progressions, how to form modal progressions and use modes in melodic ways over top of them, and understand the relationship between parallel and relative modes and some of the ways in which to utilise these relationships. I'm not an expert but I do practice the application of these ideas as well as other theory I am studying and play around a lot. I make my own observations, create my own theories, and keep lots of notes.

In my exploration of music theory I have come across terms such as modal theory vs. tonal theory or modal theory vs. key based theory. I am usually fairly determined to find answers on my own but this one seems to be stumping me. What exactly is the difference when people talk about modal theory and Key Based theory?

The only difference I have been able to guess at is that key based music took prominance due to it's improved ability to accomodate accidentals in written form. Is this all there is to it?

I used to think it was all the same thing. A key signature just outlined what notes you were using and the mode defined which of those notes is acting as the tonic or root note for the scale. But then I see things such as "C Phrygian is in the key of C but this would use the same key signature as G#. I understand what each of these terms is referring to but I still don't see any difference between modal theory and key based theory.

Is there a difference or is it all just the same thing?
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Jul 21, 2008,
#5
Modal Question
Where is the line between key based and modal music?

Basically, modal music requires a given tonal centre, for example D Dorian requires the tonal centre of D (probably in the harmony) with, lets say, melodic lines using b3 and b7.

If i had a progression Dm - G7 - Cmaj, you would say "that is in C major" and you would be correct. However, if i said it was 4 bars of each chord and the c major scale was played over the top, then i think the tonal centre would resolve enough to say you were playing D Dorian, G Mixolydian, C Major.

Now, where is the line? What if i played 2 bars of each chord, but played the lead twice as fast? Would that be the same?

What aspects change the tonal centre? Or to put a useful musical twist to it what do we need to do in music to change/keep tonal centres effectively?

Is it made by the rythmn? Or the duration of bars? Or is it an individuals interpretation?

edit - i have altered the 1st line which previously read "... diatonic and modal..."
Last edited by branny1982 at Jul 21, 2008,
#6
I'm quite curious as to how one goes about playing in Ionian myself.

Galvanise, a diatonic scale contains seven notes, a pentatonic contains five. The difference is the amount of notes. Since there are seven note names (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) notes in a diatonic scale cannot be repeated

e.g: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E
#7
Quote by Galvanise69


How do you make a Modal Progression, is what I want to know.


Pick your mode - for simplicity let's say D Dorian

Pick your tonal centre/chord for that mode D/Dm7 respectively

Use chords (diatonic chords just to be safe for now) that include the vital notes of D Dorian (b3, nat 6, b7 = F, B, C respectively).
#8
Hey guys, mind if I put my controversial input in?

Personally, I think the whole "diatonic" music thing is just what jazzers back in the fifties called pop rock. Get this, the beatles would throw together a predictable melody with chord all from the same major scale, and the jazzers at the time would write these extremely complex progressions using every improvisational idea they could find. Guess who sold more records and guess who got pissy? I dont really think it's got much to do with modal vs diatonic.

My understandings of modes is like this. Theres heaps of ways to look at modes. The two most popular ways are as an improvisational device, and as a way of creating special progressions.

So, how do exactally go about writing modal music?
What most musicians mean by modes is 'modal progressions', where the progression will specifically point to a specific mode. This is achieved by outlining that specific mode (usually dorian as it's the easiest).

But how do you outline a mode?
Each mode has a special note that only that mode has, in dorian it is its natural sixth, aeolian is an exception to this. BTW you should know the formula's of the modes before using them, not just their fingerings. Alot of guys call this special note the modal note.

So all we do is find chord that contain this special note. In D dorian these chords are G7, Bm7b5 and Em. But, we cant just throw these chords together, we have to make sure we dont resolve to the I chord of the parent scale, or else all modal feeling will be lost. So that means we cant use Bm7b5, as it only really moves to C well. I personally wouldnt use Em, as it doesnt really move well (in my opinion) to either Dm or G7. So this leaves us with G7, which still contains the modal note and still moves well to Dm.

So our progression is: Dm7 - G7.

tldr; outline the modes using chords
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#9
I recently made a simple 2 chord progression - aiming to imply B Phrygian, and just to see how much I could do with impovising over just 2 chords. I can get Phrygian out of this easy.

Why?

Bm7 has the b3, b6 and b7, and the C chord takes care of the b2, and finally, the progression always resolves back to Bm7.

Yes, I know it's simple, but it works.

Bm7 - Cmaj13#11

-7 -7
-7 -7
-7 -7
-7 -7
-x -7
-7 -8

OR

-7
-7
-9
-7
-10
-8

Cmaj13#11 if you want a fancy shape. Note that the C chord is still diatonic.
Last edited by mdc at Jul 21, 2008,
#10
Quote by Galvanise69

How do you make a Modal Progression, is what I want to know.


Creating a Modal Progression

I know from previous posts of yours that you know how to harmonize the major scale. The same principle applies when writing modal progressions. First you harmonize.
The Dorian Mode = 1 2 b3 4 5 6 7
The Dorian Mode Harmonized in Triads = i ii III IV v vi˚ VII

Now you take those chords and arrange them carefully in a way that clearly defines the i chord as the progressions home chord. This is the trick to creating successful modal progressions - a clear and strong tonic.

Dorian is a minor mode (b3rd) but the only minor mode with a natural sixth. Hence to be sure of the Dorian flavour try to add in a chord that contains the natural 6. The ii and the IV are good for this.

Then you can solo away over the progression in your Dorian Mode and really get a good feel for the Mode.

It has been said that the minor modes tend to want to resolve to the Aeolian tonic and the major modes tend to want to resolve to the Ionian. I don't really buy this. The modes resolve to their own tonic that's why they are modes. If the Dorian mode resolved to the Aeolian mode it would be an Aeolian Mode

It is the composers job to ensure he/she stays in the correct mode and that a progression resolves in the desired way. What I feel tends to happen is that a composer will be so used to working certain chords from the Major and Natural Minor scales that when they use those same chords in a different mode they inadvertently start arranging the chords in familiar ways that resolve back to the root of the major or natural minor scales. Care needs to be taken.

Also I don't think the underlying harmony defines the root of a melodic line any more than a melodic line will define the tonic of the underlying harmony. The two are interdependent and should reinforce each other rather than compete to define the tonal centre.

For example one could write a beautiful melody a specific mode. Then harmonize it using chord progressions, octaves, or fifths that create ambiguity and confusion at the least, and possibly even a new tonal centre for the melody or parts of it. In then end all this means is that the a perfectly good melody dropped in the lap of an idiot and was butchered.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Jul 21, 2008,
#11
20Tigers

Some bassists to look out for (yeah that's right, I checked your profile) are:

Nathan East
Stu Hamm
Billy Sheehan
Jaco Pastorius
#12
Is there any usable way to use modes of the harmonic major scale? Or any of those other weird scales?

Is it possible to write modal progressions for harmonic/melodic minor modes? What would use do differently? Would you have to use the note which is different from the major scale, as in the G# in A harmonic minor and the Eb in C melodic minor?
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#13
Quote by demonofthenight
Is there any usable way to use modes of the harmonic major scale? Or any of those other weird scales?

Is it possible to write modal progressions for harmonic/melodic minor modes? What would use do differently? Would you have to use the note which is different from the major scale, as in the G# in A harmonic minor and the Eb in C melodic minor?

I think according to the Pitch Axis theory, you could use the harmonic major scale or those "weird" scales as long as you keep coming back to the root note.


I might be talking out my butt here, I just want to see if I'm getting this stuff.
#14
Quote by Demon
Personally, I think the whole "diatonic" music thing is just what jazzers back in the fifties called pop rock. Get this, the beatles would throw together a predictable melody with chord all from the same major scale, and the jazzers at the time would write these extremely complex progressions using every improvisational idea they could find. Guess who sold more records and guess who got pissy? I dont really think it's got much to do with modal vs diatonic.



What? There are things in that section of your post that are completely untrue.

There was never a competition between the Beatles and jazzers, or the jazz musicians and any other forms of pop music. In fact, lots of jazz musicians were talking those popular tunes that used to play on the radio in the 30s and made them into jazz tunes. Standards yeah?

The Beatles have actually composed some interesting things, with several key changes, creative harmony, ie knowledge of what they are doing. So whilst their music doesn't sound complicated, it actually required previous study to be able to compose it.


And most jazz music is diatonic. Fancy that, eh?
#15
Quote by demonofthenight
Is there any usable way to use modes of the harmonic major scale? Or any of those other weird scales?

Is it possible to write modal progressions for harmonic/melodic minor modes? What would use do differently?


You can use any mode you want over a chord progression, whether it's from the melodic, harmonic or exotic scale. Why would these scales/modes exist otherwise?

^However, this is most likely possible over chords that contain very few notes i.e power chords. I said this in another post, but will mention it again -

A quote from Satch

The less notes you have in the chords, the more freedom you have with the melody and improvistaion".
Last edited by mdc at Jul 21, 2008,
#16
Quote by branny
If i had a progression Dm - G7 - Cmaj, you would say "that is in C major" and you would be correct. However, if i said it was 4 bars of each chord and the c major scale was played over the top, then i think the tonal centre would resolve enough to say you were playing D Dorian, G Mixolydian, C Major.

Now, where is the line? What if i played 2 bars of each chord, but played the lead twice as fast? Would that be the same?
How briefly do you have to play a Dm chord to make it not sound like a minor chord? I don't think that ever happens (maybe if it is played for a shorter time than the period of resulting sound wave produced by a harmonic minor third and perfect fifth, but I'll guess that that has never happened).

Okay so Dm always sounds like Dm, 1 m3 P5.

Alright I'm too tired to finish my point, basically I was going to go on about melody and harmony being intertwined. It's all just intervals, and a set of intervals is a mode.
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
#17
Quote by Ænimus Prime
How briefly do you have to play a Dm chord to make it not sound like a minor chord? I don't think that ever happens (maybe if it is played for a shorter time than the period of resulting sound wave produced by a harmonic minor third and perfect fifth, but I'll guess that that has never happened).

Okay so Dm always sounds like Dm, 1 m3 P5.

what do you mean?

A Dm in a C major ii - V - I will rarely function as Dorian. That is my point. If you played the individual chords long enough, you would then be exploiting their melodic qualities.

The tonal centre must change in order for the mode to change. My question was what are the major contributors in changing the tonal centre?

With this knowledge we can make interesting music more effectively.
#18
Quote by branny1982

My question was what are the major contributors in changing the tonal centre?



1. Dominants. More specifically, Secondary Domainants.

2. Treating certain chords as different roman numerals. For example, let's use Dm.

If you hang on Dm long enough, you no longer have to treat it as the ii chord. It could act as the iii chord in the key of Bb, or vi chord in the key of F too, allowing you transpose.
Last edited by mdc at Jul 21, 2008,
#19
Quote by mdc
1. Dominants. More specifically, Secondary Domainants.

2. Treating certain chords as different roman numerals. For example, let's use Dm.

If you hang on Dm long enough, you no longer have to treat it as the ii chord. It could act as the iii chord in the key of Bb, or vi chord in the key of F too, allowing you transpose.


By that i take it you mean by using a secondary V - I you can change the tonal centre from (for example) a major key to Phrygian (etc)?

That is a good point, but not really what i was getting at.

What causes the tonal centre? is it just the harmony? or does the beat have a large effect?
#20
Quote by branny1982
By that i take it you mean by using a secondary V - I you can change the tonal centre from (for example) a major key to Phrygian (etc)?

That is a good point, but not really what i was getting at.

What causes the tonal centre? is it just the harmony? or does the beat have a large effect?



The beat and rhythm do have a large effect on how well chords resolve to the tonal centre imo. Some ppl will beg to differ I'm sure.

The biggest cause of the tonal centre (again imo) is the resolve of the tritone in the V7 chord to a major 3rd in the i chord TONAL CENTRE! RAAAA!

The F-B tritone in G7 is resolved to a 3rd by the two notes moving in opposite directions chromatically. F to E and B to C.
#22
Quote by branny1982

What if you stick on the V chord... when does this become Mixolydian? 4 seconds? 10 notes? 8 beats?


I think that very much depends on the phrasing of your improv/solo.

If you want an answer for duration tho, for me, 8 beats would probably be long enough yes - depending on tempo.

Quote by branny1982
My question was what are the major contributors in changing the tonal centre?


To add to my previous two...

3. Direct Modulation - (Using the Dominant chord of the target key)
4. Pivot modulation - looking at a chord in relation to its parent major scale. (Briefly mentioned in an earlier post)

With minors you have a choice of treating them as the ii, iii or vi
With majors you have i and iv.

Trying not to move away from the topic of modes here.
#23
Skimming the last two pages, it seems that there is a lot of provocative discussion, which is good. The original plan, however, was to have this be a thread where you could say, "take it outside," as the old bar-fight expression goes That is, when arguments start in other threads about complex ideas, the argument is continued in this thread, rather than jacking a beginner's thread. Though I suppose one could argue that most of what is being discussed is due to something I've said in the past.

Good thread so far. Have any questions gone unanswered, especially one about something I've said?


One more thing: If I've said something that is unclear or require further clarification, or you just want my take on an idea, be it in this thread or elsewhere, PM me with the URL of the comment in question and I'll address it in public, probably this thread (I'll PM you the URL of my response). I can't speak for anyone but me, but my guess is that most other members will respond the same way.
#24
Quote by branny
what do you mean?
I mean no matter how briefly it is played Dm always sounds like a minor chord, unless it's acting as part of another chord (eg Dm is a part of Bm7b5). Dm7 always sounds like Dm7, Dmadd9 always sounds like Dmadd9.

Dm is made of a root, minor third and perfect fifth. Dm6 is Dm with a major sixth, Dm7 is Dm with a minor seventh, Dmadd9 is Dm with a major ninth. With the chords Dm6 Dm7 Dmadd9 Dm, you have a melody that is part of the harmony. A chord progression is a group of melodies.

Dm6 always sounds like 1 m3 P5 M6
Dm7 always sounds like 1 m3 P5 m7
Dmadd9 always sounds like 1 m3 P5 M9
Dm always sounds like 1 m3 P5

Add up those intervals you get 1 M2 m3 P5 M6 m7
Just as 1 m3 P5 is a minor chord no matter how briefly it is played, that group of intervals is dorian no matter how briefly it is played.

So in the context of ii V7 I, is anything different? Is Dm not 1 m3 P5, is G7 not 1 M3 P5 m7?

Melody is a part of Harmony.
Melody and Harmony are described as groups of intervals.
A group of intervals is a mode.
Modes are a fundamental part of all tonal music.
A chord progression allows for dynamic changing of modes.
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 22, 2008,
#25
I do not agree with the whole theory of 'the mode changes with the chord'

If a chord progression is G C D - G C D - G C D - G C D - G C D, then the song is in G major. People like me will play G major notes over this progression, but that's all it will be. When a D is being played it does not become D Mixolydian.

You know this right?

It cannot become D Mixolydian until D is the tonal centre. The tonal centre is the place that the ear wants the music to end, it is the note which all others are heard relative to.

Changing the chord does not immediately change the tonal centre.

The question that i am trying to get to the bottom of is what are the contributing factors to creating/changing the tonal centre?. Not how to resolve a chord progression or how to use dominants, but how can we take a I IV V like above and be sure to expose each degrees modal quality.
#26
Quote by branny1982
Not how to resolve a chord progression or how to use dominants, but how can we take a I IV V like above and be sure to expose each degrees modal quality.


Ok, let's forget about that for now.


Quote by branny1982


The question that i am trying to get to the bottom of is what are the contributing factors to creating/changing the tonal centre?


The way the melody is played. The choice of notes and phrasing of these notes in relation to the rhythm can lead to a key change, creating a heightening sense of emotion.
#27
Quote by branny
If a chord progression is G C D - G C D - G C D - G C D - G C D, then the song is in G major. People like me will play G major notes over this progression, but that's all it will be. When a D is being played it does not become D Mixolydian.

You know this right?
I was pretty much trying to give reasoning for the complete opposite with my post.
Quote by branny
It cannot become D Mixolydian until D is the tonal centre.
D mixolydian is 1 M2 M3 P4 P5 M6 m7 where the root is D. In your G C D progression is D not made up of the intervals 1 M3 P5?
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
#28
Quote by Ænimus Prime
I was pretty much trying to give reasoning for the complete opposite with my post.
D mixolydian is 1 M2 M3 P4 P5 M6 m7 where the root is D. In your G C D progression is D not made up of the intervals 1 M3 P5?

Where the D chord is played (generally) in that progression, the tonal centre is not D.

The D chord itself is heard not as the root of the preogression, but the 5th of the progression. This is the whole point, the D cannot function as the dominant of G major and the root of D mixolydian.

Do you see? The whole reason that D is the dominant 5th is because the tonal centre is G! When the tonal centre becomes D - that is when you are in D mixolydian. This is when the D is no longer a V and is a I.
#29
Quote by branny
This is the whole point, the D cannot function as the dominant of G major and the root of D mixolydian.
Are you saying F# does not function as the major third of a D chord if you're in any key other than D?
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
#31
Right, so D would be the root, C would be the m7, A would be the P5?

Fill in the other notes in the key and you get 1 M2 M3 P4 P5 M6 m7 with D as the root. Sure as hell looks like D mixo to me.
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
#33
Quote by branny
Yes, but i can order the notes any way i like.... it doesn't mean that i am playing that mode.
Sorry, I don't understand what you're talking about. I'm not talking about playing the notes in a different order.

Please don't go down this road... demonofthenight thinks this way and has been chastised for it many times in the past.
I've always thought like this
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
#34
You have chosen to order the notes from D, i guess this is because the D chord is being played.
This correctly gives D mixolydian.

That's fine, but that is not a true representation of D mixolydian.

In this situation, the chord progression is moving around the 'home' of G major. Every time you move away from G major... your ear is thinking about moving back there, like a piece of elastic being stretched away.

When the D chord is being played, with the other notes, you end up with these intervals-

G A B C D E F#
r 2 3 4 5 6 7

G MAJOR

Where is the tonal centre Andrew? WHERE IS IT!!!!???

It is G
#35
Quote by branny
When the D chord is being played, with the other notes, you end up with these intervals-

G A B C D E F#
r 2 3 4 5 6 7
Did you just say G is the root of a D major chord?
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 branny1982
Yes, but i can order the notes any way i like.... it doesn't mean that i am playing that mode.

Please don't go down this road... demonofthenight thinks this way and has been chastised for it many times in the past.


Quote by Ænimus Prime
I've always thought like this


Well, when you have a firm grasp on modes (that's a general term to everyone btw) and how to imply them, it seems that it boils down to how an individual perceives the mode in question.

It's a personal thing to certain EXTENT - what I mean by that, is that there IS A RIGHT AND WRONG WAY to use them, but once you know how, the individual treats it in their own way.
#37
Quote by aeny
did you say D was the root of G... blah blah

No, i said that G is the tonal centre of this progression.

The D is the dominant of G major. Are you familiar with that? If you think about WHY it is called that and what function this chord has in its current role (yes its current role not its role as if it was a I chord) it should eventually become clear.
#38
I'm not saying the notes aren't heading to G, I'm saying they interact with each other on the way. Whats the point of moving if nothing changes anyway?

Quote by branny
The D is the dominant of G major. Are you familiar with that?
Can we stop the smartarsery?
yes its current role not its role as if it was a I chord
I'm not saying it's a I chord. I'm saying it's a V chord made up of the intervals 1 M3 P5.
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
#40
Quote by branny
Yes, it is definatley made up of those intervals.

Ok so then you play a melody over the D. The melody is part of the harmony, so you're playing D D6 D7 D9 D11 D. These chords are made up of the intervals 1 M2 M3 P4 P5 M6 m7 where the root is D.
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
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