#1
Ok recently I've been learning scales and such in the key of A , I've learned the a major scale threw some patterns along the fret board (got it from a book i bought). I've finally gotten to the modes part but I've having trouble understanding them I don't really have a musical background so its been confusing me for the longest time , can someone give me decent explanation on it to help me with the concept of modes. Also what exactly is a Natural Minor Scale (Relative Minor) and how does it work. Like Aeolian Mode is the same as C major which is the relative minor of A major(sorry if this doesn't make sense I'm really confused in all this as I'm trying to self teach myself all this and have been stuck for about a week with them)
Also are all major scales alike in finger positioning(or patterns) or is each one different , like if i knew all the notes and can play A major scale can i use the same patterns to play a C major scale. Like I know i can transpose A minor pentatonic scales and move it around to get E minor/ G major and such.

Any help would be appreciated
#2
For the modes/relative minor questions check out this thread: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=503032

As for the major scale: If you've learned a movable pattern (most books teach this) then yes, if you were to start on a C note instead of an A note, it would be C maj.
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#3
I wrote some stuff about modes on the metalcore scales thread...maybe that will help
#4
then what makes a certain scale a mode ? like A aeolian mode is just C major ? so modes are confusing me
#6
Quote by xefe
Ok recently I've been learning scales and such in the key of A , I've learned the a major scale threw some patterns along the fret board (got it from a book i bought). I've finally gotten to the modes part but I've having trouble understanding them I don't really have a musical background so its been confusing me for the longest time , can someone give me decent explanation on it to help me with the concept of modes. Also what exactly is a Natural Minor Scale (Relative Minor) and how does it work. Like Aeolian Mode is the same as C major which is the relative minor of A major(sorry if this doesn't make sense I'm really confused in all this as I'm trying to self teach myself all this and have been stuck for about a week with them)

Major scale uses the following step pattern
W W H W W W H

The modes use this step pattern but start at a different point along it.
So the second mode (Dorian) starts at the second point and the step pattern is
W H W W W H W.

The Third Mode (Phrygian) step pattern is H W W W H W W
The Fourth Mode (Lydian) is W W W H W W H
The Fifth Mode (Mixolydian) is W W H W W H W
The Sixth Mode (Aeolian aka Natural Minor Scale) is W H W W H W W
The Seventh Mode (Locrian) is H W W H W W W.

The term Relative is used to descrive modes that use the same notes. For example D Dorian is made up of the notes D E F G A B C D. The Relative Aeolian (Natural Minor Scale) is A B C D E F G A. They both use the same notes (Neither use any sharps or flats). C Major uses these same notes with C as the root C D E F G A B C. It would be referred to as the "Parent Scale" of the D Dorian or A Natural Minor Scale (Aeolian).

There are seven modes and seven notes in a major scale.
1 = Ionian; 2=Dorian; 3=Phrygian; 4=Lydian; 5=Mixolydian; 6=Aeolian; 7=Locrian
Take your Major Scale (Parent Scale) and apply a number to each step in the scale.
In A major it would be 1=A; 2=B; 3=C#; 4=D; 5=E; 6=F#; 7=G#
So the Relative Modes of A Major are A Ionian; B Dorian; C# Phrygian; D Lydian; E Mixolydian; F# Aeolian (Relative Minor); G# Locrian. The Parent Scale for all these specific modes is A Major.

Two modes that use the same key or root note are called "Parallel". Example of Parallel modes would be D Dorian and D Phrygian. Different notes but the same root (D) makes them parallel.

Quote by xefe
Also are all major scales alike in finger positioning(or patterns) or is each one different , like if i knew all the notes and can play A major scale can i use the same patterns to play a C major scale. Like I know i can transpose A minor pentatonic scales and move it around to get E minor/ G major and such.

Any help would be appreciated

Yes all major scales share the same fingering patterns. For example taking an A Major scale and moving it up two frets would give you the B Major Scale.

Hope this helps some
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Jul 27, 2008,
#7
Quote by xefe
Ok recently I've been learning scales and such in the key of A , I've learned the a major scale threw some patterns along the fret board (got it from a book i bought). I've finally gotten to the modes part but I've having trouble understanding them I don't really have a musical background so its been confusing me for the longest time , can someone give me decent explanation on it to help me with the concept of modes. Also what exactly is a Natural Minor Scale (Relative Minor) and how does it work. Like Aeolian Mode is the same as C major which is the relative minor of A major(sorry if this doesn't make sense I'm really confused in all this as I'm trying to self teach myself all this and have been stuck for about a week with them)
Also are all major scales alike in finger positioning(or patterns) or is each one different , like if i knew all the notes and can play A major scale can i use the same patterns to play a C major scale. Like I know i can transpose A minor pentatonic scales and move it around to get E minor/ G major and such.

Any help would be appreciated

Have you learned the notes on the fretboard and the intervals of the major scale yet? It sounds like you've only learned the patterns which isn't an awful lot of use - either way you need to spend a little more time exploring and understanding the major scale before jumping along to any other scales. Don't go near modes yet, they're not something you need to be exploring until you've got a handle on the basics - arguably they're not all that useful even then.
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#8
Quote by xefe
then what makes a certain scale a mode ? like A aeolian mode is just C major ? so modes are confusing me


What's so confusing about modes?

Lets say you have C major scale: C D E F G A B C = 1 1 1/2 1 1 1 1/2

This is C ionian, D dorian, E phrygian, F lydian, G myxolydian, A aeolian or B locrian

So the notes in the 'scales' used or the same (C major scale), but the 'modes' start on different roots (D dorian on D, E phrygian on E etc.)

In other words, you can play different modes instead of 1 scale, example:

Cmaj chord is the harmony

You could choose just to play the C major over this: C D E F G A B (ionian)

But the different modes allow you to spice things up:

I could also play C Lydian: C D E F# G A B C (now you have a raised 4)
Or C myxolydian: C D E F G A Bb C (lowered 7)

Another example:

Cm7 is the harmony

Again you could choose the play only normal C minor scale:
C D Eb F G Ab Bb C (aeolian)

Now, lets see what the different modes bring us:

C dorian: C D Eb F G A Bb C (raised 6)
C phrygian: C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C (lowered 2)
C locrian: C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C (lowered 2 and lowered 5, also diminished scale)

Hope this will clear things up a bit
#10
Quote by Thunderstorm
Why not?
They aren't common and they're difficult to use.

WHat defines a mode is its root. You can't just play B Locrian over a C major progression; the root of the progression is C, so any scale you play over it must be called C (Fill in the Blank).

Conversely, if you play those notes over a Bm7b5 chord, it is always B Locrian. Since the root is B, any scale you play over that must be called B (Fill in the Blank).

Modes and scales are defined by the roots of the backing chords. Position on the guitar, order of notes played, and box pattern do not matter at all. All scales and modes exist all over the neck.
#11
However, knowing the modes gives you a better understanding of a song and how to improvise. By using a different mode, you can adjust the mood. I think I have a basic understanding of modes and when I learned them, I tried them out and it really made sense. It's also useful when analyzing songs.
Surely you don't need them, but it's something really useful.
Maybe some day I'll think differently, but now it kind of makes sense.
#12
Quote by Thunderstorm
However, knowing the modes gives you a better understanding of a song and how to improvise. By using a different mode, you can adjust the mood. I think I have a basic understanding of modes and when I learned them, I tried them out and it really made sense. It's also useful when analyzing songs.
Surely you don't need them, but it's something really useful.
Maybe some day I'll think differently, but now it kind of makes sense.


Modes are used over progressions that are specifically designed for them. You don't just pull them out to spice up a solo. If the song isn't modal (and the vast majority of music isn't), you won't be using them at all.
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#13
Quote by Archeo Avis
If the song isn't modal (and the vast majority of music isn't), you won't be using them at all.


Well, it's good that you mentioned that, because the site I've been checking out says:

"A great majority of the popular songs that you are likely to encounter have been written around modal chord progressions."

http://www.zentao.com/guitar/modes/modes-4.html

Anyway, I'll dig into it deeper.
#14
Oh alright I get it , even tho A aeolian is C major scale it has that different note progression, and yes i know most of the notes along the fret board, I've only been playing 4 months so just remembering each note for me right now is a little tricky but I'm making pretty good progress, thanks everyone I think i got a better understanding now on how modes work.
#15
Quote by xefe
Oh alright I get it , even tho A aeolian is C major scale it has that different note progression, and yes i know most of the notes along the fret board, I've only been playing 4 months so just remembering each note for me right now is a little tricky but I'm making pretty good progress, thanks everyone I think i got a better understanding now on how modes work.

No it's not

A Minor/Aeolian: A, B, C, D, E, F, G
Aeolian's intervals: 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7


C Major/Ionian: C, D, E, F, G, A, B
Ionian's intervals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


They have the same notes, yes, but their roots/tonal centers are different as well as their intervals.
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#16
Quote by Thunderstorm
"A great majority of the popular songs that you are likely to encounter have been written around modal chord progressions."
That's an incredibly wrong statement. Modal progressions are rare. Santana is the only popular artist who uses modes a fair amount.

However, over a progression such as Am G Am G etc, you would switch between A natural minor, A dorian, and A Minor Pentatonic/Blues. This would be the common way to use modes, over a modally neutral progression nonspecific to any one mode.