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#1
What's the difference between a scale, and a mode?

this bugs me out and i can't understand it, so i thought a little word game might be a laugh

go!
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#4
Normal scale starting on a different note.
"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, your eyes will get sore after a while."
#5
modes are scales that can be seen as derived from parent scales (E phrygian's parent is C Major). the note content is the same, the harmonic conTEXT is completely different. if you resolve to E and play E F G A B C D (E phrygian), then you are playing E phrygian. If you are playing a progression with resolves to C and play E F G A B C D (the same note content as E phrygian), you are actually playing the C major scale.

so its the context that determines the mode, it just seems that major/minor scales are fundamental because that is what our ears are most accustomed to in western music while in reality major and minor scales are in and of themselves modes. e.g. C major is C ionian. A minor is A aeolian. and they have the same note content. what makes a song in C major versus being in A minor? the harmonic context or in other words the resolution of the underlying harmony (chord progression).
#6
Quote by sisuphi
modes are scales that can be seen as derived from parent scales (E phrygian's parent is C Major). the note content is the same, the harmonic conTEXT is completely different. if you resolve to E and play E F G A B C D (E phrygian), then you are playing E phrygian. If you are playing a progression with resolves to C and play E F G A B C D (the same note content as E phrygian), you are actually playing the C major scale.

so its the context that determines the mode, it just seems that major/minor scales are fundamental because that is what our ears are most accustomed to in western music while in reality major and minor scales are in and of themselves modes. e.g. C major is C ionian. A minor is A aeolian. and they have the same note content. what makes a song in C major versus being in A minor? the harmonic context or in other words the resolution of the underlying harmony (chord progression).


This.

Though that's like...at least 12 words.
"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, your eyes will get sore after a while."
#7
Modes are a succession of notes within a Scale. For instance, starting on the 2nd note of a scale and ending on the same note an octave above is a mode.
#9
Quote by theoisbrutal
mode is kinda a mini scale inside a scale
How is it mini? It contains the exact same amount of notes as the parent scale.

There is no 10 word definition for a mode. It's a fairly complex topic and Arch and I (among many others, just too many to name and Arch is my pal) have spent many hours typing many pages in many posts to explain them. My advice to you is to read the theory link in my sig; go through it slowly and make sure you understand every concept before you proceed to the next section.

To answer, a mode is a type of scale. In fact, all scales are modes of some sort. To be playing truely modally, however, you must clearly establish the tonic; if you want to play D Dorian, make sure the song sounds resolved on Dm and does not want to go to C or Am, C having the more likely resolution affinity.

I have to go to class now, but I can go into more detail this evening.
#10
Quote by bangoodcharlote
How is it mini? It contains the exact same amount of notes as the parent scale.

There is no 10 word definition for a mode. It's a fairly complex topic and Arch and I (among many others, just too many to name and Arch is my pal) have spent many hours typing many pages in many posts to explain them. My advice to you is to read the theory link in my sig; go through it slowly and make sure you understand every concept before you proceed to the next section.

To answer, a mode is a type of scale. In fact, all scales are modes of some sort. To be playing truely modally, however, you must clearly establish the tonic; if you want to play D Dorian, make sure the song sounds resolved on Dm and does not want to go to C or Am, C having the more likely resolution affinity.

I have to go to class now, but I can go into more detail this evening.


What I don't understand that much about modes is how they relate to their parallel scales, or mainly how to know the difference between modal and tonal music..

Like, which is the difference between playing C lydian and playing in C major with a #4...
Last edited by gonzaw at Oct 17, 2008,
#11
Quote by gonzaw
What I don't understand that much about modes is how they relate to their parallel scales, or mainly how to know the difference between modal and tonal music..

Like, which is the difference between playing C lydian and playing in C major with a #4...

Maybe it's the way the chords of the scale are played within context of themselves? Like a #4 in lydian is normal, but the #4 in a major scale is considered dissonant, or something...
If you play guitar, please don't waste your time in The Pit, and please instead educate yourself in the Musician Talk forum, where you can be missing out on valuable info.
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#12
Quote by gonzaw
What I don't understand that much about modes is how they relate to their parallel scales, or mainly how to know the difference between modal and tonal music..

Like, which is the difference between playing C lydian and playing in C major with a #4...


If you have the score obviously you can just see what type of scale it is, but if you are relying on your ears the only helpful thing I can tell you is that modal music sounds renaissancey, like Greensleeves.
"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, your eyes will get sore after a while."
#15
What I don't understand that much about modes is how they relate to their parallel scales, or mainly how to know the difference between modal and tonal music..


It sounds different, like major or minor music. Except there are more 5 more sounds.

Like, which is the difference between playing C lydian and playing in C major with a #4...


Well, if you mean playing in C major with a #4 replacing a 4, then you're playing in C lydian - that's the name for that scale.
#16
Quote by Freepower
Well, if you mean playing in C major with a #4 replacing a 4, then you're playing in C lydian - that's the name for that scale.
However, if you're playing C major and just throw in an F# a few times, you're merely playing a few chromatic tones.
#17
What I don't really understand is how you keep from resolving to the "parent" scale when playing modally. Let me explain:

Say I was playing in D dorian. Am I strictly restricted to a i-IV chord vamp (Dm-Gmaj) or can I used all of the chords within the scale? (Dm, Em, Fmaj, Gmaj, Am, Bdim, Cmaj). I've found that using chords beyon Dm and Gmaj makes the song want to resolve to the parent scale, in this cas Cmaj. But I've also heard songs that have been played in Dorian using a number of chords beyond Dm and Gmaj: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFNpYcIXEFo (I may be mistaken about the mode, if any, this song is composed in...)

How is this done? How is it possible to play modally aside from using a droning tonic or simple chord vamp??

Thanks...
#18
If you play modally, you will only play notes within that mode. Diatonically, you switch between scales (or modes) and add in notes outside that.

So playing in A Aeolian could be a whole lot different to playing in A minor...


EDIT: I think The Beatle's Eleanor Rigby and Miles Davis' So What are good examples of Dorain if you're trying to get into it. Although I think So What might change/mode key at some point.. haven't heard the song in time.
Maybe try looking at Santana too... when I first learned Dorian I knew it as the "Santana mode"
Theres not better way to get a wide view on modes than too analyse other people's work I think.
Last edited by DeSean at Oct 17, 2008,
#19
Quote by Paquijón
How is this done? How is it possible to play modally aside from using a droning tonic or simple chord vamp?
You get lucky and find a nice chord progression. You're not restricted by anything within the scale. While Arch and I say that you should use simple vamps, experiment and be creative; I would very much like to hear a complex progression that is still strictly dorian. However, complex progressions tend to resolve to the parent scale.
#20
Quote by DeSean
So playing in A Aeolian could be a whole lot different to playing in A minor.
This refers to the major V chord in a minor progression, among other things which DeSean can explain.
#21
Although I think So What might change/mode key at some point.



So What moves from D dorian to Eb dorian back to D dorian.


#22
Here's my understanding (in more than 10 words). Think of scales as sets of intervals. For example, a major scale looks like this:
W-W-H-W-W-W-H
W = whole step (2 semitones)
H = half step (1 semitone)

So applied to the key of C, this would be

C-D(W)-E(W)-F(H)-G(W)-A(W)-B(W)-C(H)


A mode is where you preserve the same relationship of intervals, but just start at a different point. For example, phrygian is a mode.
H-W-W-W-H-W-W
If you look at the relationship between that and major, the phrygian just starts on the 3rd interval, and wraps around, but otherwise it's the same.
Here's E phrygian:
E-F(H)-G(W)-A(W)-B(W)-C(H)-D(W)-E(W)

All the modes of a scale have the same notes.

If the pattern of intervals changes, then it is a different scale. For example, here's harmonic minor -
W-H-W-W-H-A-H
A = augmented (1 1/2 steps)
Not something you can get by starting major at a different point.

I'm sure this is far from the complete picture, as my theory knowledge is fairly basic, but hopefully this gives you a good idea to start with, that you can build on later.
Last edited by se012101 at Oct 17, 2008,
#23
this wont be 10 words... but i just thought of this and it seemed like it made sense.


a scale is a series of notes.. right?

and a mode of that scale is just a variation of those notes... played in the same order, just not starting on the root.


playing a mode would be like opening a book at chapter 10 and starting over at chapter 1 when you were finished.


is that a good one?
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#24
^Your analogy works if you use a Tarentino (sp?) style where you establish chapter 10 as the beginning of the book/film. That analogy is explained below.

Quote by se012101
All the modes of a scale have the same notes.
Key fact right there!

However, to ensure that you're playing E Phrygian and not C Ionian, you must clearly establish a Phrygian tonality centered on E; your chord progression can't want to resolve to C, else it's just an incomplete C major progression.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Oct 17, 2008,
#25
for the modal vamps. i think the key is to figure out how to write a progression that makes strong use of the distinguishing characteristic of that mode. so for example, E Phrygian. What separates E Phrygian from E minor? The b2 interval contained within the scale. At the same time as emphasizing that b2 interval, the progression cannot want to resolve back to the parent scale (C Major). Furthermore, it can't want to resolve anywhere other than E (see bangoodcharlotte's post above).

so how do you do it? I don't think it's a matter of luck (and I don't think that's exactly what you meant either bgc). look at your chords. Emin, Fmaj, Gmaj, Amin, Bdim, Cmaj, Dmin. From those chords you can basically strike off Gmaj as it will make you want to resolve directly to C. YOu probably want to get rid of Cmaj as well and while you're at it Amin. That leaves you with Emin, Dmin, and Bdim.

Now Dmin and Bdim both contain the note F, the b2 of E. Now the Bdim in its root position (B as lowest note) will want to resolve to C much more than you would naturally want. But if you invert it (F B D) it might work. furthermore add the fully diminished seventh in there (Ab) and you have a strong tendency to pull towards G. And G just so happens to be in Emin. Combine that with the semitone pull to E from the F in Bdim and i think you have a chord that just might work.

So now we have E min and Bdim7 (inverted).

D min, consisting of the notes D F A would appear to be completely harmless, but the problem is that it doesn't really want to resolve anywhere in this progression if you just chuck it in there. sure the F can drop a semitone, but the other notes have to do too much work. what if we turn the chord into a Dminadd13 (D F A B). That looks good, it contains one note of E min and has the semitone resolution to E in Eminor. But notice also that it is an inversion of B7b5 (B D F A). And furthermore notice that B7b5 is only one semitone away from Bdim7.

i think you know where i'm going with this-->

Dminadd13 to Bdim7 (inverted) to Emin. (you can turn it into addb9 if you really want to).


as far as i understand that is just the beginning of modal vamps and writing chord constructions. you could probably make other chords work by using extensions of two or more notes but i can't wrap my head around that quite yet, plus i'm tired.

disclaimer: this is how i understand this process to work, if i'm wrong please tell me so i don't carry on.
#26
Quote by bangoodcharlote
However, if you're playing C major and just throw in an F# a few times, you're merely playing a few chromatic tones.


That was kind of what I was getting to..

How do you know if you are playing modally or if you are playing key-based music with chromatic tones? (maybe you use #4 the whole song and still treat it like a chromatic tone somehow)

EDIT:I remember seeing somewhere that says that functionality helps determining it, and also how voices relate each other or some other weird ancient stuff (which I assume is not used a lot nowadays, but may help answering the question)
Last edited by gonzaw at Oct 17, 2008,
#27
Quote by gonzaw
How do you know if you are playing modally or if you are playing key-based music with chromatic tones? (maybe you use #4 the whole song and still treat it like a chromatic tone somehow)
If you use the #4 and not the 4 at all, you're either playing lydian or something that wants to resolve to the parent scale.

I've never encountered this kind of scenario before, so I'm merely speculating, but it makes sense that what I said would be the case. If someone can find or write an example that contradicts my statement, please do share.
#28
How do you know if you are playing modally or if you are playing key-based music with chromatic tones?


Functional harmony.
Modal harmony is non functional.
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#29
My music teacher has a bunch of theory exersizes and stuff on his website, i can find it out for you if you'd like
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#30
Quote by Archeo Avis
Functional harmony.
Modal harmony is non functional.
You've used those terms a bunch lately, and it just dawned on me that I don't know what they mean, at least not as those words. Can you explain them please?
#31
Quote by bangoodcharlote
You've used those terms a bunch lately, and it just dawned on me that I don't know what they mean, at least not as those words. Can you explain them please?


Western key based music is very likely the most harmonically complex in the world. Western composers have explored the concept of using harmony to create tension and resolution, and imply a tonal center when when the tonic chord is not being played, and even when the notes being used don't derive from the key. The harmony is "functional" in the sense that there is movement and the buildup of tension. Modes tend to be harmonically weak, so whatever harmony there is tends to be used to accent the unique intervals of the mode rather than to create a sense of movement.
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.
#33
Quote by Archeo Avis
Western key based music is very likely the most harmonically complex in the world. Western composers have explored the concept of using harmony to create tension and resolution, and imply a tonal center when when the tonic chord is not being played, and even when the notes being used don't derive from the key. The harmony is "functional" in the sense that there is movement and the buildup of tension. Modes tend to be harmonically weak, so whatever harmony there is tends to be used to accent the unique intervals of the mode rather than to create a sense of movement.


Isn't functionality the way each degree is related to the tonic in a certain way? As in dominant, subdominant, tonic parallel, etc?

I also heard you could make pandiatonic pieces and still imply tonality while using lots of 13th, etc (I dunno if that is the case of modality instead though)...

EDIT:Wait, let's see if I get this straight..
Tonality emphasizes functionality, while modality emphasizes interval relationship right? (like how different intervals in a two-voice progression expand, etc).

Although church modes do have some functionality too (at least from what I know), like each pitch is related to the finalis or whatever tonic, etc (if that is indeed different than functionality, then modality could be defined as with less functionality).

Lol I am getting way confused with this...

Quote by bangoodcharlote
Okay, that makes perfect sense. Thanks.


See guys, I don't know everything...until now!


Last edited by gonzaw at Oct 17, 2008,
#34
Quote by JamesDouglas
This.

Though that's like...at least 12 words.

lmfao
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#37
Quote by edg
Scales have modes. Modes are scales.

That's the exact relationship in only 6 words.


Finally, someone actually did it.

Nice

Quote by bangoodcharlote
You've used those terms a bunch lately, and it just dawned on me that I don't know what they mean, at least not as those words. Can you explain them please?


here is a good clear explanation of functional harmony:

"A system of harmonic analysis. It is based on the idea that, in a given key, there are only three functionally different chords: tonic (T, the chord on the first note of the scale), subdominant (S, the chord on the fourth note), and dominant (D, the chord on the fifth note). Others are considered to be variants of the base chords."
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 18, 2008,
#38
Quote by GuitarMunky
here is a good clear explanation of functional harmony:

"A system of harmonic analysis. It is based on the idea that, in a given key, there are only three functionally different chords: tonic (T, the chord on the first note of the scale), subdominant (S, the chord on the fourth note), and dominant (D, the chord on the fifth note). Others are considered to be variants of the base chords."


Would you mind going a bit into further explanation...? How are I IV and V the only functionally different chords and the others simply variants of those chords?? Thanks!
#39
Quote by Paquijón
Would you mind going a bit into further explanation...? How are I IV and V the only functionally different chords and the others simply variants of those chords?? Thanks!


Well, all of the chords will function either as the tonic, sub dominant, or dominant.


Tonic = I vi

subdominant = ii IV

dominant = iii V Vii0


look at the notes of each chord and notice the similarities:
( in C major)

Tonic:

I C E G (Tonic)
vi: A C E (variant of tonic)

Subdominant:

IV FAC (subdominant)
ii DFA (variant of subdominant)

Dominant:

V GBD (dominant)
iii EGB (variant of dominant)
Vii0 BDF (variant of dominant)
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 19, 2008,
#40
Quote by GuitarMunky
Well, all of the chords will function either as the tonic, sub dominant, or dominant.


Tonic = I vi

subdominant = ii IV

dominant = iii V Vii0


look at the notes of each chord and notice the similarities:
( in C major)

Tonic:

I C E G (Tonic)
vi: A C E (variant of tonic)

Subdominant:

IV FAC (subdominant)
ii DFA (variant of subdominant)

Dominant:

V GBD (dominant)
iii EGB (variant of dominant)
Vii0 BDF (variant of dominant)



Ah ha!! Thank you so much! This is why in beginning theory courses they teach you to recognize I IV and V in all keys, I suppose. This is also where chord substitution comes into play... awesome, man, you've just answered about 5 questions for me in a single post. Thanks.
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