Modes: Harmonization And Basic Modal Theory

author: countrychris01 date: 11/22/2010 category: for beginners
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Hi Guys, I've recently completed formal study on guitar. I was having a browse around this site, and couldnt believe some of the incorrect information being shown on modes. There is heaps of it. Too much confusion. Modes are very very simple to learn, and very very very easy to apply, and when done correctly, you have so many correct notes to choose, it makes it very hard to play the wrong thing. This will be a multiple part series, covering harmonization and analysis, Modes of the Major, Harmonic and Melodic minor. I am writing this to be a definitive series on modes and harmonic analysis. There is just way too much information out there, a lot of it incorrect, and a lot of it is also showing the scale patterns without any thought to the chord created from the mode. I will explain all aspects of modes, so you can at least tell what is correct and what is incorrect, and where information hasnt been shown(usually due to a lack of the author's theory training). This first lesson will be on 3 and 4 note chord harmonization, and the degree's of the major and minor scale, which is where all this modal stuff starts from. 3 note major chord scales
   G   A     B    C   D    E     F
   E   F     G    A   B    C     D
   C   D     E    F   G    A     B 

   C   Dm    Em   F   G    Am   Bdim

   I   ii    iii  IV  V    vi    vii
Okay, here we go guys. The basically building block of functional harmony. The major chord scale. I have listed the three notes of the chord, vertically, in the order from top to bottom(5th,3rd, Root) The chord symbol, and the chord degree. So as you can see, C major is the I chord in a C major progression. This major chord scale is movable. So if we are in the key of G it becomes:-
G Am Bm  C  D Em F#dim
I ii iii IV V vi vii
So as you can see, the pattern is the same for all keys. 4 note major chord scales
   B        C      D      E       F     G     A
   G        A      B      C       D     E     F
   E        F      G      A       B     C     D
   C        D      E      F       G     A     B
  Cmaj7    Dm7    Em7    Fmaj7    G7   Am7   Bm7b5
   I       ii     iii     IV      V     vi    vii
Now, I've added a fourth note in. This is what is called a four note chord. This is where all modern western music theory comes from. Right here. This is the key to the majority of chord progression seen in western music. Again, this is movable to other keys. Now go find some chord progression, and write the key in the top corner of the sheet of paper. Now find the related scale degree's(the roman numerals underneath the chords). Notice that whatever key your in, the song will have the majority of chords obeying this major chord scale. So go and find some of your favourite songs(in a major key)charts, print them out, and write out the chord scales above each chord. Feel free to comment if your having troubles on certain songs. I'll be checking comments so any help needed can be posted there. The next article will explain how to use the modes of the major scale over these scale degree's, but I'm sure with just this information the penny will drop with some players, and they will begin to see the correct use of modes. Until next time..
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