The Modal Approach. Part One: The Backstory

Tom Colohue's "The Modal Approach". Part 1 of 5. This article covers origins and information behind the development of modal theory.

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Hey all, this is Tom Colohue, here to talk about one of the most difficult to understand and virtually impossible to explain aspects of music theory: modes. Modal theory is largely considered to be the hold grail of musical knowledge. Unfortunately, everything from harmonising the major scale to neapolitan chords is suddenly made to look simple when modes enter the field. When it comes to modes, black and white fact is so hard to come across that misinformation is now rife. What people now think a mode is is actually much closer to a scale - which is a different thing altogether. In the end though, we learn by being wrong. Music theory, in all shapes and forms, has always been of great interest to me. When I first started to learn guitar, I sought out every morsel of theory that I could possible digest. Within the year, I had ventured into the world of modes. In no time at all, I felt that I had a firm and sturdy understanding of all things modal. I was wrong, of course. One ego-destroying thread in the Musician Talk forum shut my mouth on the subject of modes for months. That, more than likely, is the point at which I decided to take the concept of modes and make it my bitch. I should point out that it took a frighteningly long time, but I feel good about it all. It wasn't the last time I was going to be wrong about modes. They're like the hated ex-girlfriend; they naturally make you feel idiotic no matter how hard you try. Modes take a lot of work, especially for something that is so rarely applicable. Until you know everything behind modes, everything else has the singular purpose of overcomplicating matters to the point of impossible confusion. Most articles that concern modes only cover the superficial layer. By nature, that's always going to bewilder. With modes, you have to dig a little deeper. This five part series will bring this information forwards, starting with the more superficial formulaic facts before going deeper into tonal centres, note stability and pitch axis theory. There's so many half-truths and misinformed people that I'm just going to get all of the information out there for all to peruse. The writing plan, as it stands, is as follows: Part One: The Backstory - Origin Of Modes - Are You Ready For Modes? - Are Modes Necessary? - What Are Modes Anyway? - Modes Vs Scales Part Two: The Paperwork - Mode Names - Modal Formulae - The Modal Note - Major/Minor In Modes - The Major Scale Vs The Ionian Mode Part Three: The Tonal Centre - Establishing A Tonal Centre - Note Stability - Suggestive Play - Teasing A Resolution - When To Let It Go Part Four: The Progression - Modal Progressions - Modal Interplay - Teamwork In Modes - The Vamp - Modes In Action Part Five: The Complex - Switching Tonal Centre - Switching Modes - Pitch Axis Theory - Further Learning - Conclusion So that's the plan and now comes the action. The modal approach begins here.

The Modal Approach by Tom Colohue

Part One: The Backstory

Origin Of Modes Here we have a concept to start with that's almost as complex and convoluted as modes themselves. There are several different incarnations for modes. Some are still in use, whilst some are not. The most common and popularly recognised set of modes would be the Church Modes, and yet these are nothing like the modern series of modes, despite popular opinion. The Church Modes were also known as the Gregorian Modes, and there were eight of them rather than the seven that we know today. The eight modes could be split into four pairs and were defined by the three highest notes in their formulae. Higher notes mark the mode as Authentic, while lower notes mark the mode as Plagal. In many ways, this is similar to having something Augmented or Diminished. Certain modes from that time do pass on. The names of the eight modes were:
  • Dorian
  • Hypodorian
  • Phrygian
  • Hypophrygian
  • Lydian
  • Hypolydian
  • Mixolydian
  • Hypomixolydian It is safe to say, looking at this, that the Authentic modes from the Gregorian Modes are the ones that survived for common use. These were not the first recognised set of modes though. Going farther back, we have the Greek modes, which were once again a very different collection to those in current use. These modes, laid out by the rulings of Pythagorean Intervals, had their own names, but also corresponded to a particular tone which modern modes do not:
  • Hypermixolydian (F)
  • High Mixolydian (E)
  • Low Mixolydian (Eb)
  • Lydian (D)
  • Aeolian (Db)
  • Phrygian (C)
  • Iastian (B)
  • Dorian (Bb)
  • Hypolydian (A)
  • Hypoaeolian (Ab)
  • Hypophrygian (G)
  • Hypoiastian (Gb)
  • Hypodorian (F)
  • Again, there are many names that we know as the modern modes, and knowing what came next, we can see the influence of the hypo' variants. The Iastian mode, as it was then, has a similar but not exact name in modern use: Ionian. You can see that this was no longer in use by the time it came to the Gregorian Modes. The same is true of the Aeolian. At the time, modal and tonal play had become confused, and the Ionian and Aeolian modes were not deemed necessary due to their tonal representatives: the major and minor scale. These though, were still not the first modes, but only those that fit the Pythagorean Intervals. The earliest modes, recognised because they were named after places and people, followed the Aristoxenian tradition. Aristoxenus was a Greek philosopher, and studied under the more acclaimed Aristotle. Those modes, as they were laid out, were not attached to any particular original tone. They were named as follows:
  • Mixolydian
  • Lydian
  • Phrygian
  • Dorian
  • Hypolydian
  • Hypophrygian
  • Hypodorian
  • Again, the building blocks of future modes are present here. In fact, all of the modern modes are represented but for three. Those that have the tonal representatives, the Ionian mode and the Aeolian mode, are not present. Also, the Locrian mode is not present in any of these musical philosophies. It simply did not exist until it was in use in it's modern context. Where did that come from? Nobody has a damned clue. The word mode itself also has had its meaning changed over the years. Originally, it was derived from the latin word modus', meaning standard' or measure'. You can see how this could develop into the meaning that the word mode' had during the medieval period, which was interval'. Intervals are, at their simplest, the measure between two things. As musicians, we know intervals as the measure between notes. Over time, it developed more towards a definition of pitch wavelength, and then, somehow, it became the name for it's current uses. See what I mean when I say that modes are confusing? The modern modes, and the ones that I will be covering, are named as follows:
  • Ionian
  • Dorian
  • Phrygian
  • Lydian
  • Mixolydian
  • Aeolian
  • Locrian
  • While all of this history stuff is handy to know, it's rare to find a true application for it. I won't be delving too deeply back in time during this particular series. Are You Ready For Modes? Things will get tricky when we get to modal notes and progressions, no matter how much you know about the building blocks that make up the theory behind it. It's not easy stuff to learn, but there are some particular aspects of music theory that provide helpful context for the facts to come. The major scale is easily recognisable as the single most important musical practice that there is. All modal theory and formulae is based on subverting the major scale. You need to know what the rules are in order to reliably bend them without shattering them completely. It's also important to have a strong grasp on chord composition, including chord extensions. Modal chord progressions are one of the most effective methods for establishing a tonal centre, and, once it's established, the next challenge is to maintain it. You need to really know your stuff if you intend to go beyond the examples that I offer in this series. You don't need to know the background. You don't need to know anything about modes themselves. In fact, it's better overall if you know as little as possible, considering the amount of misinformation that's out there about them. Coming into this with an open mind, a clean sheet and a willingness to be wrong about something as complex as modes will go a long way in helping you to understand their intricacies. Another important piece of the puzzle is intervals. I don't mean the notes here, I mean the sound of each note relative to the tonal centre. You have to be able to hear the differences between each mode, and it's the intervals that tell you what you're listening to. With that, you have the basic foundations that you need to start learning modes. All you need now is the drive. Got it? Good. You're ready for modes. Are Modes Necessary? The short and simple answer is no. Modes, and modal theory in general, are in no way necessary for any musician or composer. They are difficult to establish, difficult to maintain and their attempted use often proves little more than an annoyance. However, as a musician, or a composer, there is something much more important to consider. There are hundreds of thousands of instrumentalists out there, and you, as a fellow instrumentalist, have to compete with every single one of them to be heard. This means that you have to go beyond the mundane, everyday theoretical talents of your typical musician. You don't need to know the pentatonic scale, but it adds options that weren't there before. There are no truly necessary aspects of music theory, and that's a fact that's easy to overlook. You don't need to know anything about music to play an instrument. It's only when you start to create music that it helps to know what you're doing. The important question is more relative to you; the artist. Why do you want to learn modes? Does the music that you wish to make require modes, like the works of Dream Theater? Alternatively, would you rather play something along the more simplistic lines, like Greenday or Disturbed? The result of the answer you give will tell you whether or not modes are necessary for you. What Are Modes Anyway? Modes are an option - an additional armament in the arsenal of composition. They are not the holy grail of music theory; or at least they shouldn't be. They are not the utter pinnacle of musical knowledge either. They're just bloody hard. There's nothing special about them, and nothing makes them more important than anything else. They are an additional option for a musician to add to their portfolio. Nevertheless, modes have somehow amassed a particular reputation amongst musicians that blows them out of proportion. In a way, this is a bad thing because of how desperately some people try to master the knowledge because of how renowned modes are. In another way, it's a very good thing. Have you ever told somebody that you're just playing around in the Phrygian Scale? They tend to be impressed, even if the phrase Phrygian Scale is oxymoronic, nonsensical bollocks. Modes have became a status symbol amongst musicians - a benchmark by which theoretical talent is measured. This is likely why people have attempted to simplify the concept so far that current common opinion places modes and scales as the same thing. This is completely wrong. Like young men brag about sexual conquests, musicians started to brag about their command over modes. Lies began to strangle the facts and clear waters started to get murky. So what are modes? They're more than people are told they are. They're just complex enough that people give up halfway through, then try to make sense of the scattered pieces that they've clung on to. This stuff takes patience and respect, and not enough people have a clear grasp of that. Modes will sound good to other musicians, but they won't make you play, or write, any better than you already can. If you want to understand modes, I'll do everything I can, in these articles, to help, but you need to understand what modes are first. Before anything else, all of the false information built around modes has to be torn apart. We need to get through all of that in order to get to the simple reality. Forget what you think - hold on to what you know. Modes Vs Scales The primary lie and misinterpretation when it comes to modes is a simple one: modes and scales are virtually identical. Wrong. A mode can be played over a major scale. Wrong. If you play the notes of C major, but start on D, you're playing D Dorian. Wrong. There are tiny little grains of truth floating in all of this, but it's all clouded behind the crap other people have offloaded on to it. Modes are not scales, and here comes a beautiful and defining fact as to why: scales are tonal - modes are modal. Modes are scales are practically from opposing street gangs in a state of organised warfare. In order to use modes, you have to know enough about tonal music to safely get out of it and into modal music. There is a big difference, which will become apparent as we move on. Tonal music depends on the root and the well practiced, developed ears of the listener to pick out exactly what they expect to hear from years of hearing your typical cadences. Modal music is unpredictable, difficult to control and built around the modes themselves, which are, themselves, build around a tonal centre. With modes, you use the tone and expand on it. With tonal music, you choose your tone and then work with the limitations that gives you. Modes are confining in their own way, but while you can throw together anything from five to all twelve notes and call it a scale, it's how you play modes that make it modal. It's all about subverting the rules of tonality and going modal on their arses. That's why modes are such an effective tool for a musician or a composer. The world is so used to tonal music that modal music truly is a breath of fresh air. Hopefully, by this point, you're feeling a little more enlightened concerning modes. I know I haven't even come close to the meat of the theory behind them yet, but I think it's important that you know what there is behind modes before you start jumping into them. This article covers an important step that is far too often missed altogether. In the next article we'll learn more about the modes themselves, including the formulae of their make-up, what separates them from the other modes and the differences between the major scale and the Ionian mode. However, we still won't be going into using modes just yet. All of this information is important, and I'd just like to say thank you for reading. If you want to truly know everything that there is to know about modes, you have to start all the way back at the beginning. Thanks for reading. Tom Colohue Tom Colohue is a writer from Blackpool, England. Though he specialises in Fiction, he also writes music theory articles, and new media articles based primarily on the internet. On occasion, these also intermingle. He is well recognised by numerous critics and analysts for his integrative descriptive work and his cynical textual mannerisms. For more information, Tom Colohue keeps a Facebook Fan Page, which contains updates from new articles and his personal blog, Mental Streaming. This page can be found via this link.

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      Reagar
      Playing D dorian over the key of C wouldn't be modal, because the tonal centre would still be C. If you played it when D was the tonal centre then it would be modal. That's how I understand it.
      -Vasa-
      Although I can appreciate that you said it's hard and that this is the first part. Mostly you've just said what modes aren't. You did say they were modal, but I don't think you explained clearly (or unclearly) what that is. Maybe I'm just too much of a beginner though, seeing as other people found it informative. Thanks for writing something to help people though.
      M.B.MetalTabber
      potner420504 wrote: IF YOU ARE PLAYING WITHIN THE C MAJOR SCALE AND START AT D AND PLAY D E F G A B C D YOU JUST PLAYED D DORIAN. THE MODES ARE DERIVED FROM AND REFER TO THE DIFFERENT "STARTING POINTS" WITHIN A MAJOR SCALE AND THE INTERVALS PATTERNS. 1ST BACK TO YOUR 1ST = IONIAN, 2ND BACK TO 2ND DORIAN, 3RD BACK TO 3RD PHRYGIAN, AND SO ON. ENLIGHTEN PLEASE IF YOU WILL ON YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR APPLICATION BUT PLEASE DONT CONFUSE PEOPLE ABOUT THE SIMPLE FORMULA MODES DERIVE FROM. READING ALL YOUR BITCHING ABOUT MODES REALLY DISCOURAGED ME FROM READING YOUR ARTICLE BUT ALAS I FINISHED TO SEE IF THERE WAS ANYTHING TO BE LEARNED FROM IT. I DIDNT BUT IT WAS ENOUGH OF A HOOK TO CONVINCE ME THAT YOU MIGHT END UP SHARING SOMETHING USEFUL NEXT TIME.
      I think you're missing the point. He's saying that although this is how we get taught modes in the modern world, this is an incorrect way of looking at modes.
      Myshadow46_2 wrote: Silverpack wrote: To be honest, I'm a bit confused about the last part. You said that playing the notes of C major starting and ending with D doesn't mean playing the D dorian, but the notes played correspond to a dorian mode, don't they ? I'd wait for more articles. I'm sure that will be answered for you.
      I agree with shadow, wait for further articles. As far as I understand it, if you're playing in D minor, but playing D E F G A B C over the top then it's D Dorian, whereas if you're playing in C major it's a C major scale. However, I'm thinking my understanding is flawed going off this article. Can't wait for the next article! Interesting to see how wrong I am with my theory.
      krypticguitar87
      thank you..... everything I know about modes (which is really little since I had to quit my lessons at the very begining of modes due to financial problems) was constantly being proved wrong by people, who were then proved wrong by other people, who were also proved wrong by other people still, etc. etc.... Then every time I tried to learn more, it was mostly, "scales=modes but also scales=/=modes blah blah" so I'm glad that someone is finally filling in the blanks..... although this lesson has pretty much left off right where I was.... can't wait for the next one!
      Silverpack
      To be honest, I'm a bit confused about the last part. You said that playing the notes of C major starting and ending with D doesn't mean playing the D dorian, but the notes played correspond to a dorian mode, don't they ?
      Myshadow46_2
      Silverpack wrote: To be honest, I'm a bit confused about the last part. You said that playing the notes of C major starting and ending with D doesn't mean playing the D dorian, but the notes played correspond to a dorian mode, don't they ?
      I'd wait for more articles. I'm sure that will be answered for you.
      TheThunder
      Can't really judge how useful this series is going to be yet. But he's certainly set himself up as an authority, so my expectations are high. I'm a music theory noob, so if he explains modes to me, he'll have impressively succeeded where others have failed.
      Leather Sleeves
      Nice article, informative with captivating use of language. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Its a good change to see someone willing to actually explain modes rather than simply bashing people who don't understand them fully.
      potner420504
      IF YOU ARE PLAYING WITHIN THE C MAJOR SCALE AND START AT D AND PLAY D E F G A B C D YOU JUST PLAYED D DORIAN. THE MODES ARE DERIVED FROM AND REFER TO THE DIFFERENT "STARTING POINTS" WITHIN A MAJOR SCALE AND THE INTERVALS PATTERNS. 1ST BACK TO YOUR 1ST = IONIAN, 2ND BACK TO 2ND DORIAN, 3RD BACK TO 3RD PHRYGIAN, AND SO ON. ENLIGHTEN PLEASE IF YOU WILL ON YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR APPLICATION BUT PLEASE DONT CONFUSE PEOPLE ABOUT THE SIMPLE FORMULA MODES DERIVE FROM. READING ALL YOUR BITCHING ABOUT MODES REALLY DISCOURAGED ME FROM READING YOUR ARTICLE BUT ALAS I FINISHED TO SEE IF THERE WAS ANYTHING TO BE LEARNED FROM IT. I DIDNT BUT IT WAS ENOUGH OF A HOOK TO CONVINCE ME THAT YOU MIGHT END UP SHARING SOMETHING USEFUL NEXT TIME.
      ozzymbs
      I just here recently told my g/f that I wished I had a better understanding of modes and now BAM, I do believe Im gonna get that understanding.. thanks a lot dude, I can hardly wait for the next and next and next and.....
      Gyoung1991
      Tons of respect for this, I always see you popping your head into modes articles and just going WRONG WRONG WRONG. People have called you out saying that you should explain it better than, and you are stepping up.
      crazysam23_Atax
      tehREALcaptain wrote: please read the book(s) how to play jazz and improvise and the jazz theory book (or the lydian chromatic concept of tonal orginization, but thats way over my head as of now so it'd be hypocritical for me to recomend it/use it to support an arguement) before trashing modes's use as scales. they are not being used for modal music in that capacity, but it is a correct way to think about playing over existing harmonies. what your posting now is not incorrect as far as playing modal music, but completely ignores a modes use in playing over functional harmonic progressions, which, to the contemporary musician is a large margin more useful (when properly understood and in conjunction with what your saying).
      I think you're talking about the Jazz uses of modes (as scales), whereas Colohue is talking more about the classical (and more correct) use of the modes as modes.
      AxeHappy
      Everything Colohue has said is true. Modes are real complicated. I teach music for a living and the only way you can get people to understand modes is to start real slow and easy and move very slowly. Don't try and jump ahead into more advanced applications of the modes until you've got all the basics down. And whilst you, tehREALcaptain, this article has to be written for all of UG not just you! So keep the slow pace going and the in depth and wordy explanations as that it the only way to explain modes! The 1st article has to be about dispelling all the misinformation about modes because you won't be able to understand what they are if you're stuck in the wrong thinking!
      SkinUnzipper
      whereas Colohue is talking more about the classical (and more correct) use of the modes as modes.
      jesus christ that is some serious classical snobbery. I am a sound engineer at a jazz club and even the cats that bore me to death know more about what they are doing than any classical player and many a composer- and it's still ****ing music! How are they less correct? That is a rhetorical question, I am not asking for an answer about how classical music created modal practices that predate jazz and how jazz made it dumber or something. Well, anyway, I eagerly await the rest of this series of articles.
      mskasson
      There have been many articles with big promises of mode explanations to come and general descriptions of what modes are not. This unfortunately falls into that category. When Colohue delivers the promised explanation of what they are, and I am quite hopeful that he will, then this multi-part article will break out of the typical, less than fully explanatory tier of articles. However, until then, this remains in that tier.
      crazysam23_Atax
      SkinUnzipper wrote: how jazz made it dumber or something.
      But if you study the history of Jazz, Jazz and the Blues did make a lot of things dumber. /shrug
      speeddemon93
      I'm so excited to read the rest of these articles. Through constant searching over the last couple months, I've learned just enough about modes to be able to spot when somebody is teaching them wrong. Unfortunately, I then found that almost everybody is teaching them wrong . It really is a breath of fresh air to have somebody showing the right way, rather than just pointing out how everyone else has been wrong. Thank you good sir!
      potner420504
      crazysam23_Atax wrote: But if you study the history of Jazz, Jazz and the Blues did make a lot of things dumber. /shrug
      I dont think so dude.
      ippystratman
      Reagar wrote: Playing D dorian over the key of C wouldn't be modal, because the tonal centre would still be C. If you played it when D was the tonal centre then it would be modal. That's how I understand it.
      pretty much. thats how ive been taught. whhether this guy is right or wrong though it gives me a new way of looking at stuff. it could be musical bullshit but if it sounds good who cares
      ippystratman
      potner420504 wrote: crazysam23_Atax wrote: But if you study the history of Jazz, Jazz and the Blues did make a lot of things dumber. /shrug I dont think so dude.
      dumber is one way of putting it. simpler is more apt. the difference is blues is based on just playing what sounds nice whereas classical is learning theoretical stuff so you know what sounds good without even having to think about it. personally i like them both
      DontHaveAName
      After bashing everyone else for so long, Colohue has finally decided to open his mouth in a positive way. Good for you, man. I think this article is absolutely correct for the most part. Modes are actually pretty lame and very limited if all a person knows is how to run through them over a major progression. Whereas, when you learn to take pieces and incorporate them into music, it opens many doors. That's not to say that modes aren't blown way out of proportion, like you said. I've heard many people tell me that they have learned all the modes in a short time. I simply say, "Good luck with that, buddy." Nice article, man. I'll keep reading.
      Colohue
      tehREALcaptain wrote: So, what you're saying is, I should be explaining tonal applications of modes. Otherwise known as suggestive play, which will be coming later. Don't be getting ahead of yourself. getting ahead of myself (jesus thats condescending) ? I think I have the theory background with or without your (very good, just mildly incomplete) article to handle the basics of using and applying chord-scales. also i've never heard the term suggestive play (maybe its a UK US thing?), but yes. not just the tonal applications (as to use the example of using 3 different modes over a ii-V-I functionally your really only using one scale, or one with accidentals) but more using them to facilitate a mind to instrument interface for improvisation. which also lends itself to thinking about modes---eg thinking of a G13 chord as a mixolydian mode (G A B C D E F versus G B D F A C E which functions diatonically as the dominant chord in C and the corresponding mode is the fifth mode of C).
      You can't use three modes over a ii-V-I progression without pitch axis theory, and, unless you're using the right chords for modal flavouring, you're not playing modally at all. Also, I'm confused as to how a chord can be a mode. I didn't mean anything condescending, but I do believe that you've picked up pieces of a picture and filled in the blanks either with misinformation or by trying to fit a square block into a round hole and changing things to fit. If you disagree, these articles likely aren't for you. Either way, I'd rather not discuss this on this article, since I am not going into deeper, more confusing information yet. By all means send me a PM and we'll discuss the matter in depth after each article is released.
      Colohue
      tehREALcaptain wrote: please read the book(s) how to play jazz and improvise and the jazz theory book (or the lydian chromatic concept of tonal orginization, but thats way over my head as of now so it'd be hypocritical for me to recomend it/use it to support an arguement) before trashing modes's use as scales. they are not being used for modal music in that capacity, but it is a correct way to think about playing over existing harmonies. what your posting now is not incorrect as far as playing modal music, but completely ignores a modes use in playing over functional harmonic progressions, which, to the contemporary musician is a large margin more useful (when properly understood and in conjunction with what your saying).
      So, what you're saying is, I should be explaining tonal applications of modes. Otherwise known as suggestive play, which will be coming later. Don't be getting ahead of yourself.
      tehREALcaptain
      please read the book(s) how to play jazz and improvise and the jazz theory book (or the lydian chromatic concept of tonal orginization, but thats way over my head as of now so it'd be hypocritical for me to recomend it/use it to support an arguement) before trashing modes's use as scales. they are not being used for modal music in that capacity, but it is a correct way to think about playing over existing harmonies. what your posting now is not incorrect as far as playing modal music, but completely ignores a modes use in playing over functional harmonic progressions, which, to the contemporary musician is a large margin more useful (when properly understood and in conjunction with what your saying).
      SilverSpurs616
      After seeing how in-depth you've gone with this mere primer, I'll be eagerly awaiting future articles
      Flibo
      -Vasa-, I think that's something he'll clear up in future articles, as that's the whole big thing.
      kratos379
      Thank you so much for writing this. I know I asked questions on your page before, but this looks so comprehensive, that I know I'll get a very strong understanding of it.
      duck1992
      This is AWESOME. I'm excited to hear what you have to say, and I'm PRAYING that, finally, there will be a series of articles on UG that explains what modes REALLY are and how to use them. I confess a good amount of misunderstand and confusion about modes, and I'm excited to finally get to clear this up.
      baronvonbadguy3
      Haha every time i saw something regarding modes you would always be there to comment your wrong and i was like why doesn't he write one himself, and now you did awesome job.
      shadowmaster036
      very good. can't wait. I've been sifting through the cess pool of modal theory that's on here for quite some time trying to figure it out.
      Ultima2876
      Ehhh... found it a bit wordy and boring if I'm honest. It didn't really say anything except that most people are wrong and a bit of a waffle about the history of it before declaring that the history is useless and you shouldn't try to understand it. Hopefully the next one will be more informative...
      Jastul
      Very nice, I've been trying to figure out modes for a while and this comes as a godsend, definitely looking forward to the next few instalments of this!!!
      tehREALcaptain
      So, what you're saying is, I should be explaining tonal applications of modes. Otherwise known as suggestive play, which will be coming later. Don't be getting ahead of yourself.
      getting ahead of myself (jesus thats condescending) ? I think I have the theory background with or without your (very good, just mildly incomplete) article to handle the basics of using and applying chord-scales. also i've never heard the term suggestive play (maybe its a UK US thing?), but yes. not just the tonal applications (as to use the example of using 3 different modes over a ii-V-I functionally your really only using one scale, or one with accidentals) but more using them to facilitate a mind to instrument interface for improvisation. which also lends itself to thinking about modes---eg thinking of a G13 chord as a mixolydian mode (G A B C D E F versus G B D F A C E which functions diatonically as the dominant chord in C and the corresponding mode is the fifth mode of C).
      Jay Stone
      Interesting history, thanks..... Every body, please, just go to www.guitarmodes.com.au copy right site to discover the easiest method in the world to learn to play all modes of every scale. The site is dedicated to formulating methods and gaining knowledge to play across the entire fretboard. Plus a lot more info. such as playing Pentatonic scales diagonally then creating chords from them. Double stop harmonies for every mode. All unique teaching methods for beginners to experienced. The methods will stand up to any critisism because they do not diverge from convention. Don't forget you discovered it first on the Ultimate Guitar website. Regards, Ross. Guitarmodes (sorry, it is $2.95 for 30 days, just a little dearer than free)