I've just joined the UG community so hello to everyone! This is also my first lesson submission, and I felt compelled to do it after reading so many confusing and complicated lessons regarding modes and their applications.
Like most of you, I don't want to get a damned PhD on this topic and discuss super-impositions all night long, it would, however, be nice to throw in a slippery Phrygian line into one of my solos if the mood strikes, and to have a general idea of what the hell I just played.
So this is my take on this pesky mode issue. My 14 year old nephew asked me to explain all "this mode bulls--t" as he put it.( kids these days, right?) So I'm thinking, hmm, how do I put this in a way that a child of the PlayStation generation will understand and perhaps even apply?
This is what I did:
Staying with the key of C- (M = Major/ m = Minor)
1- Ionian- you play CM scale or Am scale obviously over CM
2- Dorian- what is C the second of? Bb. So BbM or Gm scale is played over CM.
3- Phrygian- what is C the third of? Ab. So AbM or Fm scale...
4- Lydian- what is C the fourth of? G. So GM or Em scale...
5- Mixolydian- what is C the fifth of? F. So FM or Dm scale...
6- Aeolian- what is C the sixth of? Eb. So EbM or Cm...
7- Locrian- what is C the seventh of? ( always a minor second interval up which is a half-step), C#. So C#M or Bbm scale played over CM.
And that's it. That is "basically" the way it was taught to me by some heavy theory dudes and Berklee jazz-fusion instructors I've studied with, I just simplified it for us blue collar rockers. Have a friend drone on a CM chord under you while you play the major scales or relative minor scales and finally get the true sound and feel of each mode as it is supposed to be. Memorize them in all keys, oh hell, we're rockers, just memorize them in A and E and you're there!
I hope this helps and best of luck to everybody on here, drop me a line if you need more tricks and, until then, keep rocking-