Modes: Why and How Use Them

It's easier to remember 7 names to describe the effect than every combination of each scale.

Modes: Why and How Use Them
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One of the best articles on modes is here. This is a great reference guide, and describes mode and how to use them very well. Read this first, because I don't want to repeat this, or take any credit for this work.

The shortcuts are pretty common, but to avoid confusion please refer to the following table:

b3, b6, b7: Flat. So b3 means flat 3rd in G, B becomes Bb.
#4: Sharp. In G, C is the 4th note, and becomes C#.
p: Pull off
h: Hammer on
7 chord: Chord played with the 7th, such as Am7
20b22: Bend. Bend from the fret before the b so it sounds like the one after the b.
You could therefore see this as an addendum, and a little further explanation to help make the idea click in a practical way. I have created 3 tables for the modes of G, C and F. This are common major scales and you can easily work out the rest from there.

What Are Modes

There is some history as to how the modes get their names, but the modes are just a way to communicate concisely between musicians. In C, a band member may ask me to try to solo in G or Lydian. It is easier to remember 7 names to describe the effect than every combination of each scale. They know the tonal feel they want, and this is what is important.

Simply modes are all the scales that have the root note of the parent scale somewhere in their scale. So in G, they are all the scales that contain the note, G. Seven notes, seven modes. Some modes share many notes of the root scale, and it these differences that give each mode a feel.

This maybe technically interesting, but not very helpful. The useful and important part is the feel that these modes create in the listener. Many talk of the Dorian, or Lydian feel; like we are all meant to know what this means. The best and possibly only way to know understand this is to listen to music that uses these modes.

Blues solos tend to use Dorian and Phrygian modes. Lydian creates a haunting feel, good for film scores. Frank Zappa makes a lot of use of the Lydian mode, listen to "Watermelon in Easter Hay" - addictive and haunting. The Internet is full of examples, and listening is the best way to learn.


The feel is created, simply, by playing a note the listener isn't expecting. When listening to a song, the listener's ears are trained to the song and many can often predict the next note; even if they haven't heard the song before. The modes play with this effect, creating tension or other feelings in the listener. For example, when playing a song in G, a Bb creates a minor feel. This is the 3rd note in G minor, this note is often called the "blue" note - the minor 3rd of the scale (coincidence?). Partly why we play power chords in rock: there is no 3rd note in the chord. Of course, some notes are just simply wrong, and we have a mode for that too, Locrian - this is the mode even jazz musicians avoid.

You will also read that the modes are scale that start at a different note in the parent scale, and this isn't wrong. In this way of thinking, the Lydian mode of G would be C Lydian, not G Lydian. This simplified view actually makes mode harder to understand. This is why warlordjoe92 claims it is the wrong way to learn, and he is right!

The following tables demonstrate this.

Tables

The tables have the mode name, the type of scale, the major / natural minor scale, and the notes.

G Major

Mode       Type  Scale   Notes                     Relative notes
Ionian Major G /Em G ,A ,B ,C ,D ,E ,F#,G 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1
Dorian Minor F /Dm G ,A ,Bb,C ,D ,E ,F ,G 1, 2,b3, 4, 5, 6,b7, 1
Phrygian Minor Eb/Cm G ,Ab,Bb,C ,D ,Eb,F ,G 1,b2,b3, 4, 5,b6,b7, 1
Lydian Major D /Bm G ,A ,B ,C#,D ,E ,F#,G 1, 2, 3,#4, 5, 6, 7, 1
Mixolydian Major C /Am G ,A ,B ,C ,D ,E ,F ,G 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,b7, 1
Aeolian Minor Bb/Gm G ,A ,Bb,C ,D ,Eb,F ,G 1, 2,b3, 4, 5,b6,b7, 1
Locrian Dim Ab/Fm G ,Ab,Bb,C ,Db,Eb,F ,G 1,b2,b3, 4,b5,b6,b7, 1
From this you can see that each mode changes based on the Phrygian mode. Using this, the tables for the scales F and C can be easily worked out. This is easy on guitar, and you can start to see the patterns in the scales as you start to use them.

C Major

Mode       Type  Scale  Notes                     Relative notes
Ionian Major C /Am C ,D ,E ,F ,G ,A ,B ,C 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5 ,6 ,7 ,1
Dorian Minor Bb/Gm C ,D ,Eb,F ,G ,A ,Bb,C 1, 2,b3, 4, 5, 6,b7, 1
Phrygian Minor Ab/Fm C ,Db,Eb,F ,G ,Ab,Bb,C 1,b2,b3, 4, 5,b6,b7, 1
Lydian Major G /Em C ,D ,E ,F#,G ,A ,B ,C 1, 2 ,3,#4, 5, 6, 7, 1
Mixolydian Major F /Dm C ,D ,E ,F ,G ,A ,Bb,C 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,b7, 1
Aeolian Minor Eb/Cm C ,D ,Eb,F ,G ,Ab,Bb,C 1, 2,b3, 4, 5,b6,b7, 1
Locrian Dim Db/Bbm C ,Db,Eb,F ,Gb,Ab,Bb,C 1,b2,b3, 4,b5,b6,b7, 1

F Major

Mode       Type  Scale  Notes                     Relative notes
Ionian Major F /Dm F,G ,A ,Bb,C ,D ,E ,F 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1
Dorian Minor Eb/Cm F,G ,Ab,Bb,C ,D ,Eb,F 1, 2,b3, 4, 5, 6,b7, 1
Phrygian Minor Db/Bbm F,Gb,Ab,Bb,C ,Db,Eb,F 1,b2,b3, 4, 5,b6,b7, 1
Lydian Major C /Am F,G ,A ,B ,C ,D ,E ,F 1, 2, 3,#4, 5, 6, 7, 1
Mixolydian Major Bb/Gm F,G ,A ,Bb,C ,D ,Eb,F 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,b7, 1
Aeolian Minor Ab/Fm F,G ,Ab,Bb,C ,Db,Eb,F 1, 2,b3, 4, 5,b6,b7, 1
Locrian Dim Gb/Ebm F,Gb,Ab,Bb,Cb,Db,Eb,F 1,b2,b3, 4,b5,b6,b7, 1

Why Have Two Scales That Are the Same?

G and Em scales share the same notes, but it is the natural way we would play the Em scale that makes it sound different. In most positions, base the scale around the E minor chord at different positions of the neck - not just the 12th. This is Aeolian mode of E major, and is the natural minor scale of G major.

Straying Off the Em Pentatonic

Most guitarists learn the pentatonic scale, which will get a groan from pianists who consider rock guitarists just randomly play the scale formed by the black notes on a piano, i.e. the party trick, chop sticks.

To play this on a guitar, locate the natural minor and play notes 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 - so for G major use the notes E, G, A, B, and D. This avoids the notes that don't go with the main major and minor chords in G. Ok for jamming. We can start by playing in the Em position on the 12th fret, and stray off the pentatonic by playing the C over Em and Am (13 on B) and F# (14 on E or 11 on G) over Bm. This means that we need to actually starting thinking about the chord the band is playing, and not just playing notes as fast as possible. When we are doing our fast alternate picking circus act, we do so with sympathy to the chord we are playing over.

We can starting using modes one note at a time. Most already do this by playing the Bb, whilst playing the Em pentatonic. To start out, you could practice with simple backing tracks, and play the mode associated with the chord being played. So, over Am you could play Mixolydian, which is C/Am. As you do this, try and stay in the same position of the neck for each transition.

When and How to Use Them

Each mode creates a certain feel, major modes work generally over major chords, and minor modes work generally fine over minor or 7 chords. We can't play just any note from the mode's scale, playing the G Phrygian b6 over the Em chord will sound wrong the b6 is Eb. It will sound great with B minor or as a transition to Em.

G Lydian adds a C#. This can sound terrible over the C major and A minor chords, except for Am no 3rd. It sounds interesting over G major and E minor, and fantastic in a transition to B minor. We could use G Lydian for chords G, D, Em, and Bm; therein lies a clue to how modes work with songwriting. When playing most blues we could use a mix of Dorian and Phrygian. Locrian is good for a transition, in order to create tension - although many shy away from this mode. We also need to think of the song we are playing, and the feel we are trying to create.

Practicing Soloing and Improvisation With Modes

A great song to practice the Lydian and Dorian modes is Joe Bonamassa's cover of "Jockey Full of Bourbon." The verse is in G# / Fm. The main chords are Fm and Cm7. The main solo is Fm pentatonic on the 13th fret, great solo, but not challenging. Here we could play the Lydian D# / Cm scale, the sharpened 4th (D) makes creates the effect, especially when we play over the Fm and Cm chords on the 8th fret. In this position, hammering from D to D# as a lead into a blues lick works well.


For example:
G: D , D# (7, h8) | On D: C (10) 
G: D , D# (7, h8) | On B: A# (11)
B: G#, G (9, p8) | On G: D# (8) | On D: C (10)
G: D# (8) – slight bend and cut off before playing C on the D string
Try specific ideas, record them, and see what worked and try to work out why.

In main the solo, we can also use the Dorian mode, which seems a more natural choice over minor chords. When playing this listen to the effect of the b3 and b6 notes. Note that the b3 makes root chord minor (G# -> G#m) and b6 makes the 4th chord minor (C#-> C#m). In our case, we are playing chords 3 and 6 (Fm, and Cm). The b3 note is the 7th in Cm7, so great and b6 is a good transition note to Fm.

Going Further

The song also has a carnival feel to it, and we can use ideas from harmonic minor scales. Most scales have intervals of one or two semitones; the feel in a harmonic scale is created by an interval of 3 semitones and then a semitone. This is the feeling of move between major and minor, as we are playing the minor and major 3rd note. The melody this creates sounds like the tune played by an Indian snake charmer, which how many guitarists refer to it.

The intro has cues to this by playing the B and C, for example:
G: B , C , D# (4, 5, 8)
B: G#, F (9, p6)
To emphasize the effect, try different melodies with G#, B, C, D# and E.

The fade out part of the song let's us play a little more freely. To add interest, rather than flatten the 3rd, we could sharpen the 2nd and play the natural 3rd. The sharpened 2nd and flattened 3rd are the same note, but the effect is created by playing the natural 3rd.
D: G#, B, C (13, 16, 17, b13) | On D: F, D# (15, p13)
D: E , F (14, 15)
Emphasize the E, but land the F on the first note of the phrase, i.e. on Fm.

Sounds great, we can probably only play that once before reverting to Dorian and reinforce the melody with 1, 2, b3, 2, 1, 7, 1, 7, etc. What is important is that we keep the listener with us, and that it sounds interesting and great. Once we recognized the patterns and understand the tonal effect we are going for, it becomes natural.

We can also try mixing modes. A nice idea is to play the Phrygian mode over the C#m minor chord on 9th fret, and transition to the Lydian mode (F) before continuing with the Dorian mode over Fm on the 13th fret.

For example:
D: C , C#     (10, 11)
G: G# (13)
B: C , D , D# (13, 15, 16, p13) – the D (#4) makes adds a Lydian feel
Continue the phrase with:
B: C#, C (14, p13)
G: G , E (13)
D: E (14 )- this is b6 from the G# Phrygian
End the phrase with the bluesy lick bringing us back to Fm:
G: G# (13) - slight bend, and then mute
D: F (15)
Also try adding notes from the Dorian scale, e.g. G#, A#, B etc.
The key to this is the timing of the notes, and how they are emphasized. Use of triplet and 8th notes help do this as we play the key notes in the phrase.

Modes Aren't Just for Jazz or Blues

In "Tender Surrender," Steve Vai plays a lightning fast Cm7 arpeggio, which seems to have a wrong note. The song is in Em, but when he plays the B string part, he plays C#, B, C (On B: 9, 12, 13). The interval of skipping three semitones creates a harmonic minor or snake charming feel. He plays it so fast you can't really hear it, you are just left with the feel. The C# comes from the Dorian mode, or D major. Listen to interviews with Steve and his work with Frank Zappa.


If you are interested this part is as follows, and is played using alternate picking. A mix of legato sounds great for the last half.
E: 7 ,   8
A: 7 , 10
D: 7-9, 10 (the A or 7 helps it sound more fluid)
G: 9 , 12 – also try 9, 11, 12 as a triplet
B: 9 , 12, 13
E: 12, 15
E: 15, p12
B: 13, p12
E: 19, 17, 15, 20b22
This is similar to the similar run in "For the Love of God," but you play 3 notes per string, running evenly up to the 19th fret on E. Use alternate picking and mute the lower three strings to create the effect on the record.

What's Next

The main reason for posting this was the 3 tables, and an explanation so you can create your own and understand how to start using them. Trying to answer the questions of why certain blues and jazz notes sound good when they shouldn't.

There are many other sources. Favorites of mine are masterclass YouTube videos by Guthrie Govan and Paul Gilbert. Guthrie is so humble and understated I think his ego was surgically removed, and Paul's excitement for music is infectious.

One tip Guthrie explains is that the most important thing is timing, rather than the right note. This is all very well for a jazz fusion guitarist; if you play a wrong note, just call it jazz!

Please comment if you find mistakes and I will correct, and accept the truth behind the joke "How many guitarists does it take to change a light bulb? 500. 1 to change it and 499 to say I can do it too, but faster."

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    steviegfunk
    I wake up in the morning and the first article I see has rancid grammar. I'm going back to bed.
    jongtr
    The lesson you first linked to (from warlordjoe92) actually has it all pretty good, and maybe you should have left it there. There's so much misunderstanding in this "lesson" that it would probably double the length of it to correct it all. Just one comment stood out at first glance: "Blues solos tend to use Dorian and Phrygian modes". Yeah? Dorian, just maybe, but find me a blues solo that uses phrygian mode.... (can't say I've ever heard one in 50 years listening to blues, but I'm always open to be surprised.) Another one: "playing the G Phrygian b6 over the Em chord will sound wrong the b6 is Eb" - this is almost certainly wrong in several ways, but the grammar makes it incomprehensible anyway. Otherwise, typos everywhere (or what I hope are typos and not even stranger confusions). I'd be happy to go through it in detail, as you did ask for corrections, but your response to maggaramarine doesn't fill me with confidence. In my experience on this site, MM knows his stuff. His initial response to you contained many useful corrections. There is already plenty of good mode info on this site (eg a stickie on the Musicians Talk forum). http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthrea... Have a read of that and see what you think. If you find errors in that, I'm sure the original author will welcome comments.
    simonbuxton132
    There are many things I would like to correct, and spent too much time thinking about html markup, and sent an old draft by mistake. This would have resulted in fewer typos. I'm sure you know, you just paste text into a box and UG team rewrite it in the US English. They do a good job, which actually made me feel I should have given it more time and respect. A single 5 inch box turned into an formatted article with links, and videos. I was a little shocked - and then there wasn't an edit button :-O The discussion with MM was unfortunate. Given your opinion I probably misread his intent, as it was this apparent intent that I objected to - not the critism, even given it's length :-S Maybe, if it was done in smaller chunks, I would have taken it differently. In any case, that view continued or set the tone, and the discussion stubbornly became what it did; there is no "Let's start again" button. I'm not blaming MM; words are easy to misread, and I should have taken a step back. To treat this as a 'project evolved through comments', it has to have a good base, and the typos get in the way of that. An evolving project article would be a fun thing to do, if it added something that isn't already there. The idea I had was to add a more basic level bridge leading up to Warloadjoe92's. On your comments. I added Phrygian because I couldn't give it a reason why you couldn't use it in a blues solo. I use it myself, and I also did some reading on whether it could be used. I have to admit I am usually thinking more what feels right than what should be right. The "other one". A few missing words would certainly help! I did have a problem with this statement though, it is a like saying you can't play the note Eb in the Cm scale over the chord Em. The point was for those leaving the comfort of the E minor pentatonic.
    eddievanzant
    While I am not digging the whole thing, you're spot on when you refer to G as Lydian. Mixolydian probably pops into your head first because G mixolydian shares the notes of C, but that means the key of C is G mixolydian. Now if we ordered the modes that use a key's notes in fifths, naturally for C it would be FIV CI GV Dii Aiv Eiii Bvii° But if we want every mode of a certain note, we must essentially play the keys that use the same notes. So everything's reversed. You can move one key up (C to G) and after that you will lose C. So you must arrange the modes in a way that, after identifying the mode, you will know what other keys to play to play the other modes starting on that note. This is crucial because while C becomes C# after only two fifths, what If we were in A Aeolian? A would remain until we got to the key of B. So if A was our focus, we need to know how many keys we can move. The order is Lydian, Ionian, Mixolydian, Dorian, Aeolian, Phrigyan, Locrian. Which should be familiar but the application is reversed in a way. Lydian - G Ionian - C Mixolydian - F Dorian - Bb Aeolian - Eb Phrygian - Ab Locrian - Db Consider this to be the keys of the modes of C. Memorize the order and you'll know the position of the modes in relation to the others. You'll know how many modes you could move while keeping the tonic. Switch modes while in the same key to get a wider range of keys to use. Lydian and locrian are the furthest apart. So if we we're in F Lydian we could hypothetically move all the way from F locrian to F Lydian to B locrian to B Lydian all in one insane phrase. So first, what mode are you in? G dorian? Easy enough. So if G is Dorian that means Lydian - E Ionian - A Mixolydian - D Dorian - G Aeolian - C Phrygian - F Locrian - Bb This is actually applied greatly with harmonica. A harmonica player will usually grab an F harmonica for the key of C and bend the C to get a B or use the Bb to play the mixolydian mode. You can actually play every key on a diatonic harmonica
    MaggaraMarine
    That Zappa song is not in Lydian. It's an IV-I progression in a major key. It starts on the IV chord and emphasizes the #11 of the IV chord, but that doesn't make it lydian. Listen to the beginning of Flying in a Blue Dream to hear a typical lydian sound. "For example, when playing a song in G, a Bb creates a minor feel. This is the 3rd note in G minor, this note is often called the "blue" note - the minor 3rd of the scale (coincidence?)." Minor third is not the blue note. The note between the major and minor third is the blue note. People also call the tritone in the blues scale the blue note. If you are playing in G and play a Bb, you are definitely not playing the blue note. You are just playing the minor third of the scale. "Of course, some notes are just simply wrong, and we have a mode for that too, Locrian - this is the mode even jazz musicians avoid." No. Locrian is not wrong. But it's just hard to get an actual locrian sound because a m7b5 chord can't really be the tonic - it's a very unstable chord because it lacks the perfect fifth. It wants to resolve somewhere else, so basically, it can't be the tonic. So the reason why locrian is not used is because it's very hard to make it sound resolved. Writing a locrian melody is hard because it just won't sound locrian. "This is Aeolian mode of E major" No. Just call it E aeolian. Or better yet, E minor. It has nothing to do with E major. "and is the natural minor scale of G major" No. It's the relative minor of G major. "So, over Am you could play Mixolydian, which is C/Am. As you do this, try and stay in the same position of the neck for each transition." Which mixolydian? Also, why would you play mixolydian over Am? (I assume you mean G mixolydian.) Why not just play A minor scale over Am? Also, it won't sound like G mixolydian if you are in the key of Am. It will sound like Am. So calling it a different name is going to be confusing and it won't even make a difference to the sound. "A great song to practice the Lydian and Dorian modes is Joe Bonamassa's cover of "Jockey Full of Bourbon." The verse is in G# / Fm. The main chords are Fm and Cm7. " No it's not. It's in a minor key. Dorian would clash with the Bbm in the chorus. Also, it's C7, not Cm7. Also, the song has nothing to do with lydian. See what I just wrote - you can't play Ab lydian over Cm because it won't sound like Ab lydian - it will sound like Cm. If you took the CST approach, you would play Ab lydian over an Abmaj7(#11) chord. But the song doesn't have any Ab chords. So thinking in lydian wouldn't make any sense, even if you took the CST approach. The "vanilla" sound over that song would be harmonic minor (because of the dominant V chord). Sorry, but the lesson is all over the place and lessons like this are one of the reasons why modes are so confusing to a lot of people. Learn to understand keys before you start with modes. A lot of stuff with "modes" can be explained with major and minor keys and accidentals. Learn about chord functions and it also starts making a lot more sense. Chord functions are a good way of figuring out which scale you should use. Another thing is CST (Chord Scale Theory), but it starts making more sense if you already understand chord functions. CST is good for progressions with a lot of non-diatonic chords/modulations.
    jongtr
    I think the problem is there is so much flaky "info" on modes on the web that it's easy to have a knee-jerk response when we spot some (possibly inadvertent) mistakes in something cast as a "lesson". One tends to think "oh no some other idiot talking out of his ass...", and then it's easy to get patronising, talking down from one's high horse. You do seem to mostly know your stuff, but I'm still a little surprised you seem to have been careless with the text to begin with. I didn't know UG rewrote whatever you submitted - did some of the mistakes arise from that? Nobody really knows EVERYTHING on this topic (I certainly don't). But there are plenty of people around here who know a lot more than either of us. I've occasionally been tempted to post a "lesson" on this topic, then read up more about it and realised (a) I didn't know quite what I thought I did, or (b) my lessons is superfluous, the good info is already out there - I only need to point to it. BTW, nobody says you can't use phrygian on a blues. It's just not "common practice" - which is usually what theory is all about, describing how music works most of the time. The b2 scale degree is not part of traditional blues language (it's about the only note out of the 12 that isn't); that's the point. Use a b2 and it might sound cool, but it won't sound like "blues" (if that matters). And why would one think of playing a Cm scale over an Em chord? I don't get that bit...
    simonbuxton132
    The errors stem from the way I wrote the article. I wrote it first in Word, and then realised I needed to format the tables as fixed width. So I copied it to notepad and manually added html tags for headings, paragraph and the tables. I proof read the raw html text, so I am assuming this is where the majority came from. UG do rewrite the articles, as they changed the spelling to US English. I can't blame them for the mistakes, and I wouldn't anyway. I thought I would be able to review the article before it was published. You submit the text into a box with no formatting ability, so I thought there must be a next stage. To my surprise they sent me an email 5 days later to say "Well done, you did a great job your aricle is published". I didn't post it as a lesson, I chose article. So, I wouldn't be deterred, just don't expect a review stage. The scope of the article was for rock/blues guitarists who want to venture away from the pentatonic. I felt modes were a good way to start. The gap I saw that there wasn't much beginner material out there that explained modes, other than starting the scale on a different note. This is where I was trying to pitch in. I did ask UG if they could remove the article, as I don't want to spread confusion in an already confusing topic. They would rather not as it has 6 thousand shares on FB (great :-S). They would prefer that I correct the mistakes and send them a revised copy. If you do wish to help with corrections, they would be welcome - although it maybe better as a PM than filling the page with, what appears to be, the longest comment chain I have seen.
    MrSurfer
    Bullshit! Totally wrong. Why simple when can be complex and more difficult . Bonamassa is blues or pentatonic all other bullshit simple doesn't fit there. And you don't know modes at all .
    simonbuxton132
    Thanks for the detailed critique, it's a shame it seems written with the aim of finding faults. Most of the 'internet' does seem to disagree with your point on the 'Zappa' song, and the view it is a IV-I progression. There are probably better examples of Lydian, this was the first I found that had the sound I was looking for. Not really an important point, the main point here is to go out and listen to music to understand the sound and feel of each mode. "Aeolian mode of E Major", I admit this probably doesn't add much, as I don't explain why. The comment is correct. E Aeolian is G, or the table for F is wrong! F->Ab take both down a semi-tone and E->G. And Em is the natural minor of G. I don't understand the confusion over "myxolydian", I'll re-read after a couple of days with fresh eyes. But given the negativity, I may just choose to ignore this part. Joe's cover uses G#/Fm. The 'correct' chord would be Cm, and although many have 'tabbed' C, the correct chord is C7 as you say. I didn't want to get into a discussion on this s I simplified it to Cm - Cm7 was a typo - so thanks. On the rest, you are right in that it G# Lydian wouldn't work for the chorus, I was clear in that I meant the verse. Joe emphasizes the D#, playing C, D, D# works here, as does B, A#, G#. The point here is to try and get the reader to try these out for themselves and understand the feel without drowning them in a puristic techno babble. I was quite excited to get such a detailed review. Although it is always nice to read "well done", true critiques are far more useful to both readers and authors. Sadly, I don't see anything helpful.
    MaggaraMarine
    "Thanks for the detailed critique, it's a shame it seems written with the aim of finding faults." Well, you are welcome. Sorry if I seem harsh, but the lesson was pretty confusing to me and had a lot of misinformation in it. If it is confusing to me, I think it will also be confusing to somebody who hears about modes for the first time. "'Aeolian mode of E Major', I admit this probably doesn't add much, as I don't explain why. The comment is correct. E Aeolian is G, or the table for F is wrong! F->Ab take both down a semi-tone and E->G. And Em is the natural minor of G." I'm having a problem with your terminology. E aeolian has nothing to do with E major. It's nothing "of" E major. Just call it E aeolian. Or preferably E minor. "I don't understand the confusion over "myxolydian", I'll re-read after a couple of days with fresh eyes. But given the negativity, I may just choose to ignore this part." My point was, you can't create a mixolydian sound over A minor. Well, we would need to see the whole context, but if you just play an A minor chord over and over again, it's impossible to create a G mixolydian (or any other mixolydian) sound over it. "Joe's cover uses G#/Fm. The 'correct' chord would be Cm, and although many have 'tabbed' C, the correct chord is C7 as you say. I didn't want to get into a discussion on this s I simplified it to Cm - Cm7 was a typo - so thanks." Erm, it's in the key of F minor, not in Ab major. There's a clear difference between those, and the fact that you talk them as the same thing just shows me you don't understand keys properly. There are no correct or incorrect chords. But if you want to talk about diatonic chords, C7 is actually more common in F minor than Cm is. C7 is diatonic to F minor. We are talking about keys and what's more key defining than a dominant 7th chord? "On the rest, you are right in that it G# Lydian wouldn't work for the chorus, I was clear in that I meant the verse. Joe emphasizes the D#, playing C, D, D# works here, as does B, A#, G#." Again, you can't create an Ab lydian sound over an F minor chord progression. That's impossible. Ab lydian and F minor are the same notes and if you play those notes over a progression in the key of F minor, it will sound like you are playing in the key of F minor. It will sound nothing like Ab lydian. If you want an Ab lydian sound, your tonic needs to be Ab. This is also the reason why the Zappa song is not in lydian. It's IV-I in major because of what it sounds like. Just listen to it. It's Amaj7-Emaj7. It's very hard to make that progression sound like I-V in A lydian. A just doesn't sound like the tonic. It sounds resolved on the E major chord. I would need to hear quite good reasons for why you would think it's actually in A lydian. If you haven't learned about keys (for example what makes minor and major keys different, what is tonic, how to define the key of a song) and chord functions, I would suggest learning about them. Edit: instead of Ab lydian, I of course meant Db lydian. I must have been thinking in C minor, not in F minor. But whatever, the same thing applies. You can't create a Db lydian sound over F minor. Neither can you create an Ab lydian sound over F minor or C minor or any other minor. Lydian is lydian, minor is minor.
    simonbuxton132
    Quite the tyrant, everyone needs a hobby it seems. The technical terms sound convincing, many are also flawed. The reason is that you probably missunderstood, which is most likely due to reading the post with a "let's see what I can find wrong with this" paradigm - or more colloquially "shit tainted glasses" Even if they were correct, you comments on this post are purely negative, and not at all constructive or helpful. I would have welcomed a discussion with you on this, but it would require a more acedemic paradigm; looking for the answer is more important than being right. You have some knowlege, I give you that, but your views on theory are a little narrow minded. Maybe, with experience, you will become more open-minded and break out of the box you keep yourself in. The post was about encouraging experimentation, self-learning, and having fun.
    MaggaraMarine
    Sorry if I seem negative. You are taking my criticism the wrong way. And that's not a reason to downvote my comments. BTW, I study music pedagogy in university, and I'm a to-be theory teacher. My views are not narrow minded. I actually hate being too pedantic about theory. That's what turns people off. But we need to speak the same language to understand each other. To me the lesson was more confusing than helpful. Sorry but that's how I feel. There was just too much misinformation. I see that you are new here, and I assume you haven't visited MT forum yet. If you had, you would understand my points better. I want you to answer these questions: Do you understand why you can't create a Db lydian sound over F minor? Do you understand the difference between F minor and Ab major (and can you explain why they are not the same thing)?
    simonbuxton132
    I have down voted two comments for offering jobs working from home. The UG team then removed the comments, your comments are still here. I don't know how that really works, but seems to be the case. I'm not going to engage a competition over knowlege, this feels childish. Part of critical theory is that all views are important, and should be cast and received without ego. Your initial post had maybe 1 or 2 valid points, and I would have enjoyed a constructive discussion over them. But since the comment was a line by line rebuttle, this is was never going to be possible. You will notice I chose not to point out mistakes in the same manner, and you didn't need to correct the error in your comment - it was obvious what you meant and I'm not trying to score points. It was tempting though If you are to engage in critical discussions, I don't think having such a scathing review is appropriate. It was a rant, and is probably why you missunderstood much of the post. The comment on Locrian was amusing, it was a joke. You read this as a fault, because this is what you were looking for. Subconsiously or not. This isn't the MT forum, in a forum you start a theme and discuss it. You are also not the MT police, just a guy with ideas to share - which would be a welcome attitude. I did ask for errata, and I have found a few errors myself - sadly I can't edit the article, so they will stay there. The questions you ask remind me of when a music student joined a band I was playing in over 20 years ago. He wouldn't shut up about double sharp this, harmonic that. It was funny, in a way, as he blissfully assumed that he had the musical edge over these long haired, beer and JD drinking, guys. We were kind, despite our loud demeanour, as it became obvious when even the tone deaf guy that hung around with the musicians (the drummer) new the difference between C## and D.
    MaggaraMarine
    You know, those questions are crucial to this topic. This has nothing to do with calling C double sharp a D. This has to do with the basic understanding of what a key is and what a mode is. Why not correct my mistakes? I'm not here to score points. I want to help people. So tell me if I said something wrong. What do you disagree with? If you don't understand the difference between F minor and Ab major, you can't really understand the difference between modes. Also, if you don't understand why Db lydian sound is impossible over an Fm chord progression, you can't really understand modes. Those are freaking crucial points. I'm not asking those questions to ridicule you. I'm asking them so that I know if you really know what you are talking about and can help you. But you are not willing to listen.
    spoonxxx
    I think this is the one of the best articles on Modes as well http://www.myguitarworkshop.com/dconeil/lesson...
    MaggaraMarine
    Nah. It explains CST (Chord Scale Theory) but not really the best way of using CST. I see no point in thinking Dm7-G7-Cmaj7 as D dorian - G mixo - C major. It's the same notes all the time, why call it different names, especially when the key stays the same? It will sound like C major all the time because you are in the key of C major all the time. It's good that the article kind of talked about chord functions and showed how the Em7 played before the A7 actually functions as a ii chord, not the iii chord, and that's why you may want to change the scale over it. But it can be explained without even touching modes a lot more simply. Modes are not needed and shouldn't be used to explain chord functions and modulations. Learn about major and minor keys and chord functions and what the article talks about should be easy to understand. And you wouldn't need to use any fancy names for the stuff and make it overly complicated. CST starts making a lot more sense after you understand keys and chord functions. Also, modes are not the same as CST. CST is about treating every chord as a scale. But it has nothing to do with actual modal music, at least the way the article talked about it. Why chord scales are referred to with mode names is because it's easier to think chord scales as related to the chord's root. And if you treat the root of the chord as the root of the scale, the chord scale we could play over a m7 chord would have the same notes as the dorian mode. That's why it's called dorian - it's the same notes. But it's not the same thing as the dorian mode. A song can be in the dorian mode. But using the dorian chord scale doesn't mean you are actually playing in the dorian mode. CST makes a lot of sense in progressions with a lot of non-diatonic chords. But if it's a basic ii-V-I progression, there's no point with using CST in that way. You could use CST in a simple progression like that to play different kind of extensions over the chords, for example altered scale over the V chord or whatever. But when all the different chord scales are actually the same scale, it makes no sense. Also, I hate the term "guitar modes". They are not guitar modes. They are just modes. And the modal scales have nothing to do with Greece, other than the names. They were not used in ancient Greek folk music. They were used in pre-baroque church music. That's where they come from (when we are talking about western music). Check out the articles on UG's Musician Talk forum. JRF's article covers the history of modes, and Jet Penguin's article covers their usage today (and also CST).
    Rebel Scum
    inb4 Xiaoxi reminds us all once again how modes are useless and we should stop learning them.
    Kevätuhri
    That actually applies to most rock guitarists who think they should learn modes.