View Full Version : where to from here

01-19-2003, 12:18 AM
my theory knowledge isnt all that great

i know how chords are made, i know pentatontics (all 5 of em)
i know the 7 modes (i know theres more but i mean the ones in the major key)
i know a fair deal about apreggios

and im wondering .... where to from here?

01-19-2003, 12:31 AM
You KNOW all the above stuff, but can you play all the above stuff?
Can you use these things to create music?
How about rhythm? Chord Progressions and retrogressions?
Cadences, tension, resolution,
Technique, Sound, Feel.

Shred Fan
01-19-2003, 12:42 AM
Yeah , Szulc makes a good point there. It's one thing to learn about theory, but a different thing to apply it.

Theory is there to be used, not merely learned, so work on stuff like making chord progressions and soloing over them with the appropriate scales/ modes.

Do other stuff that puts the theory to use such as writing melodies with the knowledge you have gained. If you just learn the theory and never use it it is a waste.

01-19-2003, 12:42 AM
well i can plan tension, resolution, i can make some trendy chord progressions (for my level)

and the rest of da words i dont know wat dey mean

01-19-2003, 12:44 AM
hey how do i apply it

like is the appropriate modes n stuff
just minor over minor n major over major??

Shred Fan
01-19-2003, 12:51 AM
Ok, I'll try to clear up what Szulc said.....

-Technique, Sound, Feel.
This is not so much theory based as it is technique based. I think what he means is work on having a good sound (ie. Decent Vibrato, Accurate bending, not much noise etc.)

Playing with "feeling" is a very hard thing to explain, so I'll steer clear of trying to explain it here.

As for technique, work on your technique so you are able to apply the theory in more situations (ie. faster playing).

A cadences is a chord progression that leads back to a note that gives resolution. (eg. I IV V I is an example of a cadence)

Basically work on your phrasing, meaning your timing, and how you execute certain passages of music (experiment with different rythms as opposed to just all 16th notes etc.)

Ok , there we go. Did I explain what you were trying to cover accurately Szulc?

01-19-2003, 12:54 AM
yeah man pretty dam well


Shred Fan
01-19-2003, 12:56 AM
"hey how do i apply it

like is the appropriate modes n stuff
just minor over minor n major over major??"

Well, basically yes but when you get into stuff like Modal chord progression and what key/mode a certain progression is in, it can get a little more complex.

I think Eric is planning on writing an article about stuff like that so I suggest you wait for that , because to explain it all here it would take a while.

01-19-2003, 12:58 AM
thanx man

01-19-2003, 01:24 AM

01-19-2003, 01:39 AM

Shred Fan
01-19-2003, 04:02 AM
As Szulc just pointed out there are many threads where this topic has already been covered, next time you need to know something, do a search of the forums and see what you can uncover.

More often than not, you'll find that someone has already posted a nice long explanation elsewhere.

01-20-2003, 01:37 PM
i would but all of those are hidden and i didnt know how to show them kinda thing

like i thougt dey just got deleted

01-25-2003, 01:32 AM
Wow, I've never even heard the term retrogression before. What is that?

01-26-2003, 04:27 AM
Progression is movement toward resolution (ie. Cycle 4).
ii V I is a good example of progression.

Retrogression is movement away from resolution (ie. Cycle 5)
V ii vi iii is a good example of retrogression.

Bongo Boy
01-30-2003, 06:25 AM
Originally posted by 7_stringa
my theory knowledge isnt all that great

and im wondering .... where to from here? I have a somewhat different opinion than those above. Some famous guy once said, "There's nothing more practical than a good theory."

I do agree that applied theory is a good thing. I disagree that application has to be everyone's ultimate goal. A perfectly legitimate goal is to know how theory is applied just well enough to be better at conveying theory knowledge. In other words, I find that many music theory books are really lacking in their effectiveness in conveying ideas (at least for me). So, if you just wanted to understand theory so that you could convey the knowledge better to others, that alone is a worthy goal. There's lot's of room for better music theorists--the world of music is much larger than the world of instrumentalists.

Getting back to you question. Are you trying to solve a particular problem, or do you simply want to expand your knowledge of music theory? Are you comfortable with all of the material in Guni's Chord Scales series?

Here are some other 'factoids' that you can be familiar with and know by heart (IMO): the cycle of keys (circle of 5ths, circle of 4ths), how to determine the flats and sharps of any key, how to derive the key signatures for any key (and the order the sharps or flats come in when written on the staff--and why), the definition of intervals and the naming conventions used for all intervals, the definition of diatonic vs chromatic intervals, the frequently-used chord progressions for various genre of music (what they're called and what the actual chords are), what the 'avoid' notes are for each of the 7 chord 'families' (i.e., avoid notes for IM, IIm, IIIm, IVM, V7, VIm, VIImb5, etc).

Other theory topics include well-tempered tuning (the why, the how, the math) and the genesis of tuning, the various schools of composition that have enjoyed favor throughout history, and all the stuff that falls under 'psycho-acoustics' (human perception of sound, I guess).

That's hardly the tip of the iceberg I think--everything I've listed above may represent 5% or so of 'music theory'--if that. Haven't even mentioned rhythm--golly, there's a pretty big topic area.

So...what do you think you need to know, or what would you like to dive in to? You've got a whole lifetime--near as I can, you'll need every minute of it. :D

NP: Starship, MC5

01-30-2003, 06:33 AM

i dunno i think i wouldnt mind learning some more modes (not actually in a major key)

i know there are more then just that from the key

eg major phygian (thats actually the only one i know)

yeah that wouldnt be bad
but i guess rhythm theory would be good becuase i kow very little

and rhythhm is cool

Bongo Boy
01-30-2003, 06:53 AM
Not sure I understand that. Phrygian mode (as well as all of the named modes) are, by definition, in a major key (unless I've missed a subtlety somewhere). They aren't major scales (because they have different interval structures), but each set of 7 modes (one set per major scale) shares a single key sig. I have seen reference to modes of non-major scales, such as modes on a pentatonic--but I have not seen these modes named. That's a great topic.

You can learn all the modes easily, as well as their intervallic structure (that is, the sequence of tones and semitones that define each mode), and we've also posted a way to memorize those patterns.

My recommendation is: get out a pad of paper, write out the notes of C maj, then learn to quickly derive all the major scales from that using, first, cycle of 5ths to get up to F maj, then cycle of 4ths to get F maj thru Cb maj. You can learn to do this easily in a few days with a few minutes per day, if you can't already do it.

Then, once again, write out the notes of C maj. Label this scale "Ionian". Write 6 more scales using the same notes (the note names in C maj), for for each of these scales, begin on the next sequential note. D thru D, E thru E, F thru F, etc., till you get to B thru B. Label these 6 scales Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian. For each of these 7 scales, write a 't' or a 's' between each note to indicate a tone or semi-tone space between them, and note the interval patterns.

Practice this once a day for a week or two--you'll have the whole thing memorized (and derivable) from just the C maj scale. I find I had to write it by hand with pencil and paper--you can't just read it and memorize it.

Doing the above probably has exactly jack squat to do with playing an instrument well. But you are free to actually play the modes on your instrument to hear what they actually sound like. :)

If anything I've written above seems confusing, don't be concerned. It's confusing only because it's written out and not shown with a picture. It's trivially easy to do once shown. If this is all stuff you're already familiar with, fine. If you need some help to get started...say so. I have a fairly good picture I can post that should help a lot, and a web search of 'cycle of 5ths', 'cycle of fifths' and 'lydian mode' (for example) will turn up a boat-load of materials

and rhythhm is coolYup. Roger that.

01-31-2003, 07:19 AM
are you telling me there are only 7 modes??
i dont think so and one example of the major phyrgian

is the offspring come out and play

the riff goes like this


well yeah

if you think about it that shape does not fit into any majoy key

and it does give a phygian sound exept it is a major mode

i dont know if it is called a mode

but i know there are many modes that do not fit into the major key

Shred Fan
01-31-2003, 10:05 AM
There are 7 modes of the major scale. The Harmonic minor scale and melodic minor scale have modes to. As do other unque scales.

The "come out and play" riff if I recall correctly is actually Phyrigian Dominant (a mode of Harmonic Minor).

01-31-2003, 11:50 AM
so there are 21 modes all together

Shred Fan
01-31-2003, 12:41 PM
No, but these are the most common modes.

Basically any scale can be broken up into the amount of modes that it has notes in the scale.

There are 7 modes for each major, harmonic minor and melodic minor. But you can get modes from any scale, eg. Pentatonics or other obscure scales.

01-31-2003, 02:12 PM
The chromatic scale has 12 modes that all 'sound ' same.
If you throw away 1 note you now have a new scale with 11 notes and 11 modes, that all sound different. If you throw away 2 notes you have ten different scale possibilities each with ten modes. As you toss more notes the number of possibilites increases drastically, up to a point (6 notes), then decreases drastically.
The following shows nine of the possibilities of tossing three notes. Notice these nine all have two notes tossed next to each other if you start moving the two notes apart you get many more possibilities. ( ones are notes you play zeros are notes you don't )


for instance just take this scale 101111111100
and move one of the two next to each other around.


Since each of these has nine note they each have nine modes.
You could get old before you would ever exhaust all of the unique possibilites.

If you write a program to do this for you you will find the common 7 note scales in the areas where you toss 5 notes, you will also find a lot of uncommon 7 note scales. If you want this program to toss all the non-unique possibilities it will be quite challenging.

Bongo Boy
01-31-2003, 11:52 PM
are you telling me there are only 7 modes??
i dont think so and one example of the major phyrgianWhat I intended to say is, for each MAJOR SCALE, there are exactly 7 modes. I've NEVER heard the term 'major phrygian'--it seems redundant to me. I would assume this term means, literally, 'the phrygian mode of a major scale'. If so, then it is one of the 7, and only seven, modes of the major scale. Am I wrong?

So based on all the comments above, no, there are NOT just seven modes. There are exactly n modes for each and every scale having n notes. Based on what I know today, those modes named after ancient Greek tribes, the Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolyidan, Aeolian and Locrian, only apply (and only make sense) in reference to the 7 modes of the 7-note major scale. I'm suggesting this is the case because my understanding is that "Dorian", for example, is NOT called Dorian historically because it is the 2nd mode of any given scale. It is called Dorian because someone decided that the 2nd mode of the MAJOR scale was to be called Dorian.

So...choose say an minor pentatonic. I don't believe it makes sense to use the mode names above to discuss the 5 modes of a minor pentatonic. BUT I DON'T KNOW--I'd very much like to hear the experts discuss. Unless someone has come along and said, hey, let's call the 2nd mode of ANY scale the "dorian" mode, this usage seems weird to me. If someone HAS done that and it's standard practice--I'm gonna be pissed for a while, 'till I get over it. :D

02-01-2003, 03:34 AM
Interestingly enough, I think some(all?) of the minor pentatonic modes are exotic asian scales. Try playing minor pentatonic starting on the second note(I think it's official name is "Chinese Pentatonic"). It gives a cool "Bruce lee movie" type sound.

Anyway, knowing modes is interesting and definitely useful, but it will just confuse you if you don't have you the basics down. Much of the basis of music is harmony(ie chords), so what can really help with learning you're theory is writing songs in 4 part harmony(treble and bass staff, with soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) in a simple major key, and try to stick to "the rules"(ie don't just stick random notes on a staff). It's helpful with learning theory, it's fun, and it's easy, especially with computer notation software. Learn and apply concepts like secondary dominants, contrary motion, inversions, modulation, voice leading, nonchord tones(passing tones, appogiatoras(sp?), etc), avoid parallel fifths, etc. Learn what chords/inversions to use and when to use them, know which notes you can double and which you can leave out. Once you have that type of stuff down it'll be a lot easier to think about and work with modes and other advanced topics.

And do some ear training! Know the sounds of scales and especialy intervals.

02-01-2003, 01:19 PM
Chinese Pentatonic: 1 3 - #4 5 - 7

( Example: C E F# G B C )

When it comes to oriental scales, I LOVE the sound of "Hirajoshi", a certain japanese pentatonic ).
1 2 - b3 5 - b6 ( C D Eb G Ab C )

Im risking to get a bit too much off topic here, but... I spent quite some time experimenting with that latter scale, and in the Powertab-file attached to this post, you see an example of a possible pattern, and some chords made up from that scale.
They might sound weird at first, but I love that sound...

02-01-2003, 01:21 PM
For a workshop, I made up a tune based on that scale... but using a metal-arrangement and distorted guitars.
You can check out the chords I used ( 2nd staff, the intro is in E Min ) and some cool repeating pattern in the Powertab-file attached to THIS post...
It sometimes is very refereshing to check out unusual scales and sounds like that.
Hope youll like it.

02-01-2003, 11:51 PM
I've NEVER heard the term 'major phrygian'--it seems redundant to me. I would assume this term means, literally, 'the phrygian mode of a major scale'

bongo i meant that this is a phygian scale ,, and if u notice it is also a major scale (hence having 2 tones between 1st and the 3rd)

that is why i call it the major phrygian (and i also read it on a poster)

02-02-2003, 12:03 AM
Well yeah... Phrygian is one of the modes of the major scale, so of course you do have those two halftone-steps in there, just like with a major scale, just between different degrees.

I guess the term "phrygian major" is confusing to many people... so I guess we might wanna settle for "phrygian" or "third mode of major scale"

Doesnt surprise me to hear you read that on a poster... there have been quite a few changes, new terms, disappearing terms in music theory. Also a lot of misunderstandings which, unfortunately, often are carried on and confuse even more people.
When I conduct workshops, I hear a lot of guys go "Well, its an Asus9 chord" ...
I go... "Huh ? You mean Asus2 ? A add9 ? A 9 ?"
And then the guy shows me an Asus2

Stuff like that should be covered once we make up the FAQ here at ibreathe. I mean, sure, we have stuff like that explained in some of the articles ( or will have ), but itd be cool to have some quick reference page to clear up some of those things...

( Other quite confusing things: "Pedal TONE vs. Pedal POINT vs. Ostinato".... "B or H ?" ( In countries where people speak German, the note B often is referred to as H, while the Bb is B... so it goes A-B-H-C... ), "vibrato vs. tremolo"... )

I guess I confused some people with this post :)


02-02-2003, 02:57 AM
yeah man my dad calls it H as well

(he is swiss not german but close enoguh)