Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 28

Thread: Understanding modes???

  1. #1
    Registered User zeppelinplayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    4

    Question Understanding modes???

    What are modes, and what are they for? Can anyone help me out. I know that like A is the Lydian mode of G but Why?
    Jimmy Page is Awsome!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    460
    Modes is one of the more common topics here. I'd say its best just to do a search of the articles here. I did a quick search and here are just a few of the articles. (the search feature is at the top right of the home page

    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/article/106
    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/article/142

    by the way C is the lydian mode of G
    A is the lydian mode of E
    A is the dorian mode of G

  3. #3
    Firebard RandyEllefson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Gaithersburg Maryland
    Posts
    179
    A simple answer is that modes are just major/minor scales with 1 or more notes altered for a different flavor/color/sound. Guitarists, being more obsessed with scales than any other group of musicians in history , make a big deal of them. Nobody else does.

    If you know major/minor, you're pretty well set. I woulnd't lose any sleep over modes, even though few guitarists would agree with me saying that. It's a right of passage/badge of honor to let fly with every mode known to man (er, guitarists).

    Don't mean to offend anyone, but personally, I find the whole thing a bit silly.

  4. #4
    Amateur gynecologist smallbusrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    260

    understanding modes

    I think understanding how modes are built is easy. The hard part is getting them under your fingers and apllying them in the right situations.Wow that can be frustrating.

    But this may help in the beginning:

    If you know the C major scale you know:

    C IONIAN (MAJ)
    D DORIAN
    E PHRYGIAN
    F LYDIAN
    G MIXOLYDIAN
    A AEOLIAN
    B LOCRIAN

    So if you play a C MAJ Scale and concentrate on the D tonality you'll be playing in D DORIAN...etc...etc..

    Notice that it is all built off of notes in the major scale(in this cas, C):

    c,d,e,f,g,a,b

    This of course , will work for any major scale like Emaj:

    Emaj:E,F#,G#,A,B,C#,D
    E ionian
    F# Dorian
    G# Phrygian
    etc...etc...

    Now the tricky part...applying them...

    at its most basic level, the chords tonalities are (without naming the exact chords for simplicity)


    Ionian: Maj
    Dorian: Minor
    Phrygian: Minor
    Lydian: Maj
    Mixolydian: Dominant (Considered a "mix" {no pun intended"} of maj and minor
    Aeolian: Minor
    Locrian: Diminished(Half-diminished)


    now this is a overly simplistic approach to this and I hope it helps. Irealize that other people take a major scale and raise and lower tonalities using formulas for the modes...

    like someone said earlier, depending what music you play, usually the basic minor(AEOLIAN) and major (IONAN) scales will get you a long way. master those first in all positions.

    hope it helps
    -SBR
    Last edited by smallbusrider; 03-17-2004 at 02:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Experimentalist Koala's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Behind you...
    Posts
    3,083
    [QUOTE=RandyEllefson] Guitarists, being more obsessed with scales than any other group of musicians in history , make a big deal of them. Nobody else does.
    QUOTE]

    LOL! Loved it!

  6. #6
    5 years, still suck.. Leviathon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mogadore Ohio
    Posts
    218
    My confusion is application as well. I understand there construction but don't quite understand when and why you apply a certain mode.

    Let's say that that the chord is A minor. So then what scales do you play over top of that. The obvious choice is of course Aminor. A B C D E F G A. Or does your scale selection depend upon the chord structure as well?

    I need help to...

    I have been playing some of the backing tracks found here and on other sites really trying to break from playing inside the box? I have been consentrating on different starting points and really working from there. However, they are seem to me to sound similiar, not the same, just similiar. And the funny thing is, it seems that no matter the pattern I play I usually wind up inside the box again. **Ding Ding** I think I just had an epiphany...

    Are modes used as a means of getting from one box (pattern) to another?

  7. #7
    Firebard RandyEllefson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Gaithersburg Maryland
    Posts
    179
    [QUOTE=Leviathon]Let's say that that the chord is A minor. So then what scales do you play over top of that. The obvious choice is of course Aminor. A B C D E F G A. Or does your scale selection depend upon the chord structure as well? /QUOTE]

    Basically yes. If the rhythm part actually sounds each of those notes, the safe bet is A minor. But if the rhythm never plays a D of any kind, you're free to play D or D# in the lead.

    Other scenario: the rhythm doesn't play D, it plays D#, which means the lead probably should play D# as well.

    However! Let's say it's a 4 measure phrase, and there's no D of any kind until the last chord, and then it's D#. Well, the lead can play whichever D it wants until that last chord where the rhythm is playing D#, then the lead had better avoid the D natural because the simultaneous use of both Ds will likely clash.

    That's one way of looking at it. Look at your rhythm and see what notes are explicitly played. You may play in the A minor key (with an implied D natural), but if the riff never plays D, who's to say the lead can't do D#?
    Last edited by RandyEllefson; 05-14-2004 at 01:42 PM.

  8. #8
    5 years, still suck.. Leviathon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mogadore Ohio
    Posts
    218
    Please forgive my possible ignorance....

    But how will D# ever sound good in the chord of Amin? A C E. D# would be the 4th raised. I can understand how it D# would be used under the right circumstances or the right chord structure.

    Let's say that the song you are playing is in Amin with a base chord structure of I-IV-V. How will D# be applied and on top of that sound good.

    Also, how do I apply modes to that structure. You have Amin, Dmin, and Emin as your base. Obvious scales are A D & Emin's. But that's the "box" I want to play outside that box...

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    473
    Hey Leviathon,
    sounds like you're more "outside the box" than I am. Using your example, I'd likely stick with Aeolian (or Pentatonic) over that progression.
    As far as modes, I haven't spent a lot of time working w/them (except mixolydian) but, if I saw a natural 6th used in a minor key, I'd know to try Dorian for a melody/solo.
    As far as Randy's D#, it is the basis for a (flat 5) tritone sub. That's the only, particular reason I can think of for picking that note as an example.

    Is there anything usefull above or, do I just have way too much time on my hands ?

    :Mike

  10. #10
    Amateur gynecologist smallbusrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    260

    basic usage

    leviathon,
    as far as application goes it depends how complex the chord is spelled. I cant really get into it here, but if your just talking about playing a straight amin triad (1,b3,5) you can use the minor modes like the dorian, phrygian, aeolian
    modes. the altered notes in these modes will only color the existing monor chord. If you have chords with extension notes added to it, you will have to pay attention to that added note and make sure the minor mode you use doesnt have a note that will clash with that note. So basically because of the chord extension youre more limited to the mode(s) you use.

    hope thats not too confusing!!!

    i sometimes have a hard time explaining what i know.

    lata
    -sbr

  11. #11
    Firebard RandyEllefson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Gaithersburg Maryland
    Posts
    179

    Sharp Four

    When the rhythm is playing a D, you WOULDN'T want to play D#, but while the A or E chord is playing, you can do what you want.

    Here's the thing about a #4. This acts as a "leading tone" to 5. In a major key, the 7th note is a leading tone to the octave (in A major, G# is a leading tone to A). Leading tones lean in a given direction, though this is acutally the term applied to the 7th in major. But...

    Articifial leading tones can be created. The most popular is #4, making the 4th note only a half step below the 5th (and thereby duplicating the arrangement of the 7th-8 in major keys). Please note this is a SHARP FOUR, not a FLAT FIFTH, which is functionally very different.

    This view point is a bit different from simply using modes. It's not "play a D# any time" but "play a D# beside an E (provided the rhythm isn't playing D natural)"

    Let's say the progression has reached E already, and your lead guitar is sitting on E. You can do a trill with the D# right below it.

    This is probably more complicated than I meant to get into, but that is a "justification" for playing a sharp four in any key at any time. Didn't mean to introduce another subject

    BTW, I just chose D# at random before as an alterable note.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    473
    BTW, I just chose D# at random before as an alterable note.
    ....was that an involuntary, subconscious offering of a Leading Tone ?

    You've found a, very weak point in my theory, Randy. Use of terminology for function is...................a, big, new can o' worms.

    :Mike

  13. #13
    some guy Doug McMullen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Brooklyn
    Posts
    165
    Hey all, here's a powertab using b5/#4 and also some of #5s over a four bar stretch of Im IVm Vm...

    The #4 and #5s are used melodically; they are not merely "passing" tones in the example I've given.

    Folks studying theory all too often come away thinking at first that "major scale diatonicism = consonance = good = correct harmony" and that "non diatonic tones = bad harmony, bad dissonace, error" -- It drives me a bit batty sometimes...

    At any rate, I hope this .ptb is germane to the discussion (I'm not sure if it is or isn't).

    I do recommend working out harmony ideas in a practical, laboratory type way using B-I-A-B or Power tab or Sibelius or Finale, and of course, using one's instrument... experiment like a mad scientist.

    Doug.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  14. #14
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163

    Altered Notes in Modes?

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyEllefson
    A simple answer is that modes are just major/minor scales with 1 or more notes altered for a different flavor/color/sound.
    I thought that one of the significant features of any mode is that there are NO notes altered with respect to the parent scale. 'Significant' in that the tonality of the mode is driven by the unique interval structure of the mode.

    I'm not sure I misunderstood Randy's comment, or if I misunderstand something else--but for major scale modes my understanding is that there are no altered notes. Is this not true for minor scale modes?
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  15. #15
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Jackson MS
    Posts
    2,223
    Lydian is Ionian (Major Scale) with a #4. Mixolydian is a Major Scale with a b7 etc... Do you remember "Speaking in Tongues?"
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Hidden Content

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •