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 20

Thread: Modes?

  1. #1
    Registered User JEM555's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    92

    Post Modes?

    Hey, im new!!!

    i dont know if there is any other treads about modes, but i would really like to know what it is and how to use modes!!
    hope anyone can make it clear in a easy way, i really dont too much theory

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163
    Welcome to iBreathe! You've found a primo site.

    Check out another thread in this same forum, entitled "I understand modes but how do you use them". It has some information and links to other threads here on the topic.

    I think this is a big topic--it would be helpful for everyone to get an idea of where you're 'coming from'. So let's forget the word "theory" for a moment. Do you know what 'intervals' are and how the major scale is defined in terms of intervals (and the idea of tone/whole step, semi-tone/half-step)?

    Also, what prompted you to feel the need to know about modes in the first place?

    For an excellent article here on intervals, see Guni's at:

    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/play/article/31

    The other MUST READ documents were provided by Guni, as a link, in the other thread you posted here called "Chords". Specifically, Chord Scales 1, 2 and 3. This is quite a bit of work, but if you don't mind taking these a little at a time you'll get a great understanding of what's behind your question--and a lot of other stuff, too.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 10-26-2002 at 05:36 PM.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  3. #3
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Jackson MS
    Posts
    2,223

    Modes?

    I am going out on a limb here and assuming that you know at how to play or construct at least 1 major scale (likely C major).
    Take the C major scale ( could be any major scale but C is the easy one) Start on the first note (the root , C) play up (ascending ) until you hit the next root.
    Reach around and pat yourself on the back, you have just played the C Ionian mode.
    Start on the second note D, play the scale ascending until you hit the next D.
    Reach around and pat yourself on the back, you have just played the D Dorian mode.
    Start on the third note E, play the scale ascending until you hit the next E. This is E phrygian.

    Repeat this process until you are back at C.
    The modes you have played are F Lydian, G Mixolydian, A Aeolian and B Locrian.

    Learn how each of these sounds, is constructed in terms of half and whole steps and appropriate fingerings for them.

    Now, this time start on C every time and change the notes to make all of the C modes ( hint: for C Dorian you need to flat the 3rd and 7th).
    Learn the way these sound.

    Here are a couple of reference threads that will help you do this.
    Good Luck.

    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/...id=338#post338

    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/...id=591#post591
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Hidden Content

  4. #4
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163

    Re: Modes?

    Originally posted by szulc
    Now, this time start on C every time and change the notes to make all of the C modes ( hint: for C Dorian you need to flat the 3rd and 7th).
    This may not have been too clear, JEM555. Notice what James had you do in C, above. He had you play (or write down) all 7 notes of the C major scale, beginning first with C (CDEFGAB). Then he had you do this again, same notes, BUT beginning with D, and so on. Giving you 7 scales as follows:

    CDEFGAB
    DEFGABC
    EFGABCD
    FGABCDE
    GABCDEF
    ABCDEFG
    BCDEFGA

    These are The Seven Modes, all in C. What may not have been clear is that you can do this same thing for the other 11 major scales. For example, in G:

    GABCEDF#
    ABCDEF#G
    BCDEF#GA
    CDEF#GAB
    DEF#GABC
    EF#GABCD
    F#GABCDE

    Again, these are the SAME seven modes, in order, but now in G.

    Finally, getting to my quote of James, above: notice that in each of these examples, ONE of the seven modes begins with C. In the case of the C major modes, it's the first (Ionian) mode that begins with C. In the second example, it's the 4th (Lydian) that begins with C. For each of the major scales that contains a C natural, there will be one mode that begins with C natural.

    In C, C Ionian--C D E F G A B
    In Bb, C Dorian--C D Eb F G A Bb*
    In Ab, C Phrygian--C Db Eb F G Ab Bb
    In G, C Lydian--C D E F# G A B
    In F, C Mixolydian--C D E F G A Bb
    In Eb, C Aeolian--C D Eb F G Ab Bb
    In Db, C Locrian--C Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb

    *I've highlighted the flatted 3rd and 7th here, to tie this back to James' hint, above.

    Summary. This shows TWO ways of looking at modes. First Way: all the modes for any given major scale. This gives you seven new scales, each beginning with a different note selected from that major scale, and each containing only notes from that same scale.

    Second Way: all the modes that begin with a given note. To know which notes are in these modes, you have to either 1) take the first approach above and write out all seven modes for all 12 major scales, OR 2) you need to know what the interval structure is for each mode (what intervals separated each of the tones in each of the modes).

    This last statement may be confusing: each of the seven modes has its own sequence of intervals between the notes. The seven notes of C Lydian are each separated by the same pattern of intervals as D Lydian or Z Lydian or X Lydian. As an example, the major scale (and ALL Ionian modes) have the pattern of:

    t-t-s-t-t-t-s (where t = tone or whole step, s = semi-tone or half-step).

    C major: C-t-D-t-E-s-F-t-G-t-A-t-B-s-C
    C Ionian: C-t-D-t-E-s-F-t-G-t-A-t-B-s-C

    G major: G-t-A-t-B-s-C-t-D-t-E-t-F#-s-G
    G Ionian: G-t-A-t-B-s-C-t-D-t-E-t-F#-s-G

    Again, all the other modes have their OWN unique pattern of tone and semi-tone intervals, but regardless of what note they start on, each mode is always the same.

    Hope that helps. All of this information may seem overwheming--I learned it ALL entirely from this site and the people here, taking it a little at a time over a few months--and I'm a pretty simple guy.

    Everything above should help you understand the "what" of modes--it says nothing about the "why", or why you should care.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 10-26-2002 at 06:19 PM.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  5. #5
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Jackson MS
    Posts
    2,223

    Why ?

    When JEMM555 responds back, we will get into the why and how.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Hidden Content

  6. #6
    just some dude nateman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Puyallup, WA
    Posts
    40
    whew, Bongo! that's a lot of stuff. good work!

    my only quibble is the description of the first seven modes you listed as being "all in C." clearly, they are built from the C-major scale, but once you've built the mode, i think (but i could easily be wrong) that it's more correct to say that it's "in" the new root. i.e., the second mode in that first list would be "in D." maybe i'm wrong or maybe you were just trying to avoid adding more complications, but i thought i'd bring it up in case it was confusing to anyone.

    for some more "how" and a little bit of "why," i recommend checking out StoneDragon's lessons on wholenote.com:

    StoneDragon's lessons on WholeNote.com

    try "Comparing Modes" first, which described some more examples of ways to construct and play modes, and also has some sound clips of each mode with C as the root played over a C "pedal tone" to demonstrate how they sound. finally, it includes some examples of chord progressions built from modes of G. there's not a lot of elaboration on how the progressions were built, so you'll have to be prepared to put some time and thought into it if you want to understand that aspect of it.

    the two "Applying Modes" articles cover some pretty advanced (to me) concepts on identifying when to play which mode, so you certainly shouldn't expect to absorb all of this information in one day. the articles expect you to be able to work through some concepts and experiments for yourself, but it's worth reading them even if they're over your head (like they are over mine) to give you an idea of what lies further down the road.

    if the link above doesn't work, go to http://www.wholenote.com/ and search for "comparing modes." that'll bring up the three articles i mentioned above plus a bunch of others.

  7. #7
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Jackson MS
    Posts
    2,223
    The whole point of having modes it that the starting note will be functioning as the root. So D Dorian is in D even though it is dervied from C Ionian (Major). Your point of tonal reference (resting note, note of resolution) is always the root. SO the difference between playing in D Dorian and C Major is that you are PRETENDING that D is the root, not C.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Hidden Content

  8. #8
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163
    Originally posted by nateman
    my only quibble is the description of the first seven modes you listed as being "all in C."...i think...that it's more correct to say that it's "in" the new root. i.e., the second mode in that first list would be "in D."
    Here's my thinking. Mode (alone) and key are largely independent...that is, knowing one tells you nothing about the other. To me, common usage of the phrase "in D" means "in the key of D major". Also, you can't just say "in D" and know anything about the mode, but the assumption (without any addition information) would, at best, be Ionian. I'm not sure anyone would go that far tho.

    Now, for your example, if you want anyone to know you're talking about a mode at all, I think you'd need to say "in D Dorian". Again, "in D" would just say D major. On the other hand, "D Dorian" implicitly tells you that the key is C major--there is no other D Dorian--it HAS to be "in C".

    So...the root-and-mode combination together (e.g., C Ionian, F# Locrian, etc.) implies the key (C maj and G maj, respectively), but the converse is not true.

    Does that make sense or am I full of horse hocky? Again, I'm thinking that when we speak of "key" here we're not equating "key of C maj" to the C major scale so much as we're equating to the notes of the C major scale--even if in D Dorian mode.

    I haven't a clue as to what "common" usage might be when musicians speak to one another, everything I think I know comes from a book

    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 10-26-2002 at 08:29 PM.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  9. #9
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163
    ...besides, if a few centuries of well-developed music theory has to be 'tweaked' to conform to my limited understanding, you gotta problem with that?
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  10. #10
    just some dude nateman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Puyallup, WA
    Posts
    40

    Lightbulb

    (this is way longer than i thought it would be, which is a frequent occurrence for me. Bongo Boy, don't take this as argumentative...i'm trying to take the best from both of our perspectives and work through this in my own head to see if we can get to a point where we have a reasonable understanding of...whatever it is we're talking about. )

    ah...i getcha now. if you were to create a key signature for D Dorian, it would look just like the key signature for C Major (not a very interesting example because there are no sharps or flats, but it'll do). therefore, you describe D Dorian as being in the key of C Major (or for short, "D Dorian is in C"), because they have all the same notes, even though the musician is (as James said) "pretending" that they have different root notes. (this parenthetical comment intentionally left blank.)

    that's probably a reasonable way to think about it, but i don't know if it's common usage. i happen to have arrived at a different way of thinking about it, but that doesn't necessarily mean much.

    i see your point on one level...pointing at something that has all the notes of the C Major scale and saying, out of the blue, "that's in D!" wouldn't make much sense unless the person you're talking to has a grasp of modes and can infer that you meant "D Dorian," or they can derive that themselves from the sound or the sheet music.

    on the other hand, if the info has already been provided that you're talking about modes, and maybe even that you are specifically talking about the Dorian mode, then pointing at something that has all the notes or the key signature of the C Major scale and saying, "that's in D!" would be acceptable (to me) because the reader/listener has all the info already to realize that you mean D Dorian (which fits) rather than D Major (which doesn't). sort of like intervals...if you just mention "third," people will generally assume you're talking about a major third...unless it's been established you are talking about a minor scale, in which case it would be a minor third even if you weren't specific.

    part of this relies on just what "key" means. my understanding to this point of keys and key signatures has been based on the major keys and their relative minors. my handy-dandy "Guitar Handbook" doesn't specifically talk about how to refer to keys when talking about modes. however, it does say that key of a piece of music "defines what is called its 'tonality'...The tonic note (the 1st note of the scale) is the key-note...A melody made up of notes from the scale of E minor is said to be in the key of E minor. All other notes in the melody will be heard in relation to E, the key-note." (the italicization and parenthetical comment are straight from the book.)

    given that, i think it may be a matter of separating the terms "key" and "key signature." if you look at a piece of sheet music and see the key signature of C Major, you would tend to automatically assume the piece of music is in the key of C Major (aka C Ionian), but it could just as well be in D Dorian or A minor (aka A Aeolian, eh?)...the context of the melody or the description that goes along with the sheet music will tell you for sure. this means C Major, D Dorian, and A Aeolian all have the same key signature, but they are different keys...i think.

    or it may also be a matter of what you like. i remember a discussion in one thread about whether a piece of music was really in G major or E minor. they both have the same key signature, but some people preferred to think of it one way, and some people thought of it the other way based on the relationships of the chords.

    so...i think we're both partially right. it would not be correct for me to just say DEFGABCD is "in D" out of context because the assumption could be that i'm talking about D Major. however, in the context of the Dorian mode, i don't think it's strictly proper to say it's "in C" either, except as a means of explaining the concept...which is what you were doing.

    for music theory beginners like us, it's easy to indelibly link the key signature and the key...but it's starting to dawn on me that it's probably not that simple. assuming everything i've written here is reasonably correct and not just the rantings of a madman (i.e., it would be acceptable if it is the rantings of a madman, as long as it is also reasonably correct ) , i would update your statement like this:

    the root-and-mode combination together (e.g., C Ionian, F# Locrian, etc.) implies the key signature (C maj and G maj, respectively), but the converse is not true.

    i believe the root-and-mode combination actually defines the key. so you could say, "DEFGABCD is in the key of D Dorian, which has the same key signature as C Major." if you were playing something which sounded distinctly Dorian, someone who recognized the sound might say, "Is that Dorian? What key?" you might respond, "Yeah, it's in D." (happens to me all the time. )

    whew! that's a lot of gibberish, but upon a few rereadings it still sort of makes sense to me.



    cheers,
    nathan

  11. #11
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163
    Yup...that all does make sense, is consistent with James' comments, and is totally acceptable . It's all about context, eh?

    I think you're walk-through was great--not argumentative at all and very helpful, actually. For a beginner, I think my view made the most sense for 'getting there' (that's why it was my view)--but your's seems to provide the 'tweak' needed to understand why James, as an example, says the things he does--and I guess, what reality is.

    I really enjoyed this exchange.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  12. #12
    just some dude nateman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Puyallup, WA
    Posts
    40
    right on...i enjoyed it, too. this is something that has been sort of tickling the back of my brain every time i've read or talked about modes, but it's not something i've really tried to work through until now. i'm pretty satisfied with the end result, so i hope i'm pretty close to right.

    you make a good point about "getting there" vs. "reality," and i suspected that may have been part of it. for those of us who didn't grow up around music in the performance sense, there are many aspects of music theory that don't seem intuitive. therefore there are a lot of short-cuts or interim ideas that are either presented to us or that we develop on our own to help make certain things make sense, or maybe fit in with other stuff we've learned.

    in many cases, that sort of thing is necessary to get us past an obstacle, but it's difficult for me to flag those things in my mind to remind me "later, go back and learn what this really means when you understand other stuff better."

    even more difficult is even realizing when something falls into that category. i read a thread somewhere...i think it was on here...where someone was asking about E# vs. F. the answer is that it's a matter of context. E# is the same pitch as F on the guitar or the piano, but the name E# is used (for example) in the F# Major scale to follow the "one interval per letter, one letter per interval" rule. i've been playing guitar (very amatuerishly) for over five years and i had no idea anyone did that because my "Guitar Handbook" doesn't mention it (it shows F as the major seventh of F#) and neither do most lesson i've looked at online about scales. if i were to write a primer for beginners (which i will one day) that is something that i would at least point out early on, saying, "this will make more sense when you come back later, trust me."

    so, i guess this post will go a long way towards helping JEM555 understand modes.

  13. #13
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Jackson MS
    Posts
    2,223

    To Drive this point Home......

    How would you describe what the key you are in when playing a strictly Minor Pentatonic Tune?( Or Major Pentatonic for that matter) Or Blues Tune? The first two types could occur in any of 3 Major Scales and as long as you don't deviate from the notes of the pentatonic you have no clue which one to use EXCEPT what note is FUNCTIONING as the root ( which in a minor pentatonc is definately not the root of a major scale and might be the 2nd or 3rd of a major scale). THe blues scale (strictly speaking ) doesn't fit ANY major scale.

    ANSWER: You will call it in (Place note functioning as root here)(place type here,Major, Minor, Blues).
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Hidden Content

  14. #14
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Colorado Springs CO
    Posts
    2,163
    Good point James--thanks for the body slam into the high-glass

    What I think I'm getting for my money here is the additional idea that 'key' is only one of several ways to "place" some chunk of music.

    When learning, it seemed like such a rock-solid foundation from which everything else was derived. Now, it seems more like one of many possible tools--classifications--that might be appropriate for talking about a music example. It obviously doesn't work at all for a great deal of practical examples--such as the pentatonics you mentioned.

    NOTE: I sort of feel like Neo...I think the Red Pill (music) was the right choice, but along the way there are some serious reservations. 'Do' or 'don't do'...but there is no 'try'.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 10-26-2002 at 11:49 PM.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  15. #15
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Jackson MS
    Posts
    2,223

    Now I am missing somthing.....

    NOTE: I sort of feel like Neo...I think the Red Pill (music) was the right choice, but along the way there are some serious reservations. 'Do' or 'don't do'...but there is no 'try'.
    I am missing this reference.

    Good point James--thanks for the body slam into the high-glass
    I hope you didn't get offended! Is this in response to "drive the point home"? Maybe a basketball reference? I not very up on sports, if 'drive the point home' is a basket ball reference I am oblivious....

    The whole concept of Western music is based on key center or tonal magnetism, everything is in reference to the implied or actual root. Now there is some creative license in choosing what note is functioning as the root (as in my previous comments about how to me Autumn Leaves is in E minor, some people think G major, it probably has sections where one or the other dominates) . When you are improvising the root you choose may only be in your mind and it is your job to get everyone else to 'hear' it. There are progressions that can have any number of notes be functioning as the root, depending on how far you want to stretch your tonality and bend your listeners ear. There is a tremendous amount of freedom to the improvisor who plays with reckless abandon and total conviction and is willing to take chances and play what he hears at the moment. I have heard it said that you can improvise to any progression in Bb and I actually believe that it is true. You can play anything if you resolve it correctly (pronounced sounds good).
    "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
  •