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Thread: Modes. Why is it so hard?

  1. #166
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    No offence SirSpeedy, but I have a hard time understanding your posts. You seem to go off in all sorts of directions and I don't grasp your point. I just don't see why I would be specifically looking for that #4 when going modal.



    Basically if you want to go modal, you can chose any mode that has the notes of the chord being played.

    The smaller the chord, as in E major triad, the more modal possibilities can work.

    E Ionian, E Lydian, E Mixolidian, A Melodic minor and A Harmonic minor, B Diminished. E phrygian works if you treat the G
    as a passing tone.

    The more extentions the chord has, as in (Em7b9) the more it narrows down your choices. (E phrygian.)
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  2. #167
    Registered User Sir Speedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Los Boleros
    No offence SirSpeedy, but I have a hard time understanding your posts. You seem to go off in all sorts of directions and I don't grasp your point. I just don't see why I would be specifically looking for that #4 when going modal.


    The more extentions the chord has, as in (Em7b9) the more it narrows down your choices. (E phrygian.)
    i was spicifically sighting CMaj7 as an example , because everyone knows Lydian sounds much better than ionian , and instructors will tell someone to play Lydian on CMaj 7 , Because it sounds good .

    The way the Example is written it shows the Ionian and Lydian scales in Columns , like everyone should be doing, over the chord they want to get Modal on . and then makes arpeggios Extentions


    The example is for the Cmaj7 Chord , how Lydian arpeggios work and some scales and Arps from Ionian (namely the iii chord from Ionian )don't work over CMaj7 .

    The only thing here that should be new to anybody about playing Ionian on Cmaj7, is i'm not saying "F" is the Avoid note.

    I'm implying "F' is not the Avoid note , but , rather , a passing tone .I am saying D min7 arpeggios are the "Avoid Arpeggios"

    This may be a more contemperary approach, and with all due respect It is what is taught in "the Frank Gambale Technique book"

    Mabey my example should have been Cmin7 , because that's what the post is about . Then the Approach would be Aeolean ,Dorian , and Phrigian
    I totally argee with Russ here , about not trying to play a different scale for Every chord . Just get one chord to repete a couple mesures , and try the modal approach .

    i do want to post some thing i found in a book on chord progression , right now i happen to be working on the Standard "Summertime " which is a Dorian approach . The example is Dorian chords over a Pedal tone
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  3. #168
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Speedy
    i was spicifically sighting CMaj7 as an example , because everyone knows Lydian sounds much better than ionian , and instructors will tell someone to play Lydian on CMaj 7 , Because it sounds good .
    I would not say that Lydian sounds better. Interesting yes. Better? Playing Lydian would definately make it modal and it would sound modal. The CMaj7 chord can only be found in those two modes, Ionian and Lydian. Ionian sounds natural and Lydian sounds modal. What one sounds better is for the artist to prove.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Speedy
    Mabey my example should have been Cmin7 , because that's what the post is about . Then the Approach would be Aeolean ,Dorian , and Phrigian
    I totally argee with Russ here , about not trying to play a different scale for Every chord . Just get one chord to repete a couple mesures , and try the modal approach .
    Yes but it's all good. Vamping out over one chord and using different modes is great and it is the essence of modal but modal can also be an entire composition where the tonal center is not Ionian or Aeolian. An example would be the theme song to the Simpsons written in Lydian. Louie, Louie written in mixolidian. Also too, there is a more basic use of the modes that if overlooked can be the demise of what could have been. That is Diatonic use of modes over the chord of the moment as a source for singing over the chords. The basis for melodic content comes from being able to play over the chords. This should be the starting place. One should not go modal before learning to do this first. It's like trying to run before you can walk.
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  4. #169
    Modally Challenged!!!! mattblack850's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Los Boleros


    Yes but it's all good. Vamping out over one chord and using different modes is great and it is the essence of modal but modal can also be an entire composition where the tonal center is not Ionian or Aeolian. That is Diatonic use of modes over the chord of the moment as a source for singing over the chords. The basis for melodic content comes from being able to play over the chords. This should be the starting place. One should not go modal before learning to do this first. It's like trying to run before you can walk.
    I kind of understand what's being said here and am in no way qualified to make a technical reposte, BUT, sometimes, isn't what sounds good the best way to learn?? I.E. sometimes, without realising,you'll play something great, then, look back into what you played and realise that it's such-and-such mode/scale, then you know that particular scale/mode works over the progression that you were using? I seem to be having this phenemenom more and more myself these days, whether or not it's because I actually WANT to understand what I'm playing or not I haven't quite worked out, but I find myself much more analytical of what I'm playing.

  5. #170
    Registered User SeattleRuss's Avatar
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    Los Boleros wrote:

    I would not say that Lydian sounds better. Interesting yes. Better?
    Right. Whatever is better is for the listener to decide. Or the composer, who might be the only listener.

    There are lots of situation where modal thinking / playing is inappropriate. Imagine I get hired to do a gig and my job is to improv solos that "sound good", meaning, "sound right for the tune / style". I'm going along and I see a maj7 chord and start playing lydian stuff over it. The guy who hired me, let's say he's a singer wearing a cowboy hat looks at me like I'm crazy and after the set asks me what the heck I thought I was doing.

    Los Boleros's comment about "running before you can walk" is on the money here. I'm not trying to discourage experimentaion - I'm all for it but remember:
    The guys who pioneered modal approaches to soloing could all easily play beautifully over changes where they're seeing a least 2 chords per bar at tempos in excess of 200 bpm! They already had all that experience under their belt and had that to bring to the table for the modal stuff. Believe me, if you have 32 bars of Dm7, you had better have something more to say than just wandering around in the Dorian mode the whole time, or Aeolian or phrygian for that matter.

  6. #171
    Registered User Sir Speedy's Avatar
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    Lot of feedback on this ... Okay,i see what you guys are saying . There are times when Major or Minor Pentatonic Blues scales work better.

    "Knocking on Heavens Door" the Dylan tune , For example .You have to play E minor pentatonic and G major pentatonic on G and D then A minor pentatonic with some Dorian on A min . it would sound out of place to play Modal intervals triads and arpeggios , on the whole thing .

    It would sound like you can't play rock

    how 'bout Dorian ideas on the end of "Stairway to Heaven" . it would be an easy listening Nightmare
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  7. #172
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Speedy
    Lot of feedback on this ... Okay,i see what you guys are saying ..........

    how 'bout Dorian ideas on the end of "Stairway to Heaven" . it would be an easy listening Nightmare
    Actually it could be done to sound pretty kool I think. I can already think of some Dorian Riffs I would throw in during the Am and some heavy Diminished sounds on the F. I bet ya if I had done that back in the Late 60's-early 70's, I could have been a God.
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  8. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Speedy
    There are times when Major or Minor Pentatonic Blues scales work better.

    "Knocking on Heavens Door" the Dylan tune , For example .You have to play E minor pentatonic and G major pentatonic on G and D then A minor pentatonic with some Dorian on A min . it would sound out of place to play Modal intervals triads and arpeggios , on the whole thing .
    This makes me wonder if you understand what I just posted about modes and modal.


    I have a question for you sirspeedy,

    If you strummed the progression Am,Dm,E7 and I bent a note up to a high E and it held for the duration of the three chords, would you say that I am not using modes?
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  9. #174
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    Well, if your playing E pen minor, G pen Major and A Dorian
    you really ain't changing anything. You may be tossing in a F# over the D or tossing in a C over the c chord or anyplace else for that matter.
    But you haven't actually changed keys. Your simply playing a G Major scale.

    You may mentally approach this as a G pen minor scale with a note tossed in here and there but you haven't actually done anything modal.
    You may mentally view this as a E Pen minor scale with a note tossed in here any there. Same diffrence.
    What one thinks while doing and the result of what one does isn't always the same thing.
    You may think your using an E Minor scale yet when it's all said and done and we listen back to what you actually played there's no C or F# to be found in your lines. So what you played was a E Pen minor, maybe not on purpose but that was what it was.

    I once knew a Sax player bout 20 years ago and we was well in his 60's back then. Anyway he had never heard of a Pen scale. Had no idea what one was. Yet played em a lot. Maybe not on purpose but through trial and error and learning over time that certain notes sound good over certain things and certain notes don't. He knew a decent amount of theory could play over changes, new his Major/Minor scales but was clueless as to what a Pen scale was. He did have some formal training of some kind but they never covered the Pen scale. Remember this was some 60 years ago or so. I'm not sure at what point players/teachers actually said Hey I'm playing a Pen Scale. I think it was kind of accepted knowledge from Jamming and stealing licks off records or other players that certain notes work and certain notes don't depending on what your trying to actually do.

    I guess my point is that although I think thought and looking theory wise at what your doing is important, sometimes too much thinking can be counter productive. Everytime I play what's pretty much a pen based solo and I'm not gonna give it sum hip name just cause I tossed a extra note in. I tend to throw my share of #6 in while playing Pen Minor but that dosen't Make My Solo Modal. Besides, depending on how or where u use it (like over the IV chord in a 12 bar blues) it may actually just be a chord tone. So how U actually use something, how long u use it, where u use etc. etc. etc. is far more important that simply using it. You can pretty much toss any of the 12 notes in anyplace you want just so your phrasing and conviction are strong.
    "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is usually the correct one." William of Occam

  10. #175
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Bash
    I once knew a Sax player bout 20 years ago and we was well in his 60's back then. Anyway he had never heard of a Pen scale. Had no idea what one was. Yet played em a lot. Maybe not on purpose but through trial and error and learning over time that certain notes sound good over certain things and certain notes don't. He knew a decent amount of theory could play over changes, new his Major/Minor scales but was clueless as to what a Pen scale was. He did have some formal training of some kind but they never covered the Pen scale. Remember this was some 60 years ago or so. I'm not sure at what point players/teachers actually said Hey I'm playing a Pen Scale. I think it was kind of accepted knowledge from Jamming and stealing licks off records or other players that certain notes work and certain notes don't depending on what your trying to actually do. .
    As I have said before, my feeling about pentatonic scales is that they are 5/7ths of a natural scale. If I play something pentatonic, it's because those are the notes that I want to emphasise due to their relation to the chord. I personally would never do a solo and agree to play a pentatonic solo. Most phrases will not include all seven notes of a scale. Just the notes that say what I want to say.Some phrases may be pentatonic and some will not. That's just feeling on that.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Bash
    I guess my point is that although I think thought and looking theory wise at what your doing is important, sometimes too much thinking can be counter productive. .
    It really just depends on whether the theory you have learned is organised in a way that it can be usable in real time.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Bash
    Everytime I play what's pretty much a pen based solo and I'm not gonna give it sum hip name just cause I tossed a extra note in. I tend to throw my share of #6 in while playing Pen Minor but that dosen't Make My Solo Modal.
    I am guessing the the following example is what you are reffering to:
    Code:
    The Progression is
     
    |Am///|Dm///|Em///|////|
     
    Clearly the Key of Am of which the natural notes are A,B,C,D,E,F,G
    So in this example if you are playing an Am pentatonic scale and over the Am Chord you throw in an F# note. Even ever so breifly, for that moment, you are playing Am Dorian Mode. I would not say that your whole solo is Modal but you cannot deny that that particular moment is modal. After all, for that short moment you are using a G Major scale over an Am tonality.

    Of course it really doesn't matter a bit what you call it for your own sense of reasoning. You could say it an altered pentatonic, Dorian or you can call it Beavis, but when it comes down to explaining things with other musicians, the names of the modes are just there so we can comunicate theory or give instructions to others. If in a recording Studio, someone asked me to give the song a Dorian flavor, I would know to include the F# note at some point.
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  11. #176
    Registered User Sir Speedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Los Boleros
    This makes me wonder if you understand what I just posted about modes and modal.


    I have a question for you sirspeedy,

    If you strummed the progression Am,Dm,E7 and I bent a note up to a high E and it held for the duration of the three chords, would you say that I am not using modes?
    Your not implying anything , but playing a common tone over all three chords .
    No , that isn't modal . E7 is a Dominant substitution , the V/vi ,(Dominant helper that goes with the A min ) but that's about all i see, that is any different than a regular A min Progression .

    Looking at it more closely , it appears to be the F Major key Amin is the iii
    Dmin is the vi , but E7 is still a Dominant helper for A min(V/iii) , so i would say , play A Phrigian on the whole thing , and it will sound good , you can play F# Diminished 7th Arpeggios , and the Phrigian version of A harmonic minor , too .

    It's possible to play "D Dorian" on A min(vi) and D minor(ii)

    but the E7 is still a Sub , so the A Phrigian will still sound the best

    This is the kind of stuff DiMeola does , where phrigian sounds good on a Dominant chord .What happens is , the Major 3ed of the dominant 7 chord ,makes the Phrigian sound like it's minor 3ed is a passing tone .
    it actually sounds smooth , and doesn't clash at all
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  12. #177
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Speedy
    Your not implying anything , but playing a common tone over all three chords .
    No , that isn't modal . E7 is a Dominant substitution , the V/vi ,(Dominant helper that goes with the A min ) but that's about all i see, that is any different than a regular A min Progression .
    The question I asked is not if it is modal, I asked you if I was using modes. The answer is yes. I use Diatonic modes all the time to arrange my thoughts. If the Chords are Am,Dm E7 then the modes are Aeolian, Dorian, Phrigian from the harmonic minor. Over the Am, E is the Fifth of Aeolian, over the Dm, E is the nineth of Dorian and over the phrigian, E is the Tonic. This is not modal but using modes to analise the chords of the moment. This is how you can learn to be a kick a$$ melodic musician that always plays the right stuff. Although all the dioatonic modes belong to the same scale, each has it's own tonality and the order of intervals changes. If you can get good at shifting your tonal centers and all the other notes move with it, then you can always know where your 1,3 and 5 are and where your tention notes are.
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  13. #178
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    I'm tired and now...a little scared too.

    Los B, this is the daddy thread btw. Great discussion.
    Last edited by UKRuss; 02-05-2005 at 08:32 PM. Reason: just to chivvy Los B

  14. #179
    Registered User SeattleRuss's Avatar
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    Sir Speedy wrote:

    E7 is a Dominant substitution
    When you have a progression like:
    Am Dm E7, even though the G# contained in the E7 is technically not in the Aminor (C major) scale, it's very common to have to "adjust" modes so that they will have a functioning Dominant chord. If you adhered stricly to the A Aeolian mode, your V chord will be Em, which just doesn't sound so great for many situations. You'll notice a similar thing when you try to extract progressions from the other modes - you often have to make adjustments to make them function in a usable way. I almost never write progressions by extracting from a mode - at least not on purpose. I find it limiting and this is a good example of how one shouldn't think of theory as a set of rules to abide by.

  15. #180
    Registered User Sir Speedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Los Boleros
    If the Chords are Am,Dm E7 then the modes are Aeolian, Dorian, Phrigian from the harmonic minor. Over the Am, E is the Fifth of Aeolian, over the Dm, E is the nineth of Dorian and over the phrigian, E is the Tonic. This is not modal but using modes to analise the chords of the moment. This is how you can learn to be a kick a$$ melodic musician that always plays the right stuff.
    I have no doubt you are a good player , and we are on the same page , as far as what scales work , but here's the catch .

    E minor is the "v" in the key of A minor .

    what happens is every chord has a secondary Dominant a fifth away , and in this case E7 is the secondary Dominant , a 5th away from A min 7 , in both D minor and A minor , so your changing the Minor to a dominant 7 based on a substitution principle.

    As you can see by my post i am referring to this progression , in the Key of D minor , with F, being it's relative major ,And playing A phrigian on the whole thing .

    Of course you can switch keys to A minor and play D Dorian on the Amin and D min Chords .
    When you get to the E7 Chord . E Phrigian Shows it self.

    Scince E7 is the V7 sub a 5th above Amin . You could also play Mixolydian(1 2 3 4 56 b7) or Lydian b7 ,(1 2 3 #4 5 6 b7) from the Melodic minor .Or possibly create your own Improve pattern from all the scales E phrigian ,A phrigian ,E mixo and E Lydian b7 I like the way E Phrigian sounds more than than A phrigian , over the E 7 , personally.

    I usually analize keys as major , but scince the key here is minor , i'm trying my best to think of the one chord as minor -- i

    i have a question , Los Boleros... mabey you can answer , because i don't know ... When I write out the chord numbers for the 7th chords in these Minor keys , should i write

    D minor ---i min7 ii 7-5 , IIImaj7 , iv min7 , v min7 , VI Maj7, VII Dom 7 ??

    is that right ??? i only learned Major. so even though i mighnt be in a Minor Key , i'm thinking A min7 is the vi chord of C Maj , or A min7 is the iii chord of F major .Should i be saying "in D minor phrigian is built on the v chord ? What do you think ???
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