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Thread: modes....again....

  1. #46
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apple-Joe
    Of course they're not an island to themselves.

    So if I play in G Lydian, I use the G Lydian mode - but it's not modal music; if I only play in G Lydian. However, if I combine it, let's say with G Mixolydian and G Phrygian - then it's not just a use of different modes, then the whole thing could be spoken of as MODAL MUSIC, due to the fact that there are SEVERAL modes that have same root note as the constant tonal center?

    Am I onto something?

    EDIT: Mateo, I just read your reply. So according to you - as well as GrantMe - it's all about varying and incorporating more than ONE mode? I'm trying to understand your way of viewing it.
    No, it does not matter if it is in just one mode or if it uses more than one mode. According to the Virginia Tech Musical Dictionary, the word Modal is an adjative meaning:

    "Having to do with modes; this term is applied most particularly to music that is based upon the Gregorian modes, rather than to music based upon the major, minor, or any other scale."

    Now jazzers have this new idea that modal is something that belongs just to Jazz but there really are different levels of modal. The examples of Miles Davis and John Coltrane are great examples of extreme modal music. This was cutting edge stuff when it came out and still cuts like a knife now. In the case of the jazz guru, modal tends to be more of a vamp oriented groove where the tonal center is not so obvious. In order to achieve this, the vamps have to have very few chords otherwise you ear will always lead you back to Ionian or Aeolian. However, modal can definately be of a lesser intensity. Our Western ears have become acustom to the sounds of Major and Minor scales and that is what is perceived as normal. A blues tune with C-F-G can be played completely in the C Major scale. However, change the chords to C7-F7-G7, and now you need to know your modes to follow the changes. Not all Modal music has multiple modes. Some pop music and folkoric music is completely written in modes such as Lydian, Mixolydian and Dorian.
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  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Los Boleros
    No, it does not matter if it is in just one mode or if it uses more than one mode. According to the Virginia Tech Musical Dictionary, the word Modal is an adjative meaning:

    "Having to do with modes; this term is applied most particularly to music that is based upon the Gregorian modes, rather than to music based upon the major, minor, or any other scale."

    Now jazzers have this new idea that modal is something that belongs just to Jazz but there really are different levels of modal. The examples of Miles Davis and John Coltrane are great examples of extreme modal music. This was cutting edge stuff when it came out and still cuts like a knife now. In the case of the jazz guru, modal tends to be more of a vamp oriented groove where the tonal center is not so obvious. In order to achieve this, the vamps have to have very few chords otherwise you ear will always lead you back to Ionian or Aeolian. However, modal can definately be of a lesser intensity. Our Western ears have become acustom to the sounds of Major and Minor scales and that is what is perceived as normal. A blues tune with C-F-G can be played completely in the C Major scale. However, change the chords to C7-F7-G7, and now you need to know your modes to follow the changes. Not all Modal music has multiple modes. Some pop music and folkoric music is completely written in modes such as Lydian, Mixolydian and Dorian.
    "...Music based upon the Gregorian modes"

    Exactly. I'm very tempted to say that i.e. a Santana song using the Dorian mode is modal music.

    To put it this way; could anyone explain to me - in short terms -, why a Santana song using the Dorian mode isn't an example of modal music?

    As that dictionary said, modal music is music based upon the Gregorian modes, and the Dorian mode is a Gregorian mode.

  3. #48
    Registered Loser =Bob='s Avatar
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    Having taken Modal Counterpoint (16th century music) in college, according to those rules (and they were really rules) there was no real meaning of dominance as it predates tonality. They used consonance (5th, 8ths, 3rds & 6ths) and dissonance (4ths, 2nds, 7ths) to define and guide their writing. There was no vertical harmonic theory like we think of today. So the Santana song using Dorian mode might not be what would be considered modal music if it relies upon modern harmonic theory. Listen to some Palestrina and you will hear the difference I think. And it was fairly conventional to mix modes in Renaissance music.
    =Bob=

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by =Bob=
    Having taken Modal Counterpoint (16th century music) in college, according to those rules (and they were really rules) there was no real meaning of dominance as it predates tonality. They used consonance (5th, 8ths, 3rds & 6ths) and dissonance (4ths, 2nds, 7ths) to define and guide their writing. There was no vertical harmonic theory like we think of today. So the Santana song using Dorian mode might not be what would be considered modal music if it relies upon modern harmonic theory. Listen to some Palestrina and you will hear the difference I think. And it was fairly conventional to mix modes in Renaissance music.
    =Bob=
    Thats not the definition that VT uses. So another defintion again. Did the class on modal counterpoint teach you a lot? What book did you use? What exactly is 16th century counterpoint (in one paragraph if possible)?

    EDIT: for people interested in the consonance/dissonance approach, Paul Nelson's articles deal with the subject and were rather helpful for me.
    Last edited by Mateo150; 03-24-2005 at 05:09 PM.
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  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mateo150
    Thats not the definition that VT uses. So another defintion again. Did the class on modal counterpoint teach you a lot? What book did you use? What exactly is 16th century counterpoint (in one paragraph if possible)?
    I couldn't find "VT" in this thread, so I can't comment on that (please fill me in). I don't have the book with me right now (at work) but I'll get it out tonight and post the title and author then. I learned what they wanted me to learn, tonal counterpoint was more useful I think as it taught me things I could use in orchestration and arranging (not that I'm any good at it). What we were using is also referred to as "Church Modes". We were writing what would be similar to Gregorian Chants as exercises. The main difference between modal writing and modern tonality is that modal music is defined melodically, not harmonically. In modal music final closure was defined by voice leading, in modern tonal music it is defined by cadence (dominance).
    =Bob=

  6. #51
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mateo150
    For every one non-modal song, I'm sure I could name 3 or more modal songs. Now it would be more prudent to name Non-modal music since that is the minority with that particular definition.
    That is just a bunch of Steam. Clearly, here in the west, Major and Minor scales dominate Folk and Pop in nearly all languages.
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  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apple-Joe
    I'm very tempted to say that i.e. a Santana song using the Dorian mode is modal music.
    Yes, I would say so as well. It is probably the most popular example of Dorian mode. Even though Carlos Santana does not venture too far away with his extentions, some one else like Miles Davis could really take it to the limit.

    If you were to play Aeolian over it, It would be wrong everytime you hit the b6.
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  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Los Boleros
    Yes, I would say so as well. It is probably the most popular example of Dorian mode. Even though Carlos Santana does not venture too far away with his extentions, some one else like Miles Davis could really take it to the limit.

    If you were to play Aeolian over it, It would be wrong everytime you hit the b6.
    I suppose you, by 'it', are referring to a Dorian chord vamp/progression?

  9. #54
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    By VT i meant Virginia Tech, since that was the dictionary that Los referenced earlier.

    Los, thats not just "steam". I think of modal music as a loose term and you seem to think of it in more rigid boundaries. If you read, i did say outside of simple pop and baroque classical, nearly everything is modal according to your definition boundaries. Folk I'm not so sure about, but I do believe they use dom seventh chords in a lot of folk songs, so those songs are modal. If a song uses a pentatonic/dorian solo, thats modal, so nearly every classic rock song is modal. Tons of classical music post baroque uses modes, so thats all modal. All of Blues and Jazz is modal. Even some pop groups, such as Weezer who have mostly maj/min chord progressions would be modal since some of there interlude riffs and such go outside strict maj/min, they may be 99% non-modal, but that 1% of the song that goes one outside note, poof, modal song. As soon as a dom 7th chord is used, the song in then "modal" since this has the maj 3 and dom 7 which is mixolydian.... etc. etc. Just try it yourself, try to list all the songs that are strictly major minor (no modality in it all) that you know then think of all the songs that have any semblance of modality in them. Most of us would probably have a larger list on the modes song side. It would be silly to carry on about this, but I'm positive I could name 3 or more "modal" songs for each one non-modal song you can come up with, in western music, according to that strict definition you adhere to. Doesn't mean that those songs aren't "modal", they just are not to me, I'd rather categorize them another way. Its really not that big a deal, But Its kinda silly to use that rigid definition of modal since nearly everything under the sun is "modal", not to mention nearly all of non-western music is modal. I don't think your thinking about from a scientific viewpoint of categorization and how we use language to do that, which really has no bearing on how you play your guitarra.

    Edit: reread your definition of "modal", thats a fairly grey line there. Music "based on gregorian modes" rather than other scales. I did misunderstand what you were saying, a Weezer song that is 99% major minor is not modal since it is BASED on maj min. But its not that far of a jump to then say that nearly nothing is modal since you could argue a Santana song is BASED in minor using dorian to solo over.
    Last edited by Mateo150; 03-24-2005 at 10:42 PM.
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  10. #55
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    I can't see most of modern music as purely modal, although modern music uses modal elements at will. Anymore, it seems like it's a big mix of everything, with composers dabbing a little of this and a little of that into their compositions like paint from a palette. It's certainly not what you would call Renaissance music anyway. But there sure is a large incorporation of modal elements into modern music, especially in soloing. I'm sure there are some composers using strictly modes too, but I doubt they are employing the rules the way 16th century writers did. EDIT: In the books I studied, modal music didn't have things like dominants.
    =Bob=
    Last edited by =Bob=; 03-24-2005 at 10:31 PM.

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mateo150
    By VT i meant Virginia Tech, since that was the dictionary that Los referenced earlier.

    Los, thats not just "steam". I think of modal music as a loose term and you seem to think of it in more rigid boundaries. If you read, i did say outside of simple pop and baroque classical, nearly everything is modal according to your definition boundaries. Folk I'm not so sure about, but I do believe they use dom seventh chords in a lot of folk songs, so those songs are modal. If a song uses a pentatonic/dorian solo, thats modal, so nearly every classic rock song is modal. Tons of classical music post baroque uses modes, so thats all modal. All of Blues and Jazz is modal. Even some pop groups, such as Weezer who have mostly maj/min chord progressions would be modal since some of there interlude riffs and such go outside strict maj/min, they may be 99% non-modal, but that 1% of the song that goes one outside note, poof, modal song. As soon as a dom 7th chord is used, the song in then "modal". Just try it yourself, try to list all the songs that are strictly major minor (no modality in it all) that you know then think of all the songs that have any semblance of modality in them. Most of us would probably have a larger list on the modes song side. It would be silly to carry on about this, but I'm positive I could name 3 or more "modal" songs for each one non-modal song you can come up with, in western music, according to that strict definition you adhere to. Its really not that big a deal, But Its kinda silly to use that rigid definition of modal since nearly everything under the sun is "modal". I don't think your thinking about from a scientific viewpoint of categorization and how we use language to do that, which really has no bearing on how you play your guitarra.
    The word modal is an adjative. It can reffer not just to an entire song, but usually just to segments of a song. A dominant chord does not indicate modal. simply changing the v chord in a minor scale for a V7 chord does not change the tonality of a progression, it strengthens it. In regards to the claim that you could name 3 modal exaples to every 1 example in a completly minor or major environment is kinda silly since theres no way to ever prove it. However, to think that the majority of western music has a modal twist on tonality seems unbelievable.
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  12. #57
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    i was just watching an old video i have of a Berklee Teacher talking about playing modal....and this is were i got my point of view in my earlier post...he says playing modal is playing inside a certain tonal key.....the word mode does not mean it has to be a mode of a scale...something can also be a mode of a tonal center..often times these cant be used throughtout an entire song but sometimes they can like in songs like Impressions. Playing Modaly is a good way to spice up an area of a piece of music that stays in one key...it allows you too play variations while staying within the same harmonic place.

  13. #58
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    Why is a Santana song dorian mode and thus "modal music" rather than "based in a minor environment" using dorian mode?
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    from what this teacher says it not the same...if its in Dorian than its in the mode of a minor thought or a mjor thought....but its one thought...and playing modaly is playing within the tonal center leaving room to play any scale mode or chord comp you want inside that vamp or whatever during the period of time your in tonal center.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mateo150
    Why is a Santana song dorian mode and thus "modal music" rather than "based in a minor environment" using dorian mode?
    Because,"based in a minor environment" using dorian mode, would take way too long to say. We are referring to Santanas Oye Como Va I assume. I believe the chords are Am-D7. This has a tonality of Am6 and the actual scale is from the key of G major. The tonal Center is not A Aeolian, and there are only two chords therefore your ear cannot reffer to G as the Tonal Center. There for it is fair to reffer to it as Modal. Remember that Modal is an adjative. Maybe this level of modal is below the threshold of what you consider modal, especially since compared to some of your examples, it's a pretty watered down example of modal, however it is still modal by definition. It fits the criteria.
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