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Thread: modal interchange's questions

  1. #1
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    modal interchange's questions

    hi..just wanna ask you all about modal interchange..i'm quiet confuse about it..
    1) can we achieve it only with experiment or are there any rules.."which must be combined with which",etc ?

    2) how about the melody ? can i use the minor scale over the chords from the minor scale and use the major scale over the chords from major scale?

    3) i've read a book that connects this modal interchange with dorian and harmonic minor scale...i just don't get it? i can't understand it cause the language of the book is so hard...can someone explain me,please...?

    thx u for your kindness.. sorry, for my poor english..

  2. #2
    Modally Challenged!!!! mattblack850's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeansen
    hi..just wanna ask you all about modal interchange..i'm quiet confuse about it..
    1) can we achieve it only with experiment or are there any rules.."which must be combined with which",etc ?

    2) how about the melody ? can i use the minor scale over the chords from the minor scale and use the major scale over the chords from major scale?

    3) i've read a book that connects this modal interchange with dorian and harmonic minor scale...i just don't get it? i can't understand it cause the language of the book is so hard...can someone explain me,please...?

    thx u for your kindness.. sorry, for my poor english..
    Hopefully this is a bit clearer for you!!


    (1) Chords can be borrowed from other modes. This is sometimes called modal interchange and is common between a major key and its parallel minor. (not the relative minor which has the same key signature, but the minor key which has the same tonic). Chords can be borrowed from the harmonic minor, melodic minor or any minor mode.
    eg. In C Maj you can 'borrow' chords from C min, C Harm min, C Dorian, C Aeolian etc.


    (2) Jazz musicians often reharmonise standard tunes not only by altering chords but by using substitute chords. When an established melody is being played the choice of these new chords is restricted by the melody note, however during improvised solos there is far more freedom.

    (3) The modal interchange works with any of the parallel minor modes or scales.


    Also, check this article by our own Mike Campese:-

    http://www.guitar9.com/columnist286.html
    Last edited by mattblack850; 01-12-2006 at 12:39 PM.

  3. #3
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    to continue along the same line of thought, it isn't all about experimenation because there are some things that you hear way more then others just because they fit a particular style, like Maj7 built off of flatted scale degrees in pop music.

    Some common modally borrowed chords include: bIIMaj7, bVIMaj7, bIIIMaj7, bVIIMaj7, Vm7, IVm7, bVII7, IIm7b5, IV7.

    You can take your given C major scale and take any chord from any mode with the same C root and call it 'modal interchange,' it's just that some tend to work a lot better then others. For example, borrowing the Vm7b5 from a phrygian scale might not work too well, whereas the bIIMaj7 from the same scale sounds great.

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    i got this from http://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory31.htm :

    If we take C major, chords that do not belong to the C major scale are to be treated as 'alterations'. We also show the scale harmonisation of the Dorian mode.

    box 1 :
    -Scale Step I IImi IIImi IV V VImi VIIo
    -Major Scale C Dmi Emi F G Ami Bo
    -Parallel Natural Minor Scale Cmi Do E Fmi Gmi A B
    Natural Minor Chords
    numbered in
    -Major Key Centre Imi IIo III IVmi Vmi VI VII
    -Dorian Scale Imi IImi III IV Vmi VIo VII

    If we now take C minor, chords that do not belong to the C minor scale are to be treated as 'alterations'. We again include the scale harmonisation of the Dorian mode.

    box 2 :
    -Scale Step Imi IIo III IVmi Vmi VI VII
    -Natural Minor Scale Cmi Do E Fmi Gmi A B
    -Parallel Major Scale C Dmi Emi F G Ami Bo
    -Major Chords
    numbered in
    Natural Minor Key Centre I IImi IIImi IV V VImi VIIo
    -Dorian Scale Imi IImi III IV Vmi VIo VII


    i don't know what are those boxes mean?? what is it used for?

    Some of the'altered' chords, that is those 'borrowed' from the parallel scale, are identical to those found in the harmonised Dorian model. Similarly, some of the 'altered' chords occur in the harmonised harmonic minor scale, showing yet again, the similarities between all the minor scales and the Dorian mode. As to which scale one considers the most 'fundamental' and therefore the one upon which all minor key harmonic analysis should be based, different authorities take different positions. Musicians, on the other hand, just need an explanation that helps them play the music, and what we have offered above does do this.

    i don't know what those underlined paragraph means...
    help me please...thx u
    Last edited by Jeansen; 01-13-2006 at 04:32 AM.

  5. #5
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    I would take a step back and start at step 1. of MattBlack850's recipe.

    Be sure first you understand how you can borrow chords from, firstly, just the parallel minor starting with just the harmonisation of the natural minor. And then actually experiment with that for a while. You will already find that to improvise over things like that you have some new challenges.

    Then you can move on to take things from the parallel minor using the harmonic minor or maybe some other parallel mode. But, that wouldn't be tomorrow or the next day, or the next month. Take your time.

    To me the text you showed just indicates comparisons between harmonisations of the major scale, the parallel natural minor and the dorian mode and observations about the comon chords. The repeating the experiment but comparing dorian to the major harmonisation.

    The paragraph at the end seems to make a big deal over the fact the you can see commonality between dorian and all other minor modes?? Well you would expect to see a lot of commonality between all minor modes and one another wouldn't you ?

  6. #6
    Modally Challenged!!!! mattblack850's Avatar
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    box 1 :
    -Scale Step I IImi IIImi IV V VImi VIIo
    -Major Scale C Dmi Emi F G Ami Bo
    -Parallel Natural Minor Scale Cmi Do E Fmi Gmi A B
    -Dorian Scale Imi IImi III IV Vmi VIo VII



    Let's go through this line by line........

    Scale Step - These are the names of the steps in a Natural Major Scale.

    I (root), IImin (minor 2nd or ii), IIImin (minor 3rd or iii),
    IV(Perfect 4th),V (5th), Vimin (Minor 6th or iv),
    VIIo (Diminished 7th).

    Major Scale - Using C as our tonic the chords of the scale are:-
    C, Dmin, Emin, F, G, Amin, Bdim.

    Parallel Natural Minor Scale - This is a C Natural Minor scale.
    Cmin, Ddim, E, Fmin, Gmin, A, B.
    Imi, IIo III IVmi Vmi VI VII


    From this we can 'borrow' any chord from the Natural Minor scale and use it in our C Major Scale progression.

    The Dorian Example:-Dorian Scale Imi IImi III IV Vmi VIo VII
    This is just an example showing how you could borrow from the Dorian Scale as well.

    Hope this begins to open it up for you!!
    As AshC says, that last paragraph just intimates about the commonality of Minor Scales/Modes. Start with the Natural Minor and slowly work your way into the rest of it, it's a huge subject to try and take in one go!!!

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    thx u for all your answer...

    Hello..i hope i don't bother you....just wanna ask you guys about this ..

    I Dmaj7 . Bm7 . I Dmaj7 . Bm7 . I
    I E7 . . . I E7 . . .I Em7 . A7 . I

    Now, what I’m gonna ask you is that E7 over there….can I called it a “secondary dominant”? or is it a modal interchange? thx u

  8. #8
    Modally Challenged!!!! mattblack850's Avatar
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    Yes and yes! It is a secondary dominant and could also come in the category of modal interchange/ borrowed chords.


    This is quite a good explanation of secondary dominants:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secondary_dominant

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    hello..just wanna check..what's the different between modal interchange and pitch axis? thx u

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    I haven't read about modal interchange, but based on the term itself, it sounds like varying between different modes. I'm not gonna elaborate, however, as I don't know any details.

    Pitch axis, on the other hand, I am more familiar with. This is when you choose a specific note as root, let's say C, and you start out in for instance C Phrygian, continue on with ie. C Lydian, then C Aeolian, then C Mixolydian etc. You get the idea. The tonic is the same, but you use different modes. This is parallell modes. Same root. (A few words about relative modes too; Relative modes are all the modes of one specific major scale/key signature. Different modes, different tonics, but SAME SET of notes.)

  11. #11
    Registered User dusura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeansen
    hello..just wanna check..what's the different between modal interchange and pitch axis? thx u
    Modal interchange is borrowing harmonies (chords) from a parallel mode (another mode with the same root note). Pitch axis is borrowing melodies.

    I think pitch axis is more like "modulating" to a different mode for a period of time e.g. playing in C Lydian for 32 bars, then C Aeolian for next 32 bar. Whereas with modal interchange you are just borrowing a chord here and there from a "foreign" mode - not actually modulating to that mode.

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    silent storm:
    You can take your given C major scale and take any chord from any mode with the same C root and call it 'modal interchange,' it's just that some tend to work a lot better then others. For example, borrowing the Vm7b5 from a phrygian scale might not work too well, whereas the bIIMaj7 from the same scale sounds great.
    about modal interchange again..so how can you know what "borrowed" chords fit with the main chords? it must be with an experiment, am i right? or are there any specific ways?thx again...

  13. #13
    Mode Rator Zatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeansen
    how can you know what "borrowed" chords fit with the main chords?
    Every borrowed chord belongs to Tonic, Subdominant or Dominant group just like the main chords do.

    Also you should consider the voice leading.

    For example in the key of C major you might encounter the progression:

    C -> Am -> Ab -> F -> G

    which in Roman numerals could be written as:

    I -> vi -> bVI (borrowed) -> IV -> V

    where I and vi belong to a Tonic group while bVI has an ambiguous quality being a transition between tonic and subdominant parts of the progression.

    The voice leading is very smooth here and sounds pretty well.
    Zadd9 -> A6 -> T#9b5 -> Zmaj7

  14. #14
    Modally Challenged!!!! mattblack850's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeansen
    hello..just wanna check..what's the different between modal interchange and pitch axis? thx u
    Pitch axis is when you keep the same Root, let's say C, and then modulate between the modes of C. Your backing would contain no third, so no suggestion of Major or Minor is made.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeansen
    about modal interchange again..so how can you know what "borrowed" chords fit with the main chords? it must be with an experiment, am i right? or are there any specific ways?thx again...
    If we stay in C, the 'borrowed' chords can come from any chords from any of the other C scales or modes!! Lots of choice, but as Silent Storm said there are some that fit better than others!!!
    To begin with just try borrowing from the C minor scale, so you could have any progression from the C Major scale and 'borrow' and use any of the following chords:-
    Cmi, Do, E, Fmi, Gmi, A, B.

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    QUOTE=Zatz]Every borrowed chord belongs to Tonic, Subdominant or Dominant group just like the main chords do
    I : OCTAVE
    VII: LEADING TONE
    VI: SUBMDIAN
    V: DOMINANT
    IV: SUBDOMINANT
    III:MEDIAN
    II:SUPERTONIKA
    I: TONIKA

    Zats: i know this terms but sorry, i just don't get what your statement means..
    What do you mean by "belongs to tonic,subdominant or dominant group just like the main chords do"?

    i'm actually new about this terms..and i'm sorry a very-very bad english ( sorry for bothering you all ) but please help me...

    I -> vi -> bVI (borrowed) -> IV -> V
    where I and vi belong to a Tonic group while bVI has an ambiguous quality being a transition between tonic and subdominant parts of the progression.
    is it should be always like this?
    thx u

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