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#2935252 - 06/29/18 06:50 AM Use of modes
DocPate Offline
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I don't believe we have had a good discussion on the use of modes.

I know I used modes for a long time without realizing what it was. Using the modes over a major scale to create harmony or to add an emotional feeling just came naturally. But I must admit, I'm no theory expert so I can't explain their use.

Perhaps we have some experts among us?




Edited by DocPate (06/29/18 06:51 AM)

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#2935258 - 06/29/18 07:08 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: DocPate]
CEB Offline
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IMO, The thing that makes Ecclesiastical Modes so important to many guitarist is they play and learn a lot of stuff that is pattern based. I'm a pianist. I and anyone who is a player uses modes. It is just a means of mentally organizing the way you think about notes. Often I will alternate play between Dorian and Aeolian minor modes.... But more often than not it is easier to think about as playing accidentals on the 6th. Dorian is simply Aeolian with a major 6th. We all play modes but thinking in terms of modes doesn't always help.

Guitarist often focus on modes because that is all they have. They often don't have the theoretical education of a trained pianist. Another thing is I think the guitar lends itself to pattern based learning because certain things are hard on guitar. Positions complicate things. On piano I can play middle C in exactly one place. On a Stratocaster I can play middle C in 5 places. grin


Edited by CEB (06/29/18 11:00 AM)
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#2935268 - 06/29/18 07:59 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: CEB]
DocPate Offline
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Excellent post CEB. Your comments on the use of patterns is absolutely correct. Just reminded me of an article I read in Guitar World

https://www.guitarworld.com/lessons/jazz-guitar-corner-learn-all-seven-major-modes-easy-way

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#2935291 - 06/29/18 10:15 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: DocPate]
d Offline
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My thoughts are in 3 categories.

[1] Many approaches make the idea more complicated than necessary.
For example, the use of the names, which is helpful when communicating to players steeped in their use but is a hindrance when trying to learn b/c it puts extra steps between their use & yer memory.
As CEB mentioned, in all matters relating to the use of musical pitch the easiest & clearest understanding comes by simply using the scale position of notes in relation to the major scale, w/flat/sharp adjustments as needed.
Constantly translating note names (a, b, c, etc) into diff patterns slows the pattern recognition.
The same applies, though somewhat less, to the names of the modes. Helpful when they're used to communicate w/others but a side issue or even impediment to learning their functionality (what they sound like & their uses).

[2] Following on that notion is the fact that, while they're kind of a "slide-rule" of scalar possibilities, they're functionally simply other scales.
All sorts of rules may be applied to them but they're really just the notes selected for use in a tune & therefore can be used to get across the desired effect in whatever manner seems best.
Music theory is not the rules for how to play or compose; it's simply the general conventions that have developed.

[3] This is sorta esoteric but can be a problem when reading a wide range of older writing.
When European musos translated the ancient Greek music systems they got a lot of stuff confused b/c while more modern academicians counted scales from lower to higher pitches, the Greeks did that from higher to lower pitch.
The names of ancient modes & the actual patterns got muddled & that's another source of potential confusion.
In some cases that may be corrected but in others not...another reason why numerical formulas are better than nomenclature at learning stages.

End of that circle.
----------------
Separately...
Originally Posted By: CEB
Guitarists often focus on modes because that is all they have. They often don't have the theoretical education of a trained pianist. Another thing is I think the guitar lends itself to pattern based learning because certain things are hard on guitar. Positions complicate things. On piano I can play middle C in exactly one place. On a Stratocaster I can play middle C in 5 places. grin

Harumph ! While it's true, still, that more pianists than guitarists start as classical students, that's a narrowing span...& really a bit beside the point.
A motivated player can find & learn needed info.
More importantly, theoretic knowledge falls behind the value of hearing & pitch-pattern recognition in all areas of music, really, though closely followed by score reading.

While I think all musical learning (& maybe all learning) is pattern based, some of what CEB mentions works in the opposite way, too.
KBoards are linear & great for identifying the basics of the major scale relationships in the key of C, they make the same patterns trickier to recognize visually (or in muscle memory) in other keys.

Of the 2 types of harmonically workable instruments, kboards are best for linear, scalar illustration but gtrs (or multi-stringed fretboards) offer the widest playing possibili-tease. grin

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#2935299 - 06/29/18 11:11 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: d]
desertbluesman Offline
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Emily Remler en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Remler one of my guitar teachers, she hipped me to the modes, up until that time I played only pentatonic scales. I did practice the major scale positions as well without using them in solo's.

Her first lesson to me was the dorian mode, I had to master all the positions of the scale, and write a chord progression in that mode I chose C Dorian, and here is that effort www.soundclick.com/html5/v4/player.cfm?songID=8789159 The first part is a slow intro in Dorian mode once it goes uptempo it was a minor blues she taught me with a sharped fifth lead into the fifth on the turnaround.
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#2935302 - 06/29/18 11:20 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: desertbluesman]
d Offline
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Always great to hear the DBMaster ! cool

One thing that can be interesting is to play music in one key but occasionally add related modalities that tweak the emotional tone.
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#2935342 - 06/29/18 02:30 PM Re: Use of modes [Re: d]
desertbluesman Offline
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Originally Posted By: d
Always great to hear the DBMaster ! cool

One thing that can be interesting is to play music in one key but occasionally add related modalities that tweak the emotional tone.


It opened up a whole new world for me at that time amigo. At the time I was playing with an improvisational band and that kind of thinking fit right in with that group. Of course back in those days I practiced scales for hours a day, so I had no trouble at all improvising in several modes in any improv tune.
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#2935362 - 06/29/18 05:13 PM Re: Use of modes [Re: desertbluesman]
Larryz Offline
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This is a topic that each of us that use the modes can write a book on (i.e. one lengthy post LOL!). I taught myself the 7 modes using a book titled Teach Yourself Improvisation. It has all of the patterns CEB speaks of for both guitar and piano, but mostly for guitar. As named in Doc's article they are Aeolian, Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian and Locrian. I found myself not really caring for the Phrygian and Locrian modes as my improv sounded like the camels are coming ha roo ha roo or they just didn't thrill me LOL! These modes can be learned as a pattern of Intervals, a pattern of Notes by name or as a pattern of Dots. By learning them as a pattern of dots, one can play well beyond their knowledge of theory on the guitar and go back and study the intervals at any time. There are 7 modes and 12 chromatic notes (starting points) which gives you 84 fretboard patterns to learn. These modes all contain one pattern of octaves. The octave and interval patterns move each time you choose a new key and new starting point on the 1st and 6th strings. The guy that laid out the note locations for each string crossing the frets in standard tuning was a genius IMHO.


I narrowed it down to one pattern of dots in this order Aeolian (minor), Ionian (major), Dorian, Lydian, Mixolydian. Then start over with Aeolian. You'll notice I threw out the two camels and came up with 5. (probably the same reason CEB found five middle C's on that Stratocaster). This all went great but I was having trouble making things happen when trying to improvise with the modes. Then I picked up a book on Teach Yourself Lead Guitar. It was basically a book on the two Pentatonic Blues Scales with 5 starting positions in both major and minor scales. They opened up a whole new set of doors and before I knew it I could play leads and forgot all about those stupid modes LOL!


After reaching a peak or two, my Pentatonic leads all started sounding the same to me due to the limited imagination of the user LOL! Then I had a brain storm and lined up the major and minor Pentatonics with the 2 modes Aeolian (minor) and Ionian (major) scales and those are the two that I now use. I interchange them with the 2 Pentatonics and get new ideas while improvising. Then just for kicks I throw in a melody line too...


The major mode scale pattern contains subsections of all the other mode patterns. It just depends on where you start when lining up the Octave pattern (with 5 fretboard positions before starting again) starting on the 1st and 6th string.


OK that's the two books in a nut shell. Might sound confusing but it's really not. Learning the scale patterns are the keys that will open the doors. They are the main threads that will help unravel the whole tapestry. Enjoy the journey if you decide to take it. It will help you Improvise (the key word for all of my desire to learn to play guitar) in Rock, Blues, Latin, Jazz, Country, Classical, etc. How do I use it? As a roadmap to help me improvise and know where the notes are that I'm searching for by ear. The intervals contained in all of the scales will also define all of your chord patterns (in dots or notes too LOL!) Long story short eh? Have fun with it! cool



Edited by Larryz (06/29/18 05:28 PM)
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#2935363 - 06/29/18 05:56 PM Re: Use of modes [Re: Larryz]
DocPate Offline
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Nice post Larry

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#2935379 - 06/29/18 09:42 PM Re: Use of modes [Re: DocPate]
Larryz Offline
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thu
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#2935393 - 06/30/18 04:18 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: Larryz]
whitefang Offline
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Since I mostly learned by "ear" and just go by what I'm hearing me play, it could mean I probably AM playing one or more particular "modes", but unaware of what they may be. Which does get back to d's "name dropping" idea and how that might gum up the works for some people. And for example, I've NEVER heard a song or instrumental tune and thought---" I don't LIKE that 'cause it's in the DORIAN mode", or, "I HATE that song because it's the BOHLEN-PIERCE scale!". Nor either liked them because of those reasons. wink
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#2935407 - 06/30/18 07:13 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: whitefang]
Winston Psmith Offline
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I got into Modal Music because it was clear that the people I was listening to were not limiting themselves to Major & minor scales. I remember hearing other Guitarists discussing "Jazz scales", as if they were somehow separate and distinct? Of course, most of those Guitarists were trapped in the "Blues Box", and still trying to find their way out.
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#2935417 - 06/30/18 08:27 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: Winston Psmith]
DocPate Offline
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When you boil it all down, it's all about notes that fit melodically with other notes. Learning all of the scales, including the chromatic, teaches us what notes are available in any given key. Modes to me are just a way of naming the ones that fit together.

I learned guitar like most in my generation, by ear and picking up on more experienced player's knowledge by observation.

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#2935419 - 06/30/18 08:46 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: Winston Psmith]
d Offline
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While LarryZ a true musician & definitely skilled, the approach he takes or adopted from his studies, at least in explaining things above (his actually thoughts while playing may be more direct), is exactly why I think reducing things to their essence is the easiest way to learn.
There's definitely a value in deciding to leave aside some of the info but rather than try to learn all the potential fingerings of all scales/modes on the fretboard---even for a reduced list--- why not just learn the basic pattern(s) & invoke them as needed ?

The modes most often used in Western music these days all simply derive from shifting the major scale pattern around, starting on the various scale steps.
Their uses are based on the notes outside the usual Maj/min forms that add emotive expression (usually but sometimes just intellectual mathiness---oops, I mean artful intent grin ).
Some can be standardized (e.g., Mixolydian = Maj scale but b7 = most rock music / Dorian = min scale w/ b7 = most blues) & some will be more generally useful than others b/c of their closer resemblance to the Maj/min forms but it's all really abt those "outside" notes & what they convey to listeners.
Most important, maybe, is the recognition that in any music it's not necessary to use all the notes available or use them throughout a piece & that mixing them up a bit is also allowed, depending on what's intended at diff points.
------------------------------------------------------------
BTW & FWIW, for those so inclined, it's worth remembering/knowing that that expressiveness varies culture-to-culture & the possibilities are exponentially infinite w/ the micro-pitch options of Indian music, etc, where even those tiny inflections are codified.
The Wiki page on modes is also of possible interest on some of the more esoteric points of this subject.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mode_(music)
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#2935432 - 06/30/18 10:45 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: d]
desertbluesman Offline
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And here is my take on the modes and arpeggios. No thanks truthfully. I play mostly pentatonic scales in major and minor modes as well as using some of the major or minor full scale notes thrown in.

My hero's in the guitar world, were the ones who went from sound to sound without too much thinking. Just be familiar enough with the chord progression to play against it without too many clam notes. Emily Remler told me this one hint "what are you saying with your playing". I am still working on that, slowing down my notes from ripping to feeling, inserting pauses, and more feel instead of thought and technique.

I definitely admire those who can throw in different modes, and arpeggios, but I do not want to become a slave to my music, so I chose simple and melodic. Emily also said this; freedom is in the minors. meaning if you use a minor key and play a minor scale against it you can play any note in the scale, unlike the majors which need certain notes against certain chords to sound melodic. Of course Pentatonics in major or minor have that same quality any note against any chord.

My musically successful friends always say; if you can sing it or hum it, it is a hit.... If you just rip and tear, it might be impressive, but it ain't gonna sell big. And truthfully there are not many that can make more than a subsistence living playing jazz or avant guard unless you are in a big music city town.

Just my $.02. I want my music to be fun not a slave master....
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#2935434 - 06/30/18 11:03 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: desertbluesman]
DocPate Offline
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+1 DBM.

Simply put, Modes are made for soloing over chords. Each mode is able to play over a specific set of chords. If the chord is dominant, like a G7 or G9, you’d want to play the Mixolydian mode. If it is a minor chord, you can play the dorian, phrygian, or aeolian mode. As the chords get more complex, the mode choices go down.

Use the chart below to select the best mode for each chord. As Miles Davis said, "...play what you hear..."

I Major Ionian (Major Scale) Major, Major 7
II Minor Dorian Minor, Minor 7
III Minor Phrygian Minor, Minor 7
IV Major Lydian Major, Major 7
V Major Mixolydian Major, Dominant 7, Dominant 9
VI Minor Aeolian (Natural Minor Scale) Minor, Minor 7
VII Minor Locrian Diminished, Minor 7b5


Edited by DocPate (06/30/18 12:06 PM)

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#2935507 - 07/01/18 08:23 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: DocPate]
Lokair Offline
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Every one here is right, Modes are not a simple subject. They can and do mean many different things depending on how you use them, when you use them , or if you choose to use them at that moment.

My teacher has said "don't use modes as a rule, use them as an idea and you'll be fine".
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#2936486 - 07/06/18 10:36 AM Re: Use of modes [Re: DocPate]
d Offline
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Originally Posted By: DocPate
+1 DBM.

Simply put, Modes are made for soloing over chords. Each mode is able to play over a specific set of chords. If the chord is dominant, like a G7 or G9, you’d want to play the Mixolydian mode. If it is a minor chord, you can play the dorian, phrygian, or aeolian mode. As the chords get more complex, the mode choices go down.

Use the chart below to select the best mode for each chord. As Miles Davis said, "...play what you hear..."

I Major Ionian (Major Scale) Major, Major 7
II Minor Dorian Minor, Minor 7
III Minor Phrygian Minor, Minor 7
IV Major Lydian Major, Major 7
V Major Mixolydian Major, Dominant 7, Dominant 9
VI Minor Aeolian (Natural Minor Scale) Minor, Minor 7
VII Minor Locrian Diminished, Minor 7b5

While technically correct, that's not the best way they're used, only the most conventional.
To reiterate, music theory is not the rules but the explanation for effects.
To extrapolate, notes should be employed for their expressive effect.
That comes down to each players communicative vision I suppose but it's improper to stifle another's potential under the guise of instruction.
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#2938449 - 07/18/18 02:39 PM Re: Use of modes [Re: d]
d Offline
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Before this one fades too far down (& since I seem to've stopped it w/my Dictatorial decree abt the "proper" use of modes, allow me to clarify.

The standard theory on their use is valid but it is only an explanation of their usual use.

I think it's best used as a way to learn how they sound in contexts but then, after getting that sense, one can & should also explore what happens when various significant scale tones are varied, whether by inclusion/exclusion; by pitch altering (as when certain notes in a blues tune benefit from bending or sliding into neighboring pitches more than others) or even by out-of-proper-context use.
That's when their deepest colors are revealed.
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