modes?

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modes?

Postby austinhumphrey » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:38 pm

through my research, i have heard a lot of different explanations of what modes are.i know this question gets asked all of the time but can somebody tell me what a mode is, maybe what it's used for and other important things. also how it is similar and how it differs from a scale. any information is greatly appreciated :)
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Re: modes?

Postby mkaufman » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:39 am

Best to give an example of the major modes:

Key of C-Major, scale is C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.

1st mode: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C (starting from 1st note of major scale) Ionian mode
2nd mode: D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D (starting from 2nd note of major scale) Dorian mode
3rd mode: E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E (starting from 3rd note of major scale) Phrygian mode
4th mode: F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F (starting from 4th note of major scale) Lydian mode
5th mode: G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G (starting from 5th note of major scale) Mixolydian mode
6th mode: A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A (starting from 6th note of major scale) Aeolian mode
7th mode: B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B (starting from 7th note of major scale) Locrian mode

All the modes have the same notes as the C-Major scale, they just start using a different note. Now, for each mode, using the 1st, 3rd, 5th (& 7th) notes, you'll form chords which are all related to the 1st mode chord. For example, using the 5th mode, the G major chord (G-B-D) is the V chord of the C major chord (C-E-G). If you were playing G/C/G chords, you can play a solo using notes from the 1st mode/5th mode/1st mode. In the end, they are all notes from the C-major scale.

There's lots more to discuss, but this is where to start.

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Re: modes?

Postby tcsned » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:51 am

Austin, there's a lot of ways to skin that cat. If you do a forum search and find several good threads on this topic. My take is: take te key of C major, C D E F G A B C - if you play the notes from C to C you are playing the first mode (ionian or the major scale). D to D is the second mode (dorian). E to E is the third mode (phrygian). F to F is the fourth mode (lydian). G to G is the fifth mode (mixolydian) . A to A is the sixth mode (aolian or the minor scale). And B to B is the seventh mode (locrian). This relationship is the same for every key signature must plug in the right notes from the key. This is the "what" of the modes.

There's the why. This is where opinions will vary. To me, it helps to find a good scale to play with. While the notes are really same notes just with a different start and end point, they have a different character or flavor. These scales lead to different start and end points that give them a different soubd tan simply adjusting to the key signature the song. Tkae the song I Know You Rider for instance, the basic structure is D / C / G / D. Sine the notes for this part of the song are really for te key signature of G major (one sharp) you could play a G major scale over this tune and you would be in safe territory. However, since the song revolves more around D (the fifth note in a G major scale) playing the D mixolydian scale would be a better match since it will lend itself to playing centered around the D notenot the G. This is something a lot of people do unconsciously, you may be doing this already but without the terminology. This is pretty simplified and takes some study and thinking to really get a grasp of the concepts.

I hope this helps
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Re: modes?

Postby tcsned » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:52 am

Oops! Mk beat me to it :-)
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Re: modes?

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:58 am

Here's how I look at them. Similar to what's said above, but in video format.

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Re: modes?

Postby austinhumphrey » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:27 pm

Thanks for the responses! i think i understand a little more, maybe i was over thinking it before. is it as simple as playing a major scale, just not starting on the root note? can you play through two octaves? also how does the key you're playing in relate to which note you choose to start on and which mode to pick?
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Re: modes?

Postby tcsned » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:50 pm

austinhumphrey wrote:Thanks for the responses! i think i understand a little more, maybe i was over thinking it before. is it as simple as playing a major scale, just not starting on the root note? can you play through two octaves? also how does the key you're playing in relate to which note you choose to start on and which mode to pick?

For me it's about resolution notes for phrases and how notes relate to the tonic. It really matters in the sense that playing a D major scale or a D mixolydian scale for a song like I Know You Rider is a big deal. Playing a G major or a D mixolydian is less of a big deal as long as you're conscious of the notes and how they relate to the chords etc. It's easy to overthink the concepts around modes. It is an important stepping stone to freeing yourself from being boxed in on the fretboard.
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Re: modes?

Postby Octal » Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:55 pm

A compositional concept for taking keys into chords. Here are a few random chord progressions:
C F G C:
C Ionian (C D E F G A B C)

Dm G Am Dm:
D Dorian (D E F G A B C D)

Dm F Bb C Dm
D Aeolian (D E F G A Bb C D)

G F#dim Am D7 B
G Ionian (G A B C D E F# G)

D Bm E A D
D Mixolydian (D E F# G# A B C#)

Each key, just like each scale, has a different feeling. C Ionian is the same notes as D Dorian, but they have different feelings and different resolving chords.
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