All about the mixolydian

All about the mixolydian

Postby Arminius » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:01 am

So when I found out that jerry dug the mixolydian mode, along with a couple others, and I began to dabble in them. I wanted to be able to do the heavily improvised and thick guitar solos (solo for lack of a better word, it is much more). I have tried to be neck deep in modes since, and succeeded at least in the practice area. The reason I am posting this is that I do not fully understand the theory.

From my point of view, I am very ignorant (i feel like there is so much more to do), because I just memorize and familiarize myself with, for example, the E Mixolydian starting point (as i already know the mixolydian patterns), and then play it over chords that are in the key of E. I feel belligerent not knowing. Is this bad to do? Also, is there any way for me to discover mixolydian scales in other key signatures now that I have memorized the mixolydian patterns? Is there a method to discover the starting point? Because if I know the starting point I can fill in the rest, since I know which patterns come after one another... right?

Any tips, or knowledge about modes (even if it is unrelated) is very welcome.
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby mgbills » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:53 am

There is a section off the "Home" page here called "The Think Tank Archives." Long ago, before my time on this Board, there was a member called Kenny. He wrote a great treatise on Modes, and how to use/apply them. This helped me a whole lot with the concept. Then some work with Diatonic 7th chords after really made sense.

Ultimately it's another tool for fretboard navigation. Like all things you'll learn more about it every day you apply it. It's much more than patterns. You'll eventually learn the best places to apply runs & chromatics within these modes. How pentatonics relate.

It's a never ending process but this helped me to get to a new place.
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby Tennessee Jedi » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:04 am

I dont think there is anything wrong with working scales as it will help with many things like technique / ear / learning the fretboard /etc.
Scales are just one aspect of Jerry's playing though and in many cases you cant just play one scale or the other
Eyes is a good example ; blaze through the intro with a straight major scale but that doesnt work over the chords during the solo - dag B minor chord :)

Whats helped me a lot is visualizing chord shapes around the neck
They will give you a place to start and end a solo - target notes to hit - maybe bring some composition to a solo - I hate when I get too " scaley " sounding :)

Watching Jerry - you can see he does this
Dont forget about the chords dude I guess is my advice
:smile:

Maybe look up the Caged System for some insight

Good luck
:-)
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby mgbills » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:10 am

And what TJ said! Absolutely!
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby TI4-1009 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:38 am

Tennessee Jedi wrote:Whats helped me a lot is visualizing chord shapes around the neck
They will give you a place to start and end a solo - target notes to hit - maybe bring some composition to a solo - I hate when I get too " scaley " sounding :)

Watching Jerry - you can see he does this
Dont forget about the chords dude I guess is my advice
:smile:

Maybe look up the Caged System for some insight

Good luck
:-)


+1 It was a real eye opener" for me to see how the Touch of Grey solo is all built out of the chord forms. I'm sure it's not the only one. It's like when the shape appears in the cloud.

http://www.rukind.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=272&t=5450

Thanks again to Pete B.!
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby Poor Peter » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:35 pm

Someone said it earlier...chord shapes. Or to take it a step further arpeggios. teach yourself to recognize the chord shape that fits "inside" of the pattern you are playing. You can play any chord in any position on the neck. G barre chord at the third fret, move it up a step and you have an A chord. So on and so on. That's how Jer seemingly never got lost. He always knew where "home" was. Noodle around and trust your ear. It will tell you if it's Ionian or dorian or whatever.
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby tcsned » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:11 pm

Yes - all of it. Chord shapes are important because they keep your mind focused on notes that are likely good melody notes. Scales are important to because they will help ground you similarly but to the tonality of the whole song (if it stays in one key). Arpeggios are good to, learning to effortlessly get through a couple of different major and minor chords, dominant and major 7s, maybe a good 6 or 9 even better a 6/9. I like looking more at key or keys and use the other stuff as ways to travel around. I think the main thing is to mix it up and don't get to settled on any one thing. It's easy to get into old stand by's instead of exploring spaces.

As a wise man once said, "never mistake a rut for a groove."
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby mgbills » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:26 pm

Here's a stepping stone to think about...
There is abundant GD material that you can jam out of A Mixo. This is a great stepping stone. Just realize that with each step, you'll be coming closer to how the Fat Man played. But if you want a stone that'll help you get into the grove and start improvising, patterns of modes will help.
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby paulkogut » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:16 pm

All good advice. I remember 30 or so years ago reading a Jerry interview, where he talks about finally being able to see the neck as a single entity. After a few decades of solid hard work, I can relate. Working on position patterns, seeing triad shapes/arpeggios are all good routes toward that goal. Another good perspective on a given mode is to check out playing up and down one string. Any mode or scale can be approached that way, but something like E Mixolydian has the built in advantage of a low string you can drone, to really get the sound of the mode in your ear. When you're sticking to one string, it's an opportunity to really zero in on how the left hand can function. How many notes can you cover before you change position? How do you change position? Do you stretch? Shift? Slide? There's a lot of amazing video on the Youtubes, you can really see up close how Jerry fingers things, but everyone is different, don't be afraid to check out different fingerings, positions, shifts and articulations that might feel natural to you.

I spent a lot of time over the years playing E mixolydian up and down on string, up and down 2 adjacent strings, up and down 2 non-adjacent strings. You can get really mathematical, try playing the scale in rigid patterns (3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, etc) or you can wander around freely, it's probably best to strike a balance. At the risk of shameless self promotion, I did a little solo guitar video inspired by the Dead Covers Project. A lot of my playing on Birdsong is drawn from being able to play E mixolydian up and down each string. Then I start to wander into jazzier territory, using alterations and substitutions brought into practice by cats like John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, but the E mixolydian is the foundation of it all.Hope some of this helps, best wishes for your music. PK

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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby Arminius » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:21 pm

paulkogut wrote:All good advice. I remember 30 or so years ago reading a Jerry interview, where he talks about finally being able to see the neck as a single entity. After a few decades of solid hard work, I can relate. Working on position patterns, seeing triad shapes/arpeggios are all good routes toward that goal. Another good perspective on a given mode is to check out playing up and down one string. Any mode or scale can be approached that way, but something like E Mixolydian has the built in advantage of a low string you can drone, to really get the sound of the mode in your ear. When you're sticking to one string, it's an opportunity to really zero in on how the left hand can function. How many notes can you cover before you change position? How do you change position? Do you stretch? Shift? Slide? There's a lot of amazing video on the Youtubes, you can really see up close how Jerry fingers things, but everyone is different, don't be afraid to check out different fingerings, positions, shifts and articulations that might feel natural to you.

I spent a lot of time over the years playing E mixolydian up and down on string, up and down 2 adjacent strings, up and down 2 non-adjacent strings. You can get really mathematical, try playing the scale in rigid patterns (3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, etc) or you can wander around freely, it's probably best to strike a balance. At the risk of shameless self promotion, I did a little solo guitar video inspired by the Dead Covers Project. A lot of my playing on Birdsong is drawn from being able to play E mixolydian up and down each string. Then I start to wander into jazzier territory, using alterations and substitutions brought into practice by cats like John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, but the E mixolydian is the foundation of it all.Hope some of this helps, best wishes for your music. PK



I like the video. You done good.
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby tatittle » Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:46 pm

Yeah that's important TCS, I gotta keep moving forward, learning new stuff, and exploring different sounds. The problem is moving forward keeps getting more difficult because the stuff to learn gets more complicated and challenging lol. But Ive already been through the master a certain style, get bored, and slowly stop playing,; and I don't want to miss out on the joy of playing fresh stuff or improving anymore. Life is short you know.

One of the places I find modes helpful is in non-diatonic chords, it really brings the harmony out to follow the changes with the scale used. This is the case with the common I7-IV7-V7 progression:
I7: I Mixo; IV: IV Mixo V7: V Mixo .

Or a good Dead cover to practice this is Big River, where a new mode is played over every chord I believe.

Major sounding modes: Mixolydian, Lydian
Minor sounding modes: Dorian, Phrygian, *Locrian (diminished chords)
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby tatittle » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:46 pm

I have a lot more success on the fly improvising visualizing the triad (or extentions) shapes than trying to think about scale changes. This seems to be how Jerry dealt with this stuff a lot of the time too. Whenever I start thinking about scales (when changing in fairly quick succession) I freeze up or get confused...the triads are a more comfortable home for me. Developing the ability to walk chromatically into a harmony note of the next chord/scale change is something I want to improve on. Jerry did that so well, saying so much within a very small range of notes....hitting the note when it really says something rather than speeding around through scales.
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby TI4-1009 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:08 am

This is a bit dense, but I bumped into it doing a Wiki search for Gregorian chant (being an old ex-Catholic... :-) ). Who knew Gregorian chant would get me to mixolydian?

Gregorian chant was categorized into eight modes, influenced by the eightfold division of Byzantine chants called the oktoechos.[34] Each mode is distinguished by its final, dominant, and ambitus. The final is the ending note, which is usually an important note in the overall structure of the melody. The dominant is a secondary pitch that usually serves as a reciting tone in the melody. Ambitus refers to the range of pitches used in the melody. Melodies whose final is in the middle of the ambitus, or which have only a limited ambitus, are categorized as plagal, while melodies whose final is in the lower end of the ambitus and have a range of over five or six notes are categorized as authentic. Although corresponding plagal and authentic modes have the same final, they have different dominants.[35]

The existent pseudo-Greek names of the modes, rarely used in medieval times, derive from a misunderstanding of the Ancient Greek modes; the prefix "Hypo-" (under, Gr.) indicates a plagal mode, where the melody moves below the final. In contemporary Latin manuscripts the modes are simply called Protus authentus /plagalis, Deuterus, Tritus and Tetrardus: the 1st mode, authentic or plagal, the 2nd mode etc. In the Roman Chantbooks the modes are indicated by Roman numerals.

Modes 1 and 2 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on D, sometimes called Dorian and Hypodorian.
Modes 3 and 4 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on E, sometimes called Phrygian and Hypophrygian.
Modes 5 and 6 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on F, sometimes called Lydian and Hypolydian.
Modes 7 and 8 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on G, sometimes called Mixolydian and Hypomixolydian.

Although the modes with melodies ending on A, B, and C are sometimes referred to as Aeolian, Locrian, and Ionian, these are not considered distinct modes and are treated as transpositions of whichever mode uses the same set of hexachords. The actual pitch of the Gregorian chant is not fixed, so the piece can be sung in whichever range is most comfortable.
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby tatittle » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:19 pm

I had long suspected the Mixolydian mode could be a means to growing in holiness; thanks for confirming that :)
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Re: All about the mixolydian

Postby haydukej » Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:23 pm

For what little it might be worth, I was happy to discover that CCRs Down on the Corner main riff is of the mixolydian scale. I'm just trying to get into theory and better understanding of the guitar so this was one of those "ah-ha" moments and got me thinking about the scale in a different way.

My 0.02, and I appreciate the other, more in-depth comments.
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