Modes and Scales, Scales and Modes, Modes and....

Modes and Scales, Scales and Modes, Modes and....

Postby sarraqum » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:15 am

....pah! I've been running in circles for months. Modes aren't exactly scales but they are related to scales and look like scales and scales are made from modes and vice versa. So what it the difference?

Many guitar sites refer to modes as "soloist's secret weapon" and I've spent ages trying to figure out the "truth" behind the damn things but the only conclusion I came to is that modes are scales starting from the different root note. So is that it?

If it is then what's the big deal about modes? If it's not then what am I missing?

P.S. I am not a retard, I can play quite well and know my music theory, its just these damn modes.
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Postby lostsailor8782 » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:26 am

well by starting at different root notes you have different intervals in different places ... the easiest mode to grasp in mixolydian ... Jerry used it ALOT !! take your major scale, lets say g major,

G A B C D E F# G FALTTEN THE 7th tone a half step which makes it F ... now if you look at it another way you are now playing a c major scale over the key of G .... does that make any sense to you ... if you play alot you have probably touched on alot of modal playing and don't even realize it ... I learned alot about theory and scales and so forth and now I have just put them in the back of my mind and I trust my ear ... if you play a line over some music your ear will tell you REALLY quick what sounds right and what doesn't ... take chances and remember the ones that pay off !!!!!!
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Postby jackr » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:27 am

yes modes are scales that start on a different note. I will keep it simple here.

Key of C major - C D E F G A B C
C Mixolodian - C D E F G A Bb C

So notice that the C Mixolodian is the same notes as F Major but starts on a C. Therefore you can use your F Major Scale pattern that you already know but make the root C.

Why would you want to use that?

Lets say you are playing blues and you are playing a C7 Chord. C E G Bb (C7 not Cmaj7)

Wouldn't it make more sense to use the Mixolodian mode since it has the flat 7th?

That same thinking applies to all the other modes as well.

I dont want to get too far into it but that is the basic thinking as I understand it.
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Postby sarraqum » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:42 am

Well you see, this is where my problem lies. Flattening the 7th turns C major into Mixolydian....mixolydian what? Mode? It may sound silly but it flattening the 7th also turns it into a D Phrygian scale as well as E Lydian, etc. Why refer to them as modes rather than just calling them scales?
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Postby jackr » Thu Aug 23, 2007 11:24 am

That is just symantics. You can call them what you like but technically they are modes of a major scale.

So a D Dorian would be D E F G A B C D. As you can see it is really part of a C major Scale. To make more sense of it gramatically you can think of it instead of the word "mode" you can use "modification"

It is a C major scale that has been modified to have the root on D.

There are also modes of minor and other scales.

I know my scales and modes and arpeggios, i am just trying to figure out when to use what to make it sound most interesting.
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Postby jackr » Thu Aug 23, 2007 11:28 am

sarraqum wrote:WFlattening the 7th turns C major into Mixolydian....mixolydian what? Mode?


It turns it into a C Mixolodian. No need to put the word Mode after it.

C Mixolodian = F major scale with the root on C.

Here is a great and not expensive book on it.

http://www.amazon.com/Scales-Modes-Begi ... 639&sr=1-3
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Postby sarraqum » Thu Aug 23, 2007 12:17 pm

Haha, thanks for your help. I simply thought there is something more to modes than that.

Now that it's all been cleared up, why do people supposedly struggle with modes?

http://www.zentao.com/guitar/theory/

This site is recommended by strummingsix, it's very good don't get me wrong but the caption for "modes" section says, The lead guitar player's secret weapon. Everybody talks about modes, but few understand what they are or how to use them.

It's just scales man, no need to put such emphasis on the apparent mystery of the subject.
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Postby XxRouninxX » Thu Aug 23, 2007 6:49 pm

everything in music is relationships. On the most basic level is vibrational, harmonic and melodic, relationships.

one of the most fundamental concepts in music is tonality. Typically a piece is centered around a certain tone (sorry for the kindergarten talk but im building up to something Wink So in a song such as Good Lovin, were obviously centered around the C. And the song itself is in C major because we are playing I IV V chords that are all major

modulation is just a change in tonality. So now we can look at the solo to good lovin to see how knowing our modes can enhance our soloing. Instead focusing on C throughout the whole song, focus on C over the C, F over the F and G over the G.

But heres where this mode stuff comes in. In theory (and creative practice) you can play C major scale over C, F major of F, and G major over G.

Instead, since the whole song tends to hit home on C, we will use all the notes in our C major scale, but change which ones we orient our solo around.

Below are the relationships of the modes to the major scale with the intervals in whole (w) and half (h) steps.

C major scale
C D E F G A B C
w w h w w w h

now we us all the same notes, but when the F comes along, we use this scale
C major scale, oriented aorund F (or F Lydian)
F G A B C D E F
w w w h w w h

likewise, when the G rolls around we can use this
C major scale, orented around G (G Mixolydian)
G A B C D E F G
w w h w w h w


So whats going on here with all this modulation? Well you can see we are using hte same 8 notes, but we are changing the relationships between then (the interval structure of our scale is changed.. the fact that we define our scales by the interval relationships between a tonic and its octave, this is how we get modes)

All of the modes are as follows
Ionian <----- this is the plain major scale
Dorian <----- jimmy page, santana
Phrygian
Lydian
Mixolydian <--- sugaree, FOTM, bertha, etc
Aeolian <--- natural minor
Locrian



So modes are more of a matter of application than anything. They are just that, a mode. Each mode is a different MOOD, and they are brought alive by how they are use over chords.

If you knwo your major scale, you know all of the modes. Typically its just a matter of understanding all the relationships so you can use them when you play.

another example then i gotta tab out browneyedwomen solo for a friend.

Fire on the Mountain. Beautiful example of why you should know your modes, and a great way to learn them (one of the songs that started bringing modes to life for me)

Okay okay,, the whole song is moving back and forth between B and A. B obviously feelins like homebase, but A is a decievingly strong suspended feeling.

First, i gotta show you this incase you dont know it.

If you make chords out of all the notes(or degrees, such as I-VII) in the major scale (harmonizing the major scale) you get this:
C major scale

DEG TRIADS SEVENTHS
I Cmaj Cmaj7
II Dmin Dmin7
III Emin Emin7
IV Fmaj Fmaj7
V Gmaj G7 (dominant7 ie:blues)
VI Amin Amin7
VII Bdim Bmin7b5


what do you see here? I IV and V chords are major (the five chord is a dominant seventh, which is more major sounding than minor)

So if you have two major chords a whole step away from eachother, theres a big chance that they are the IV and V chords of a key. Fire on the mountain has B to A. A is the IV chord and B is the V chord.

now if you look at the mode chart above, tonality on the Vth degree of the major scale is Mixolydian, where tonality on the IVth is lydian. So over the B your going to play B mixolydian, and over the A your going to play A lydian (same notes, just oriented in a different way).

thats all for now, my back hurts, hope i didn't confuse Wink
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Postby shakedown_04092 » Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:08 pm

lostsailor8782 wrote:now if you look at it another way you are now playing a c major scale over the key of G


Actually D major would be the Mixolydian mode of the key of G....but yeah, that's it.

But I think jackr got it right - at some point it becomes semantics. All modes are scales, but all scales aren't necessarily modes, I believe. For instance, I do not believe the Minor Pentatonic Scale is a mode, but a scale. Hell, I could be wrong, but that's how I look at it. Fuck it, they're all scales! There.

Lot of help I was......sorry.
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Postby d-v-s » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:57 am

Let me take a go at this one...

It gets confusing because most of us tend to think of music in the most basic form - the diatonic scale - which is a 7 note scale comprised of 5 whole-tone steps and 2 half-tone steps, where the half-tone steps are maximumly seperated. There are 7 modes that can be made from this scale because the spacing between the notes differs depending on which note is the tonic. example:
I ii iii IV V vi vii (ionic mode of diatonic scale)
w w h w w w h

i ii III IV v vi VII (dorian mode of diatonic scale)
w h w w w h w

you can see the differnce in the 2 modes shown here: wwhwwwh, whwwwhw

There are 7 variations in the diatonic scale, each with a differnt progression of whole-steps and half-steps.

To see the difference, let's look at the octatonic scale, which is a scale whose tones alternate whole-step, half-step, whole-step, half-step, etc.

example:
D diminshed scale: D, E, F, G, Ab, Bb, B, C#, D

i ii iii iv v vi vii viii
w h w h w h w h

ii iii iv v vi vii viii i
h w h w h w h w

iii iv v vi vii viii i ii
w h w h w h w h

You see how there are basically only 2 vartions, whwhwhwh and hwhwhwhw. Basically,you just end up with 2 modes to the octatonic scale, one that starts with a whole-step, and one that starts with a half-step.

To summarize, the scale is the group of notes you are going to play. the modes are the variations of whole-step/half-step movements that you see within the scale by starting your scale on differnt notes (the ii instead of the I, for example).
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Postby Pete B. » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:21 am

One thing that helped me out with Modes, was the "CAGED" concept.

This link will take you through each form:
http://www.cyberfret.com/scales/major-caged/index.php

Anyway, this overlays with the Mode method, but I think for many Jerry players, it will make Jerry style soloing easier to learn, as it ties in the chord forms with the scale forms for each position, which is a big part of Jerry's playing (incorporating chord shapes for appegiating with scales that lie in the same place).

I know they call it "CAGED" but I find it easier to think of it as "EDCAG", which isn't a word, but makes more sence to me when soloing up and down the neck from some given root Key.
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