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
Mixolydian <--- sugaree, FOTM, bertha, etc
Aeolian <--- natural minor
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