Originally Posted by FretlessMainly
I don't think there's any need to memorize them. Rote memorization sucks the soul out of music, so just use them and assimilate how they sound to their name, and you'll eventually known them. There are only seven "church modes," as they are often called, so it's no big deal, really.
I seem to remember that the modes are names of towns or regions. Yep way back when. I'm going to speak in parallel mode talk. In Relative modes the notes stay the same and the key changes, i.e. you walk the key. This is easy to teach, and probably how you were first introduced to modes. In Parallel modes the notes change and the key stays the same. Little harder to understand, but, easy to play, i.e. if you want a Middle Eastern sound use the natural minor scale and flat the 2; that gives you the Phrygian mode and with the correct vamp chords to play over
this gives that Middle Eastern sound. The chords you play over contribute as much to the overall sound as the notes themselves. The following is all parallel. May be a paradigm shift for you.
Ionian is the same notes as the major scale. R-2-3-4-5-6-7. An up beat sound. If you want an up beat sound use the major scale, and forget about Ionian. Why do I say that, well, modes are moods of their scale
. Kinda hard to make a mode of the major scale itself. Accept that it is the major scale and use it as such.
Lydian is the major scale with a #4. R-2-3-#4-5-6-7. Change one note and you get the day dreamy sound of Lydian. Day dreamy is my name for it. It is so close to the major scale I seldom use Lydian, I just use the major scale instead.
Mixolydian is the major scale with a b7. R-2-3-4-5-6-b7. Works great with dominant seven chords in the Blues. It has a Latin sound when used over a modal vamp. Need a Latin sound, Mix is your mode.
OK that is the major modes, now for the minor modes.
Aeolian is the same notes as the natural minor scale. R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7. Notice it is the major scale with the 3, 6 & 7 flatted. It is said to have a sad sound. I do not hear sad, but it does sound minor. You name it. I seldom use Aeolian as a mode. Same reason I do not use Ionian. Accept it as the natural minor scale and use it as such.
Dorian is the natural minor notes with the b6 sharped to a natural 6. R-2-b3-4-5-6-b7. Gives an attractive minor sound. If I am going minor and going to use a mode Dorian will be my first choice.
Phrygian is the natural minor notes with a b2. R-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7. I hear Middle Eastern. Fun sound if you need something Middle Eastern.
Locrian is the diminished mode. R-b2-b3-4-b5-b6-b7. Or think of it as the natural minor notes with the 2 and 5 flatted. It has a dark and tense sound. Works well with a one chord modal vamp using the m7b5 chord as your vamp.
Now what often drops between the chairs; modes need a droning chord vamp for the modal sound to develop. A chord progression changes chords so fast the modal sound does not have time to develop, plus the chord progression will always call attention to it's tonal center - not the signature sound of the mode. Put another way; scales resolve with a V-I cadence. Modal harmony needs to drone on with the signature sound. This is achieved by sustaining the modal sound with the use of a one or two chord modal vamp. Long story............ Scales work best over a V-I cadence that resolves to the tonal center of the progression. Modes work best with a modal vamp or droning so the modal sound can be heard. Do a Google on Modal vamps. Check this out, yes it does not resolve it sustains. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m37y2mltNNI
Once you hear that modal vamp drone, how to use modes become clear - the mystery goes away.
IMO As a new bass player modes will waste a lot of your time. Modes are for the lead guitar guys. Course that is just my opinion. We all seem to go off on modes --- and waste a lot of time before realizing we play chord tones to the beat of the song. Root on one and hope for a groove.
But, since you asked......