Examples of modal scales in songs?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by canopener, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    Ok, let me preface this post by saying I did do a search, and I did my own research on modes, I just have an additional question:
    Are ther any songs that show use of scales? I'm pretty much self-taught (I suppose you can call members of the TalkBass community my instructors ;) )...
    I've read the threads below about tying it all together, etc but I was just wondering what I could listen to to have a better understanding of their applications.
  2. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Hmm, every piece of music includes some sort of scale(s), usually rearranged or in sections.

    A scale is just a bunch of notes played in ascending or descending order of pitch. So a melody is really just a scale in a different order.

    The question is, how well do you know the major scale and modes?
    If you know it well you'll find that the vast majority of melodies, basslines and solos are in there somewhere!

    If you dont know your major scale well, read this article - link below - and practice until you do :)


  3. ClarkW


    Aug 1, 2003
    Provo, UT. USA
    Thou shalt buy the album "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis, and yea, thou shalt listen to it over and over, and thou shalt transcribe every solo that every instrument performs on every song, yea even twice maybe, and thou shalt study them, figuring out what key and what mode they are all in. And thou shalt not forget the bassline to every song, for a good bassline maketh a pleasing sound unto mine ears.

    Then thou shalt begin to practice them, until thou hast learned them all, note for note, and even until they permeate thy soul, and thy groove, and thy neighbor's soul, and thy neighbor's groove, until he say unto thee, "Lo! There goeth a man who doth both groove and solo with proficiency!" an he shall be edified in thee, and thee in he.

    For behold, even the simple-sounding "All Blues" is a lesson unto itself, sounding like a straightahead blues, but instead of employing a IV chord, uses a minor I chord and the Dorian mode, if memory doth serve me correctly. And it is totally sweet, yea, because the bass line stayeth the same between the dominant I chord, which is in Mixolydian mode, and the minor I chord, which is in Dorian mode. And yea, instead of a V-IV-I as thou wouldst hear in a normal blues, it uses an altered dominant V, maybe a D7#5#9 or something, then an altered dominant bVI, also a Eb7#5 or something, then back to the same altered dominant V before returning to the I. Verily, it doth leave thee wondering if it is written in G major or G minor, but mostly doth leave thee with a sense of awe at how good Miles Davis was, and also Paul Chambers and John Coltrane and Bill Evans and Cannonball Adderly and that drummer whose name doth always escape me, for lo! verily they did that whole album with one or two takes per song, and nobody but Miles had seen the music ere coming to the studio that day, which thing doth astound and amaze.
  4. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    ... the Lord himself spoketh through the human known as ClarkW, but no man understood a word he saideth, because he used overly complex examples and topped them off with "or something" - giving the reader less than the utmost confidence in what he was saying!



    But one thing he doth spoke that rang true amoung all men: Miles Davis kicketh arseth!
  5. HooBass


    May 27, 2003
    Great replies so far!

    Don't know how accessible/recognizable these tunes are but for me two examples have stuck to me since starting taking guitar lessons only a couple of months ago.

    Also, the examples I'm citing are restricted to guitar -- I suppose you were looking for bass examples but I think these illustrate the "emotive" impact of modes, which is how I have so far categorized and employed them.

    La Villa Strangiato (Rush) -- The "middle" bit with the "quiet" guitar solo is in Aeolian (A Minor). I suppose there are bazillions of examples of Aeolian, but I've always found it to be an especially emotive use of minor, and I like the way the bass & synth moves back and forth between A and F underneath, which fits naturally with A minor.

    Flying in a Blue Dream (Joe Satriani) -- Actually not sure of this as I've never tried playing it, but I think the bulk of his solo is in Lydian. Very flying and dreamy, indeed. There's another tune (one of the instrumentals on Momentary Lapse of Reason (Pink Floyd) that I'm pretty sure is Lydian.

  6. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Inactive

    Dec 11, 1999
    The original Mission Impossible theme has a Lydian b7 in the melody . COOL
  7. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    U2's "I Will Follow" (off Boy) uses E Mixolydian
  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    How about use of blues scales and mixolydian in, you guessed it, blues!

    A lot of reggae basslines use aeolian. Like 'bed's too big without you' by the police.

    ...and the very simple, but awesome bassline to 'walking on the moon' fits in the major scale.

    ...and the horn intro to 'sir duke' is a pretty clear use of scale tones.

    Like I said, I think if you know a whole bunch of scales you'll find most songs are made of one scale or another on pretty much every level. it's all just patterns in the end and whether your ears recognise them or not

  9. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    Thanks, guys, great replies! I feel enriched already...
    :bassist: ;)
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