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how do modes work, really?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ILLINOX, Jun 29, 2011.


  1. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    You can get the same info from Chord-tone studies...and it won't confuse you so much.
     
  2. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Montreal
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101

    To really know the harmonic function of a chord it needs at least 4 notes(1-3-5-7 or 6).

    In your case of C and A it is very Beatles btw and more often then not it implies some blues harmony which is another very interesting and vast subject.. Even if it is only triads, I suspect the A to sound like a A7. If you feel like it is two Major 7 chords then it could be consider like a symetric or parallel harmony and then you can play both chords as Lydian or a mix of Ionian and Lydian.
     
  3. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Wrong.
    Check up on music history before posting on modes, please.

    The major scale is (only) one of the classic modes (the Ionian).
    All modes are based on the diatonic system of the notes ABCDEFG. There is no real basic mode, but f there was, it would obviously be the Aeolian.
     
  4. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Modes are also a useful composition tool. If a piece is based on a mode, the bass player should know his business.
     
  5. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Magic, perhaps, but modes? All scales and chords you mention are built of the same notes ABCDEFG.

    Ehm… you did notice the option of starting a (the same) scale on various intervals, I hope.
     
  6. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    What kind of statue would you like, bronze or stone? Marble?
     
  7. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Excellent exercise.
     
  8. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    And once you got it (after say, five minutes?) try to play all modes starting on the same note :p

    (sorry JTE, I see now you already pointed this out)
     
  9. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    They did. Tempered tuning washed them away in a flood of chromaticness.

    It has already been mentioned that the modes are a diatonic system.

    Some posters some to have trouble understanding the meaning of 'diatonic'.

    Since chromatic music is non-diatonic, it cannot be modal.
     
  10. Actually, not so. Functional harmony is taught perfectly well starting with triads, and has been for centuries. Certainly 7ths and 6ths can add useful info, but they aren't necessary for defining function.
     
  11. As a practical example of modality, here's an Irish traditional tune. I used to play a version of this tune years ago in a Celtic band. Musicians often play these kinds of tunes slightly differently, depending on who the are, where they come from, and whom they learned the tune from (which is why you'll see some differences in detail and nuance in different transcriptions), but this is a pretty representative version as far as I can tell. As they fiddler points out, it starts out in A dorian and then slips briefly into A major (actually, I'd say A mixolydian, because I didn't hear any G# in there). The note set he's working from is A B C D E F# G, with A clearly the tonal center. The appearance of the C# in one of the later parts signals a momentary shift to A mixolydian.

    YouTube - ‪Irish Fiddle Lessons - Farewell To Ireland - Ian Walsh‬‏
     
  12. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    For me, a mode must have a clear tonic - I or i (or even iº).

    In the example I posted, the clear tonic is F# and the mode is Phrygian.

    When I hear that one is to match a so-called mode to a chord, then a different mode to the next chord, these are NOT modes in the traditional sense. This seems to be the way jazz improvisation is taught - bad teaching technique and is misinformation at best. No great soloist/improviser can be thinking this way.

    As far as labeling/assigning pitch-collections/scales, I prefer to base them off of ONE scale (the scale of the tonic). If one really needs to give each pitch-collection/scale a separate name, refer to them as the Second Mode of the tonic scale, Fifth Mode of the tonic scale, etc.

    An example would be, using a iim7-V7-I chord progressing in C Major:

    Chord: iim7 (Dm7), Scale: 2nd Mode of C Major.
    Chord: V7 (G7), Scale: 5th Mode of C Major.
    Chord: I (C), Scale: 1st Mode of C Major.

    NOT Dorian followed by Mixolydian followed by Ionian. This is limiting, misleading and misinforming. And you WILL sound like you are running scales for each chord (i. e., college jazzbo solo).

    The example I used (many posts back that appears to not be loading anymore), is CLEARLY in F# Phrygian. The tonic is F#m (i). The phrase resolutions end on this F# Minor chord. The progression of the chords - all indicate F# Phrygian. The piece feels Phrygian.

    If I hear a D chord (VI in F# Phrygian), the scale (or better, a collection of pitches) is best labeled "the Sixth mode of F# Phrygian" - NOT "D Ionian".

    A lot of this doesn't apply if you are playing Blues or heavily chromatic music, but works well with music composed in a Mode.
     
  13. Billnc

    Billnc

    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    I agree with the rest of your post. But is this really how jazz is taught in colleges? I've only ever taken private lessons, from jazzers, and not one has mentioned modes for soloing. Always chord tones, approaches and substitutions etc.
     
  14. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    I think a good amount is. Good to hear you weren't subjected to it. Look at some of the previous posts and you'll see what I mean.

    You are correct (private lessons, from jazzers, and not one has mentioned modes for soloing. Always chord tones, approaches and substitutions etc.) that good soloists don't think this way of assigning a scale to each successive chord. It's cumbersome and you are not using your ear, rather your eyes or a page from your theory assignment.

    I also believe that a good soloist first starts with the melody then to variations, and "chord tones, approaches and substitutions", as you stated.
     
  15. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Oh I guess John Coltrane didn't know what he was doing afterall...thanks for setting us straight.
     
  16. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Want to clarify? I felt Coltrane knew what he was doing. Perhaps you have some insight you'd like to share?

    By the way, I CAN set you straight on this: it's after all - two words.

    I hope you don't spell chords the way you spell English words.

    :D
     
  17. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca

    Thanks for the grammar lesson, it comes much appreciated. I'm sure you well know how Coltrane approached and utilized modes in his playing.

    In case you don't or anyone else is curious, his modal approach changed his style, take a look at Kind of Blue. That's probably a good place to start and it's referenced almost everywhere you care to look regarding this.
     
  18. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    You are welcome for the spelling lesson - no charge.

    Did I say that Coltrane did NOT use modes? Or that the so-called modal tunes on Kinda Blue did not utilze modes?

    I don't have Coltrane's solo from So What in front of me, so I'll refrain from comment, but I can tell you that both Miles and Chambers did NOT only use D Dorian/Eb Dorian to draw their selection of notes on So What. But YOU probably already knew this. ;)

    What mode are they using in Freddie Freeloader?
     
  19. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
  20. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
    That's a trick question ;)

    My remarks are aimed at your qualifying statement of what a "good" soloist does. It might mislead some people away from otherwise exploring something that imho is very valuable.
     

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