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I've assembled a Spreadsheet on Modes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by WillPlay4Food, Feb 27, 2004.


  1. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I've assembled a <100KB spreadsheet that I'd like people to check out. I've been trying to wrap my brain around scales and modes so I put this file together. I was hoping the theory gurus could take a look and make sure I have the technicalities correct?

    Also, is there any technique I can use to get this into my head and into my fingers? The 2nd tab in the spreadsheet contains 2 octave 5-string fingerings for F Major and its associated modes. The bottom half of the 2nd tab contains graphics that show differences between the F Major scale and the modes (1 for each mode).

    I'm going to start practicing but I was hoping there was some method other than rote to get this into my head. Does anyone have any ideas?






    Bueller? . . . Bueller? :D
     
  2. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Your linkified thread doesn't deal with modes per se, I'm really looking at it from a mode aspect. I know there have been other mode threads as well, but none that explicitly spells out the modes for each scale. That's why I started a new thread.

    I agonized over starting a new thread on this subject, but I didn't want the regulars and theory pimps to overlook it because they've already waded into those other threads.

    Also, if the spreadsheet I made is accurate, I'm hoping that other people interested in learning modes may actually find it to be useful.

    So, thank you for the link, but believe me, I know how to use the search function. :)
     
  3. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I've figured out some more stuff about modes. For example, while figuring out what scales make up modes of another scale, I found a pattern emerged.

    Using C Major, the modes of this scale can be identified like so:
    Dorian is based on b7 of Major scale = Bb Major
    Phrygian is b6 of Major scale = Ab Major
    Lydian is 5 of Major scale = G Major
    Mixo-lydian is 4 of Major scale = F Major
    Aeolian is b3 of Major scale = Eb Major
    Locrian is b2 of Major scale = Db Major

    So, from a Major scale, you can derive the modes using b7,b6, 5, 4, b3, b2. If you notice, all the modes that create minor triads are based on bX of the scale while modes that create Major triads are the 5, 4 & Ionian modes.

    Another thing I noticed is how the intervals change between modes. We know the Major (Ionian) is made up of W-W-H-W-W-W-H, but what intervals do the mode use? I've put together a chart below:

    Code:
    Ionian      = W-W-[b]H[/b]-W-W-W-[b]H[/b]
    Dorian      = W-[b]H[/b]-W-W-W-[b]H[/b]-W
    Phrygian    = [b]H[/b]-W-W-W-[b]H[/b]-W-W
    Lydian      = W-W-W-[b]H[/b]-W-W-[b]H[/b]
    Mixo-Lydian = W-W-[b]H[/b]-W-W-[b]H[/b]-W
    Aeolian     = W-[b]H[/b]-W-W-[b]H[/b]-W-W
    Locrian     = [b]H[/b]-W-W-[b]H[/b]-W-W-W
    
    The intervals rotate backwards one step as you go up each mode.
     
  4. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    What you're saying here isn't quite clear. Are you saying that C dorian is made up of the same notes as Bb major, C phrygian the same notes as Ab major, etc? If so, that's true.
     
  5. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Learning these intervals is IMO more important than the "modes of the key" approach. I think it's a mistake to get too heavily invested in the idea that modes are to be understood solely as derivatives of a major (or minor) key. (Not saying you're doing this, just putting up the warning flag.) Modes are tonalities in and of themselves, and they can be the basis for music without any necessary reference to standard major-minor tonality.

    To really understand the character of the modes and how they differ from each other, try playing them all from the same starting point: C ionian, C lydian, C mixolydian, or whatever order you prefer.

    EDIT: Sorry, I couldn't open up your spreadsheet before and so was going just by what you put in your post. Now that I can open the spreadsheet, I see you're actually looking at the modes just the way I suggested. Cool. :bassist:
     
  6. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Yes, that's exactly what I was saying.
     
  7. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I'm not looking at modes as strictly a tweak of a Major scale. I'm trying to get the different modes into my head and I'm trying to find a way to learn them.

    I started by looking at the modes as "variations on a Major scale", and for the most part they are. Especially if you notice how how the intervals are related between modes (my chart).

    I do understand that the modes can live on their own as well. I've been trying to pick apart songs off G-n-R's Appetite For Destruction album and the songs are in different modes.

    I thought I could find an "easy" way to learn modes and that is why I started putting together the spreadsheet in my first post. I was hoping that by dumping it all onto the screen that patterns would emerge. There are definitely patterns, but I haven't figured out a way to use these patterns to my learning advantage. I haven't found any easy way to learn modes but by writing them down multiple times they are starting to stick. I've been practicing the scales and resulting modes using Pacman's practice method so I can learn the scales and the fretboard at the same time. Next I will practice these scales using the intervallic exercises from Adam Nitti's website. Hopefully I'll have the fretboard and my scales down solid within the next month. That's my goal anyway.
     
  8. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Cool, WillPlay, see the edit to my last post above. :cool:
     
  9. arcellus

    arcellus

    Feb 28, 2004
    Portland, OR
    if anyone is looking for an EXHAUSTIVE study of these and other theory topics, "The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine is one of the best. It contains a wealth of info on all aspects of theory. Although it's in a jazz context, it definately applies to all genres. It starts very basic (constructing major scales, modes, reading, etc.) and gets as advanced as you'd like. I use it as a textbook for all of my music students. It's easy to understand, and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
     
  10. Funkateer

    Funkateer

    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    Another happy Mark Levine theory book fan. Every serious bass player should own it.
     
  11. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I've updated the spreadsheet. I fixed some errors with modes of the F Major scale, and I've added a couple tabs.

    One of these tabs contain all the Major scales and accompanying modes. This tab has been set up to print out on one landscape page. I've been using it to practice scales / modes.

    If you can't read Excel spreadsheet files, I used it to create a webpage of the modes. This page can be found here.
     
  12. atldeadhead

    atldeadhead

    Jun 17, 2002
    Georgia
    WillPlay,

    I just wanted to say thanks for all your hard work. I've been mulling over and digesting the information contained in that excel file for the past few days. It makes for a very nice practice routine. Good stuff.

    --Scott
     
  13. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Thanks, atldeadhead! You've made my day! I'm glad to see someone will actually use this. :)

    I've got an off topic question for ya, you don't happen to have any shows from Long Beach Arena in 12/88 or Laguna Seca Speedway 7/29 - 31/ 1988? I know some online places to grab concert files, but I've never found any for these dates.
     
  14. atldeadhead

    atldeadhead

    Jun 17, 2002
    Georgia
    Unfortunately I don't have any shows from the late eighties. Mostly late sixties and seventies stuff. You might want to check out www.philzone.com. Go to the discussion forums and look at the "Audio Vines & Trees only" and the "SHN only" forums. You might have some luck there.
     
  15. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    just-a-bump to keep from going to page 2.
     
  16. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    In case anyone wants to look at this spreadsheet but doesn't have Excel, you can download and Excel file viewer here.
     
  17. GooseYArd

    GooseYArd Guest

    May 15, 2003
    I think you will have better luck if you approach knowing the modes by knowing their relative keys. You will almost certainly not be able to memorize all the material on that spreadsheet, but you need a way of synthesizing the information quickly.

    Say you are playing a chart with a Bbm7. You choose Bb dorian. You could either try to remember that this i Bb major (Bb c d eb f g a) with a flat 3rd and flat 7 (in your head you make the d and a flat), but thats a lot of thinking to have to do. I've found its a lot easier just to think of dorian relative to its related major scale. If I see Bbm7 I think of the Abmajor scale, and because the circle of fifths is much easier to memorize than the steps or flatted notes in the modes, I know Abmajor has 4 flats, B E A D. So the rest of the notes in Bb dorian are natural.

    I have similar tricks for the other modes I encounter a lot in jazz, dorian, mixolydian, and locrian. The relative major key for these are all simple to remember, because dorian and locrian involve thinking up or down a step or half step, and mixolydian and lydian are easy because you already know the fourths and fifths. The ordinary minor (aeolian) scale doesn't really occur much in jazz so I don't remember the minor keys so well.

    When you know the circle of fifths, you can instantly name fourths and fifths, as well as the flats and sharps in the common major keys. The remaining modes are just a matter of remembering the thirds- if someone were to ask me to name the notes in D# phrygian, I think of the F A C E G B D circle, go down a major third (B), think of the circle of fifths for B (F C G D A are sharp) and then spell the scale.

    Just memorizing the scales is kind of hard, because unless you are exercising what you memorized, you will quickly forget it.

    If you are learning the modes for improvisation rather than composition, you will not be able to do all this mental arithmetic anyway, and it is much easier to learn the modes simply by getting your drum machine or aebersold CD to drone an appropriate chord for you, and just keep playing around with that scale until you have all the intervals in your head. It will become automatic when you practice that way.
     
  18. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    GooseYArd,

    Thanks for the input. I appreciate it.

    What I've been doing is practicing intervals alongside note names to get the mode shapes under my fingers.

    What I mean is, if I want to play a Dorian scale, I know there's a b3 & b7. So I'll sing 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 1 as I finger the scale to get the pattern under my fingers.

    I'm alternating that with singing the actual note names so I can get the fretboard notes into my head as well.

    I'm not in any kind of band or anything, I'm learning this in hopes of getting good enough to be in a band at some point in the next year. I was hoping nailing all the modes, getting fretboard notes down and learning the sounds of different intervals would help me with this goal.

    My next addition to my practice routine will be arpeggiating (is that a word?) all the 7 chords for all the scale tones for each mode of each scale, so I can really learn to hear the difference between different chords like CM7, C7, Cm7, Cm7b5 for example.
     
  19. GooseYArd

    GooseYArd Guest

    May 15, 2003