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Modes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by RoMeRz, Mar 2, 2006.


  1. RoMeRz

    RoMeRz

    Feb 13, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Been playing for a good 6 years now. Completely self taught, been meaning to get round to learning "music", and now that Ive finished Uni and dont have a job yet, I have a bit of time.

    Im just starting out - so sorry if i repeat things or contradtic myself.

    Scales - I understand how a scale is made, and how to figure scales, and from them - how to construct chords. What are modes exactly ?

    I know from a major scale you get your natural minor by changing a few things from whole notes to half notes etc and that kind of thing - are modes just the other versions of a scale from the major scale or what ?

    A simplified answer would be excellent - as I said im still learning so sorry if im a bit of a dum dum.
     
  2. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    Ok, here's the simplest answer I can give you. A mode is created by taking the a scale and choosing which scale degree to start at and going up all 7 degrees from that point.
    For example: if you take the C major scale and start on the 5th scale degree...you get G mixolydian ( G A B C D E F ).
     
  3. RoMeRz

    RoMeRz

    Feb 13, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    could you give me an example of the other ones too please, so I can compare with that ?
     
  4. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    For Cmaj scale:

    Ionian is if you start on the 1st of a major scale. CDEFGAB
    Dorian is if you start on the second note. DEFGABC
    Phrygian is if you start on of the 3rd. EFGABCD
    Lydian is if you start on the 4th. FGABCDE
    Mixolydian is if you start on the 5th. GABCDEF
    Aeolian is if you start on the 6th. ABCDEFG
    Locrian is if you start on the 7th. BCDEFGA

    The most common ones are the Ionian, the Mixolydian, then Dorian and the Aeolian.
     
  5. RoMeRz

    RoMeRz

    Feb 13, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Ah right I get it now :).

    How do I work them out for everything else ? The same way?
     
  6. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    IMO it's probably better in the long run, and maybe the short too, if if you study the modes in relation to a single starting point. That will give you a better idea of why and how they sound different from each other. When you take the "degrees of the major scale" approach, you get correct results (e.g., if you play the C major scale starting and ending on D, you do indeed get D dorian, as Jazzin' pointed out), but sometimes the concept is unclear because people feel, "Hey, I'm just playing all the same notes, so what's the difference?" If you're going to study modes, it's useful to get a sense of each mode as a characteristic sound of its own.

    Basically, modes/scales are just different sequences of half and whole steps from a specified starting point. So from G, the basic modes (there are a lot more if you want to dig into it further) would be as follows:

    G lydian: G A B C# D E F# G
    G ionian (major): G A B C D E F# G
    G mixolydian: G A B C D E F G
    G dorian: G A Bb C D E F G
    G aeolian (natural minor): G A Bb C D Eb F G
    G phrygian: G Ab Bb C D Eb F G
    G locrian: G Ab Bb C Db Eb F G

    If you play the modes this way, you'll really hear the differences.

    For more info, you can check the sticky threads at the top of this forum and/or do a search on "modes."
     
  7. RoMeRz

    RoMeRz

    Feb 13, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    So playing the modes of say a G, your going to end up playing G Major and G Minor, yes?

    I understand Richards more than Jazzin's.

    How come the C Major modes all start with different notes, but the G modes all start with G ? I would have thought no matter what mode it was, if it was G - it would need to start and end on G? Is it because Jazzin used a C Major rather than just a C ?
     
  8. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    The "C modes" *don't* all start with different notes, not really. Anything with a "C" in front of it is figured out with reference to C.

    What Jazzin' was telling you was that if you take a scale that most people are probably familiar with, the major scale, and start at different points, you get different sequences of half and whole steps, and thus different modes.

    Now here's the catch: the "dorian" that you get when you play the notes contained in a C scale in order from D to D is NOT a C dorian--it's a D dorian, because it's a distinct pattern of half and whole steps determined in reference to D. Similarly, the pattern you get when you use a C major scale but go from F to F is not C lydian, it's F lydian.

    Now here's the second catch. It's easy to get confused by terminology, because the various modes Jazzin' listed--C ionian, D dorian, E phrygian, F lydian, G mixolydian, A aeolian, B locrian--are sometimes collectively referred to as the "modes of the C major scale." The reason is that they can easily be generated from the C major scale, and this is how they are often introduced to learners. However, again, they are *not* C modes: D dorian is a D mode, E phrygian an E mode, etc.

    Here are the seven modes referenced to C:

    C lydian: C D E F# G A B C
    C ionian (major): C D E F G A B C
    C mixolydian: C D E F G A Bb C
    C dorian: C D Eb F G A Bb C
    C aeolian: C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
    C phrygian: C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C
    C locrian: C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C