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Practical exercises based on the Modes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Groove Master, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    Here is an idea I came up with while discussing Modes on an other thread here.To discuss Modes on a forum like this is not easy due to the lack of practical examples most of the time.

    I just thought of a little exercice to get your hands and ears ready to discover the sound of modes on the bass and actually to have a lot of fun with in all sort of aspects.

    This will imply a bass well-tuned and play some upper register power chords like this E5=E and B while letting ring the open E string. These should be played on the D and G string preferably higher then the 11th or 12th fret. Like E5 will be played like E on the 14 and B on 16. Also for some Fender style bass where the register doesn't allow to go high, the notes that form the power can be reversed as a fourth interval like this for G5: instead of playing the chord at 17-19 you can play it at the 12th fret and invert the two notes G on G string and D just on the string below at the same fret.

    So here we go, I will notate the chord and the mode and the relative major scale from what each mode is based on and the 3 power chords that will help you hear the sound of each mode with an E root. The bold power chord is the one that defines the chord. So stay longer on that one, the other ones are there to add the notes that define the mode. Clear?

    E Maj7 Ionian.......E maj scale.......G#5-F#5-A5

    Emin7 Dorian.......D Maj scale.......G5-A5-F#5

    Emin7 Phrygian.....C Maj scale.......G5-E5-F5

    Emaj7 Lydian........B Maj scale.......G#5-F#5-D#5

    E7.....Mixolydian....A Maj scale......D flat5-D5-F#5 ***play the tritone like this D-G# if you want to get the full effect of the mixolydian sound.

    Emin7..Aeolian......G Maj scale .....G5-B5-C5


    You can alternate those 3 power chords anyway you want within the same mode to jam with. You can add other ones that fit the scale also if needed.

    This is practical stuff because you will hear the difference between the sound of each mode while having the same root for the chords.

    There are 3 things you can do with this:

    1) Play the exercise like I just demonstrate.

    2) Try to record the 3 power chords on your bass with a computer or a looper or even better with MIDI tracks so that you can change tempo as you want. make a nice rhythm with emphasize on the bold chord. Then improvise a bassline from the mode and the chord. Make it groove!

    3) Try to record a long E note along with the sequence of power chords and then improvise from the mode or the related major scale.

    Have fun!!
  2. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    You keep making the mistake that a given Mode - such as E Dorian comes from a D Major scale.


    E Dorian does not come from D Major anymore than E Dorian comes from C# Locrian.

    The series of notes: E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E, when related to D Major, is simply a "D Major scale starting on E".

    Modes exist exclusively, not as a reordering of the notes of a given Major scale.
  3. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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

    Please step aside dude you will make a fool of yourself......again.

    I don't care what and how you think about modes because you are ridiculous with your stubberness about it.

    When real musicians play a IImin7 that function as a 2nd degree in a key center or in a major tonality, they relate it to Dorian which is xmin13 chord.

    Start your own thread if you want us to know your "philosophy" about modes and we can all learn from it or laugh at it !!!
  4. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Dude? :eek:

    A bit of hostility creeping in to your dribble? :rollno:

    You are confused about Modes, my good man. I'm not laughing at you. Simply presenting factual information, not misinformed teaching techniques.

    And, no "real musicians" do not equate a iim13 with a Dorian. Misinformed ones may (not to mention any names, here).

    By the way, how does "Bb5-A5-G5" come close to establishing E Locrian Mode anymore than Bb Lydian? Please, explain All-Knowing-Real-One.
  5. Let's play nice. You two do not agree, face it and move on.
  6. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    You are right. I'm done with him.
  7. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    What? you don't know the tritone relationship?

    Like I said before, respect my point of view and how many pro musicians deal with modes and try to learn something from it, if not, start your own thread.

    Very simple ! Or stay away from it.
  8. Groove Master

    Groove Master

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

    It's about time!
  9. pringlw


    Nov 22, 2008
    Seattle Area

    Honestly I don't really understand your point.

    "Major" is just a cool name that we give to the most popular of modes - Ionian. But in the end it is simply one of the modes.

    E, F# etc - is indeed E Dorean.

    Perhaps what you are saying is; if you are playing a piece of music in D major, and you decide to use a E Dorean finger pattern - you should be thinking "D Major" and not "E Dorean" because that's what the song is playing. If that's your point, that's true. In that context, the finger pattern doesn't matter. You need to stay aware of what the root, third, etc is for the key you are playing in. If you are using a different finger pattern - that doesn't mean you can ignore the real key.

    Sometimes I use mode finger patterns just for convenience as I move up and down the fingerboard. But if a song is in D major - whether my finger pattern is Lydian, Phyrigian etc - I need to think "D Major". It doesn't mean I need to keep coming back to the D root all the time (that can be boring). But I'm simply using mode finger patterns for convenience.

    If you are saying that E, F# etc is not E Dorean - well.. you're wrong it is.

    I'm not sure I want to jump into this - I just don't really understand your point.
  10. trayner1


    Jul 1, 2010
    La Jolla,CA
    MODES 101

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but a mode is just a shifting over of a given major scale. To get a better feel for it, go on a piano and play a C major scale, which is only white keys. If you start on D and play D-D on just white keys, it's not the Whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half successive interval relationship of every major scale, but rather shifted over one; therefore, that D-E-F-G-A-B-C without the F and C sharped makes it C Dorian, not D major (or, more specifically D ionian).
    Here's the interval relationship for each mode:
    Ionian: WWHWWWH
    Dorian: WHWWWHW
    Phrygian: HWWWHWW
    Lydian: WWWHWWH
    Mixolydian: WWHWWHW
    Aeolian: WHWWHWW*
    Locrian: HWWHWWW

    *The Aeolian mode will actually be the relative minor of the root scale, too.
  11. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    Yes that is how you'll find out the different construction of them. By doing so, you actually starting to understand their degrees within a key. Degrees that a big load of music is composed on. Millions of tunes probably. So having a song based on C-Amin-Dmin-G7-Emin etc... is actually analysed as a I-VI-II-V-III in the key of C Maj which means that you can assign each chord to its own scale or mode from the scale of C.

    Why I think it is imperative for bass players to have a basic understanding of the modes is the fact that 3 minor 7 chords are found in a major key and 3 maj triads and 2 Maj7 chords. Each one of them will have their own set of intervals and more important their own extensions!!!

    For example a Dorian mode can have the whole 7 notes in its chord with the form of Dmin7, Dmin9, Dmin11 and Dmin13. There are no other minor modes from the major scale that can have that without having avoid notes that create dissonance. The Phrygian mode cannot have the 9 in the chord without dissonnace, but can have the 11 but not the 13. The Aeolian will have the 9 and the 11 but not the 13 without dissonance. Knowing the "hidden" extensions and the avoid notes is a big asset for any musicians.

    Each mode has its own caractheristic note that make it different from the other ones that share the same kind of 4parts arpeggio. For a bass player, knowing these things helps to support the harmony in a strong and definitive way. That doesn't mean we have to stick to the scales or chord tones but knowing how to integrate passing-tones and chromatism while keeping the sound and functions of the chords is an art by itself and the study of modes and how to apply them is really important to my eyes and my ears,

    Hope this helps,
  12. kr0n


    Feb 4, 2009
    It's just another scale which can be used as you please...
  13. dtiii


    Apr 22, 2009
    Commonalities in music are important not only to recognize but to identify. They may very well become the unifying element within a piece or work. Considering that the major scale makes up half of the pillar of our tonal system we use it as a referential collection of pitches. To say that there is no connection between a D major scale and the notes that make up the E Dorian mode is not only incorrect, but IMO inane. They come from the same pitch collection. Should they be treated as the same structure? No. Each has its own note of centricity and the respective structure (scale) follows from that point, BUT THEY ARE RELATED.

    Bottom line... it doesn't matter what you are thinking if what you are playing sounds good. GrooveMaster not only sounds good, he also has a career that backs up his words. I choose to listen to 'how he thinks about the music.' I respect what he has regardless of whether or not I agree with it. That goes for any other player regardless of level, especially if they have made a career for themselves out of music. One of the most important things that I have learned along the way is that I can learn from anyone as long as I am willing to listen.
  14. Thank you, every thread with "modes" in the title turns into an argument, and I've never understood why. It seems pretty simple to me. I think the confusion comes in because of how they're initially explained as derivatives from the major scale. The natural minor scale is just as much of a mode (aeolian) as the natural major scale (ionian) and the dorian mode and so forth.
  15. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    What you stated at first is what I meant.

    The series of notes: E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E would be Dorian if the Tonic chord (i) is Em (E, G, B) - the Home chord of E Dorian. If the Em (E, G, B) is the ii chord in D Major/Ionian, it's not E Dorian.

    However, everyone is free to think any way they choose. The goal is to make good music.

    Good observation about Ionian being the most popular of the Modes, also known as the Major scale - there was a time when it wasn't No. 1. But over time the other modes assumed less-liked status. The Aeolian Mode is probably No.2 - the other minor scales (melodic, harmonic) being derivatives.

    One can certainly think that way - I guess. However, there is no historic evidence of the Modes being derived from the Major scale. The Major scale (Ionian) is the Mode that has survived with the greatest popularity.

    I prefer to use the term that you have used: pitch collection - as I have in many past posts.

    E Major: || ii7 V7 | I || -- Pitch collection = The E Major scale. NOT, F# Dorian, B Mixolydian, E Ionian.
  16. strangemeadow


    Jan 7, 2012
    I'd love to hear some examples of your playing, oh Theory Terminology Police.
  17. you realize how many pro musicians, most of which are musicians people here actually have heard of, dont think of modes in these terms?
  18. Uncle Snake

    Uncle Snake

    Jan 1, 2010
  19. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    May be but why all the books about harmony,improvisation, theory,arranging, comping do use these terms if it is so wrong for you? Also, are they bass players? Soloing concepts is something else. Supporting the harmony as a bass player's role is another thing.
  20. so what books do you use as your source material.

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