struggling with modes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by dreadheadbass, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    hello everyone i've recently taken up teaching myself music theory and i'm struggling with modes

    ok i get how the order works i think (2nd note of the major scale is the dorian mode 3rd is the phrygian mode etc)
    ok thats great n all but everything i've found is in the key of C does this mean that the notes never change ( dorian mode is always played in D aeolian is always in A)

    or does it mean i can move it round for instance if i'm playing in the key of A can i use a B dorian mode or if i'm playing in D# do i use a F# dorian mode

    or am i wrong on boths cases? :confused:
  2. steverosati


    Apr 7, 2004
    city of Dis
    "does it mean i can move it round for instance if i'm playing in the key of A can i use a B dorian mode?"... yes, Dorian is a scale based of the second degree of the parent scale. so it will have the same #'s and b's as its parent.
  3. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    thankyou very much its been confusing the hell out of me (i'm really struggling with muso theory i've done everything by ear up till now)

    so if i'm playing in the key of F it would be

    I: F ionian
    II: G dorian
    III: A phrygian
    IV: A# lydian
    V: C mixolydian
    VI: D aeolian
  4. Messiah25


    Mar 10, 2007
    You've got it :)
    Back to woodshed :)

    Check this out, It might help:
  5. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    woo i got something right for once now i just need to figure out how it works in songs etc and i'm cooking with gas
  6. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    I'm no expert on modes, but I think key is a confusing term to use. I prefer to call it a 'tonal centre'. So if you're playing something based around 'A', you can change the mode to change the the colour and mood of the tune, although the modes you can use depend on the underlying chords.

    I don't know the theory completely, but say you have a 3 chord patter, there's a couple of modes to choose from that will fit with those chords, let's say A dorian and A mixolydian for arguements sake to illustrate they are both in the same tonal centre, but different notes. Likewise another chord pattern but still with the same tonal centre will force you to use another mode. The basic idea being they all have the same root note, but variations in the scale change the mood, and the chord progression tell you which modes are available.
  7. steverosati


    Apr 7, 2004
    city of Dis
    I: F ionian Vii E locrian
    II: G dorian
    III: A phrygian
    IV: Bb lydian
    V: C mixolydian
    VI: D aeolian
    still need to follow the key of the parent scale in this case it would be F major 1 flat Bb your modes here are diatonic.
    but you are on the right track.
  8. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Modes have chords and tonal colors associated with them. What you are talking about is more like treating modes as fingering patterns. Which is a use for them, but not what they are meant for.

    Major modes: Ionian, Lydian
    Minor modes: Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian
    Dominant: Mixolydian
    Half-diminished: Locrian

    That is most basic view. Key to modes is playing them against chords to hear the tonal colors they offer. Then you can choose which one you want for what sound. Learning modes has to be more about playing and listening than learns names in order and fingering patterns.

    Modes could be viewed a the Swiss Army Knife of music there are many ways to use them from improv to composition.
  9. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    No, not A# lydian, it has to be Bb. Every letter name gets used once, otherwise key signatures make no sense. This holds true for every diatonic mode, and every non-synthetic scale - you'll have some form of A B C D E F G. To give you an idea why Bb lydian is preferable, here is how you would spell both options.

    A# lydian: A# B# C## D## E# F# G## A#
    Bb lydian: Bb C D E F G A Bb

    Make sense?
  10. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Oh, NO!!!! - those messy enharmonics! ; }
  11. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Ionian = Major scale = R M2 M3 P4 P5 M6 M7
    Dorian = minor scale Major sixth = R M2 m3 P4 P5 M6 m7
    Phrygian = minor scale with a minor second = R m2 m3 P4 P5 m6 m7
    Lydian = Major scale with an Augmented fourth = R M2 M3 A4 P5 M6 M7
    Mixolydian = Major (actually called Dominant) scale with a minor seventh = R M2 M3 P4 P5 M6 m7
    Aeolian = Natural minor scale = R M2 m3 P4 P5 m6 m7
    Locrian = minor scale with a diminished fifth = R m2 m3 P4 d5 m6 m7
  12. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    correct i view most of the scales as a shape on the freboard if nothing else there helping keep my fingers in check and building dexterity i'm still going through the process of learning how to put which mode with which chord
    at the moment i just play my melodies and riffs by ear but i'd like to know what it is i'm actually doing in terms of scales and muso jargen so i can improv a little better