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 Post subject: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:31 pm 
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Hi Guys

I know the topic modes comes up a lot but I'm not looking to learn the basics of how they work, now I'm wanting to know how to use them properly over any progression.

I have a moderate knowledge of how they work but when I put it into practice I can never seem to play them right. My dorian will sound 'doriany' but the order I put the notes in sounds kind of lame. So maybe my question is how do I correct my phrasing when playing modes. I've been experimenting with modes on and off for years but when I use them, yeh they sound like how they are supposed to sound but the runs I do are really lame and just sounds like I'm playing the scale.

Also I know to play like D Dorian I start and end the riff on D, but sometimes I accidentally end it on different notes too and sometimes they fit/sound right... I've been playing modes on and off for years and I always feel like I finally understand them then something will come along and bam I'm thoroughly confused again.

Any advice would be appreciated, if you need more explanation of what I'm after just let me know and I'll try to explain further.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:22 am 
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It's a hard question to answer.

Anyway, to get a specific mode not only to sound right, but to serve you well, I think I would try to analyze songs that I like that use that particular mode.

Like Flying in a Blue Dream for lydian, or The Boy From Seattle for mixolydian, etc. and see what's really bringing it to life.

I think I would also try to stay away from playing the entire scale and gravitate more on the notes (or patterns of notes) that make that mode sound like itself, using different techniques like arpeggios, hammer-ons/pull-offs, or trills. It seems to me that a lot of great players develop certain phrases and then apply them to various keys. Paul Gilbert comes to mind. I read a few very recent articles by Paul on Premier Guitar, and in one of them he was teaching the same phrase that he used to teach 20 years ago, but was giving it new life and making it easier to understand. I think if you come up with a nice phrase or lick first, then you can "translate" it into the various modes.

Rob Balducci makes a few interesting points here - I don't know whether you like his style, but pay attention to what he plays:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8cVQ9hlsRk&t=1m43s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJBv-_14lz8


Joe Satriani (see what he plays, it's not scales):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE0qLKHnflo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci2h5hgBgCM


Dave Weiner did a few episodes on modes years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_RtFdlTsHw

I also think that when you're improvising, you can't be thinking of theory and note relationships. You have to sort of forget that, and notes should come out spontaneously. I know it's easier said than done, it takes a lot of practice.

I guess maybe you've already seen these videos, but anyway I hope this helps you.


Last edited by Samuele on Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:07 am 
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there is no such thing as the right way or the wrong way to play any scale or mode,a mode is really a scale that fits certain chord types ie dorian,-7,-9,-11,-13.(- minor)
lydian maj7,maj9,maj7sharp11,maj9sharp11 etc.
phrasing is one of the hardest things to practise as you seem to run out of ideas quickly and do the same thing,this is where practise comes in and hard work,but learn as much about timing as possible(be able to play 1/8ths,1/16ths,triplets etc)and always use a metronome or drum machine.
also try playing/recording a progression of 4 chords applicable to the mode you are practising,ie d maj7sharp11,fmaj7sharp11,g sharp maj7sharp11,b maj7sharp11(loop this progression) and play the appropriate lydian scale over each chord.

(check out part of blue powder, bflat/aflat(aflat maj13sharp11), dflat/cflat(cflat maj13sharp11), e/d(d13 majsharp11) section, bar 16 onwards as an idea
.you should also learn about super imposing arpeggios over a chord type.

just a few ideas.

sorry if some of the chords look complicated the computer keypad does not have the correct symbols for sharp/flats etc.


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:22 am 
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What I do, and this seems to do the trick, is when playing tightly in one particular mode, I make sure I rest and 'articulate' on the tonic/fifth/third more frequently than the other notes of the mode and use motifs that utilise the intervals that give the particular mode I'm using, its particular flavour. It seems to sound pretty authentic! Does that make any sense?


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:46 am 
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It does, and it's similar to what I was saying before, that is do not always play the entire scale up and down but rather gravitate more on the notes that make that mode sound like itself. I think a good chord progression also helps bringing out the colors/flavors you're trying to convey.


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:04 am 
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yeh that's what I do, gravitate toward the notes and intervals that gives the mode it's sound, I think like Mixolydian and Ionian scales have only 1 note difference so you kind of have to. What I've never really experimented with is changing the 'base' scale that I'm using. So say if the song is in the key Em, I'll use the G scale the entire way through regardless of the chord progression (unless it sounds funny, usually I can get away with it), so if the progression is like Em Am Bm, I really end up playing E Aeolian, A Dorian and B Phrygian even though I'm just noodling around in the G scale and thinking Em. Never really thought of changing the base scale over 1 or more chords in the progression, so maybe I could do E Aeolian, A Aeolian and B Phrygian or something to get a different overall sound.

I'm still very much a box player, so I like finding a good pentatonic box shape so I know where my 'safe' notes are, I guess that's also something I need to break the habit of. I think it also comes down to mind and mechanical synchronization too. Like if I listen to a progression and play the solo in my head I have good phrasing but when it comes to making the mechanical movements of my fingers on the guitar my brain just gives up and I sort of go on auto pilot... just thinking I want to go up or down in pitch lol. Need to practice hearing the phrase in my head and little ahead of time and try to output it through my fingers lol.

Thanks all for the tips and vids, I've seen the satriani and weiner ones before but the balducci ones had alot of good tips too.


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:03 pm 
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Modes can also be used to name your children I have seen around the world :)

Locrian was the odd ball.


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:57 pm 
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here's my question for all the people above and guitarists out there...

WHY, do you want to use the modes?


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:10 am 
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Jeries wrote:
here's my question for all the people above and guitarists out there...

WHY, do you want to use the modes?

I guess guitarists who want to use the modes are the ones that like to deviate from things everyone has already heard (pentatonics, common major/minor scales, at least in the western world). They look for ways to add different flavors to their playing, to sound more sophisticated or exotic, so sooner or later they end up hearing or reading about "the modes". I guess a sense of mystery plays a certain role in here, too - you get exited more easily about things that you don't know yet. We believe employing the modes will make it easier to reach the goal above, so we look for ways to get to the "spices shelf". I think we, as guitarists, should keep in mind that the modes are only a tool to expand our vocabulary, and obviously it's not the only thing that makes music interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:01 am 
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I personally tend to just focus on one thing:
Is it Major or Minor?
Outside of that, I'm not locked into specific notes. I'll use basic Major/Minor, and freely sprinkle other notes in there, as I see fit.


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:03 pm 
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Samuele wrote:
Jeries wrote:
here's my question for all the people above and guitarists out there...

WHY, do you want to use the modes?

I guess guitarists who want to use the modes are the ones that like to deviate from things everyone has already heard (pentatonics, common major/minor scales, at least in the western world). They look for ways to add different flavors to their playing, to sound more sophisticated or exotic, so sooner or later they end up hearing or reading about "the modes". I guess a sense of mystery plays a certain role in here, too - you get exited more easily about things that you don't know yet. We believe employing the modes will make it easier to reach the goal above, so we look for ways to get to the "spices shelf". I think we, as guitarists, should keep in mind that the modes are only a tool to expand our vocabulary, and obviously it's not the only thing that makes music interesting.


Here's my problem with that statement, and modes...

THEY ARE ALL MAJOR SCALES

CDEFGABC
DEFGABCD
EFGABCDE
FGABCDEF
GABCDEFG
ABCDEFGA
BCDEFGAB

ohhh ohh and look- the 6th one's a minor scale

My point is- i think guitarists look at modes the wrong way- to learn scale charts like you would major or minor with all the modes takes away the point of them, they shouldn't be looked at that way-

AND if you know you're major scale very very very very well- then modes are no problem, and not even a thought it's just embellishing certain notes instead of the root, and centering them-

but thats my view
hell- i hate 7th chords and think all 7th chords sound dissonant (the only one i can tolerate is a dom 7, that resolves, like V7-I)


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:08 pm 
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the above post is correct,if you play a c major scale in any order you are still in essence playing a c major scale(and it will sound like c major if there is no harmony/chord,and you will have to "spell out" the sounds of each mode using your knowledge of modal formulas.
you have to look at it from the other way round,as a musician you are in essence given a "challenge"of playing the correct scale over a given chord,the harmony(chords) comes first,even if it is implied harmony(ie just a bass note)
so you need to learn scales/modes so you have choices/options to play,
for example,a -7 chord(minor 7)
solo/melody choices,
minor pentatonic,blues scale,dorian,phrygian,aeolian or any other scale that contains the intervals 1,b3,5,b7(minor 7 chord formula/construction).
if you extend the chord to a minor9 any scale which contains a b9 would not really work(phrygian for example)
also each mode/scale has a particular "flavour"so you start to choose the scale/mode which you think sounds best/personal favourites over each given chord type.
obviously this subject can fill a book so hard to really put in a few paragraphs.


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:45 am 
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paulh123 wrote:
the above post is correct,if you play a c major scale in any order you are still in essence playing a c major scale(and it will sound like c major if there is no harmony/chord,and you will have to "spell out" the sounds of each mode using your knowledge of modal formulas.
you have to look at it from the other way round,as a musician you are in essence given a "challenge"of playing the correct scale over a given chord,the harmony(chords) comes first,even if it is implied harmony(ie just a bass note)
so you need to learn scales/modes so you have choices/options to play,
for example,a -7 chord(minor 7)
solo/melody choices,
minor pentatonic,blues scale,dorian,phrygian,aeolian or any other scale that contains the intervals 1,b3,5,b7(minor 7 chord formula/construction).
if you extend the chord to a minor9 any scale which contains a b9 would not really work(phrygian for example)
also each mode/scale has a particular "flavour"so you start to choose the scale/mode which you think sounds best/personal favourites over each given chord type.
obviously this subject can fill a book so hard to really put in a few paragraphs.



yes but my view/point to this is this is where the mind of a good guitarist comes in rather than blank dots on a 'mode scale chart'
and at any point you have 12 note options to play, and i think people tend to use modes incorrectly


i think guitarists should think with their mind and NOT with dots on boxes of sheets of paper labeled LOCRIAN

a good guitarist can know what they're doing, know where they are and accentuate these modes but to do so by learning them in a way you don't know what they are/how they work- or arbitrarily reading scale charts and not realizing how they're related, probably isn't the best way to go about modes.


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:01 pm 
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i thought using the modes was the same as the major/relative minor relationship.ie the chords in Cmaj are iCmaj iiDmin iiiEmin ivFmaj vGmag viAmin viiBdim and there various extentions and the relative minor scale is Amin because it starts on the sixth degree of the scale.so if we play a common progression like i v vi iv we are playing C G Amin F in the key of C and we would use the Cmaj scale over the top of this.So if we now play Amin C G or Amin Gmaj Fmaj Gmaj like in the final section of stairway to heaven we are now in the key of Amin,so we would solo over this using the Aminor scale(aeolian mode)or of coarse the Aminor pentatonic,they are the same scale,so if you know the Cmaj scale over the whole neck then you know the Amin scale over the whole neck its the order of the chords that give it the sound.So if we now play Dmin Fmaj Cmaj Gmaj we would be in the key of D dorian because D dorian is the relative dorian mode to Cmaj.though for some reason when people want dorian sounds they play the ii chord of the parent scale followed by the v chord of the parent scale so in the key of D dorian this would be Dmin or Dmin7 followed by G or Gdom7 the ii and v of Cmaj(try this and solo over it, it sounds very santana"like).So the best way to use the modes i can see would be to go to the parent scale to see what chords there are available and work it out that way,then you can also target chord tones from each chord as it is played.I hope this answer has been helpfull.


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 Post subject: Re: How to use the modes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:40 pm 
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also in regards to my previous post i have also learnt that to bring out the sound of whatever mode you wish to establish is to play the chord that is the root of the mode then to include chords iv and v of the parent key.An example would be like in my previous post Amin G and F for Amin or for say a phrygian tonality E5 or Emin with G and F.You can of course use the other chords as well these are just examples.So if you want lydian sounds,which steve uses a lot,you would look at basing a chord progression around F or Fmaj7 and G or G7.Try just playing these two chords and solo over the top using the Cmaj scale and you should end up with that dreamy lydian sound.Try adding some other chords from the harmonised Cmaj scale and see how it sounds,you will know whether it sounds good or not.


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