Modes and Modal Chords!!!

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Modes and Modal Chords!!!

#1 Post by ashu » Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:18 am

Hi,
I am Ashu, a 15 year old from India. I'm self thought as none of the teachers here have any real knowledge of techniques and western theory.

Now, constantly seeing the topic of modes being discussed in every guitarists' forums, i grew curious and really wanted to learn those.but the trouble is nobody here knows about them, so i used guitar pro 5 and learnt the positions and patterns(only, not intervals ) of all the modes. But i still have certain major problems regarding modes:

1. Whenever i'm playing over a backing track and improvising, i only stick to one 3 notes per string pattern (let's say e phrygian) and i find it really tough to move to it's relative ionian or lydian (just examples) patterns.Please suggest a good modal or scalar run that covers the fretboard vertically and across diffrent strings.

2. Modality- Also, i'm quite unaware of the tonality of the modes.the problem is that i get really confused like for example the e phrygian sounds sorta sad but f lydian sounds much more happier (when i'm playing them alone, without any chords) but they both have the exact same notes. so how can the same notes sound sad and happy whan played from different roots? Can you please suggest some free site and or other way that i can get acquainted with the the moods of different modes?


Now the MAJOR PROBLEM:


Modal Chords:
This is that really bugs me no end. people say that different kinds of chords go well with different modes. Like i remember someone saying that the mixolydian mode goes very well with a dominant 7th chord.
So, is he talking about the root chord? I mean is he trying to say that if youre using G mixolydian then you should use G Dominant 7th chord or should every chord be a dominant 7th?

And another aspect of this is that i see virtuosos like joe, vai and others using wierd chords like Em (add 9) used in FTLOG. I would really really like to be explained the theory behind this. I also wanna learn about when to use chords like 9th, 11th and 13th.

Any help would be really aprreciated.And please keep in mind that i cannot buy any music theory books or visit any paid site.



PS-
This is my profile in soundclick:
write: www dot soundclick . com slash azathoght
(sorry but they won't let me post any links)
the songs there are all my compositions. I recorded them(every instrument) in like an hour or so and they are all improvised. any good criticism would be appreciated.
I'm not saying that i'm good, i just want to improve...

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#2 Post by sunai » Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:05 am

hey where u from in India, me from here too , i stay in Pune.

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Re: Modes and Modal Chords!!!

#3 Post by Big Bad Bill » Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:10 am

ashu wrote:1. Whenever i'm playing over a backing track and improvising, i only stick to one 3 notes per string pattern (let's say e phrygian) and i find it really tough to move to it's relative ionian or lydian (just examples) patterns.Please suggest a good modal or scalar run that covers the fretboard vertically and across diffrent strings.
Here's a pattern if F major-its transposable, of course!
ImageI find that after a bit of thought and practice with a backing track, you'll find sliding around to other positions fairly easy.

ashu wrote:2. Modality- Also, i'm quite unaware of the tonality of the modes.the problem is that i get really confused like for example the e phrygian sounds sorta sad but f lydian sounds much more happier (when i'm playing them alone, without any chords) but they both have the exact same notes. so how can the same notes sound sad and happy whan played from different roots? Can you please suggest some free site and or other way that i can get acquainted with the the moods of different modes?
Good question and here's the Zen-like answer-its not the notes themselves that are important in determining the 'quality/mood' of a mode its the spaces (or rather, intervals) between the notes that determine this. You'll notice that the sequence of the intervals changes as you play a mode at a different starting position (this way of 'visualising' the modes is sometimes called the 'parallel' method) and its this that gives a mode its particular quality.

Ionian-Happy, positive sounding,
Dorian- It can sound quite serious (minor 3rd) but the major 6th and 7th lightens it a little
Phrygian- Sad sound but also faintly Middle Eastern/Spanish sounding
Lydian- Happiest sounding mode but has a 'dreamy', 'other worldly' quality.
Mixolydian- Major sound but less ebullient that the major scale (b7th)-a good substitute for the major scale if that's too happy.
Aeolian-Sad minor scale.
Locrian-Defies description. Steve once described it as sounding 'diseased'


ashu wrote:This is that really bugs me no end. people say that different kinds of chords go well with different modes. Like i remember someone saying that the mixolydian mode goes very well with a dominant 7th chord.
So, is he talking about the root chord? I mean is he trying to say that if youre using G mixolydian then you should use G Dominant 7th chord or should every chord be a dominant 7th?
You could use dominant chords all the way through (our modern ears are used to the continuous tension of dominant chords whereas classical composers would've had to have resolved it in some way), but you don't have to as long as the other chords are derived from the parent scale (if you were playing G Mixolydian the parent scale would be C Major).
ashu wrote:And another aspect of this is that i see virtuosos like joe, vai and others using wierd chords like Em (add 9) used in FTLOG. I would really really like to be explained the theory behind this. I also wanna learn about when to use chords like 9th, 11th and 13th.
These 'chord extensions' are simply other notes taken from the parent scale, and stacked up with the simple triad. So a 9th is just a 2nd and octave higher that the tonic of your chord (it doesn't sound as dissonant if its an octave higher). One of the potential problems of using chords with 'big extensions' is that it limits the number of different scales you can play over them because the added notes help the ear define the 'correct' scale that can be used over it. For example if you used a single note drone (or pulsing bass) you could use any scale in the Universe that starts with that note as the tonic (for simplicity). If you used a power chord (tonic and fifth) you can still play any scale in the Universe as long as it has a tonic and that fifth in it-there's still not enough aural information in that 'chord' to clearly define the scale you have to use. If you play a major triad as a backing you start reducing your options because the major third immediately tells you brain, "This is a major sounding improv-there better not be any minor thirds in there or else it'll clash horribly"! The more notes you add the more specific the scale you play over it becomes defined. (I hope you followed that!)

I think this is all a fascinating subject-I'm sure you'll have many more questions and there are people here far more qualified to explain them than I am!

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#4 Post by Mr Clark » Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:29 am

i know nothing about modes, i have a book that my guitar teacher lent to me, but it just has excercises and it presents modes starting with the c major scale (ionian) and derives the other modes from it..
Setting aside the fact that i have to get myself a decent theory book.. how do you define a mode? because if someone asks me "what are you looking at right now?" and i reply "modes" and i get asked "what's a mode" i haven't the foggiest of what to answer :D

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#5 Post by Big Bad Bill » Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:31 am

Mr Clark wrote:i get asked "what's a mode" i haven't the foggiest of what to answer :D
Say something like, "They are inversions of the major scale which have different 'flavours' from the major scale but are the 'children' of it. Western music is based upon the familiar major scale and legend has it that the various inhabitants of some Greek Islands (Doria, Phrygia etc) took the major scale and accidentally altered them or started on a different note of the scale and this led to the modes and their differing aural flavours (this is a myth, by the way!). The Modes were embraced whole-heartedly by the early church and they were used in their plainsong- monophonic chants of praise. But eventually the modes were embraced by folk musicians too. Popular modern music more often than not, tends to use just two of the modes -the major and minor (aeolian) modes, but there are some songs where you can here the modes. For example, 'Scarborough Fair' is in Dorian mode as is 'What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor' and the Simpsons theme is in the dreamy Lydian mode." By this time their eyes will have either glazed over in boredom or sparkle with admiration! :wink:

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#6 Post by Mr Clark » Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:20 am

so basically.. more than modes, they're moods :D

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#7 Post by Big Bad Bill » Sat Apr 12, 2008 4:04 am

'Musical Moods'? Sounds like a cheesy pan pipe hits CD! :wink:

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...

#8 Post by ShawShred » Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:36 pm

The Mixolydian mode is associated with the Dominant 7th Chord because the characteristic note of that mode where it differs from the major scale is it's flat 7th tone.

The dominant 7 chord is simply a Major 7th chord with a flatted 7th tone. Like the mixolydian mode, the tone that differs this chord from a major 7 chord is its Flat Seventh.

Mixolydian = Major scale with Flatted 7th
Dominant 7 Chord = Major chord With a flat 7th.

When you come across G7 chord in a chord progression, a G Mixolydian might be a better choice for that chord because the G7 chord tones are G, B, D ,F (F being the flat 7 ) .

The G Mixolydian mode tones are G, A , B ,C , D , E , F ( Pay close attention to that F Natural)

The G Major scale, or ionian mode tones would be G, A , B , C , D , E and F#

Notice where the the G7 chord and the G mixolydian mode both feature the F natural, the G Major has a F#.

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Re: Modes and Modal Chords!!!

#9 Post by burnt out » Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:32 pm

okay this whole picture can be called by any one of the 7 mode names

Image

:shock:

If your tonal center is F then the whole thing is F Ionian.

Or if your tonal center is G then the whole thing is gonna be G Dorian.

Or A Phrygian,Bb Lydian,C Mixolydian,D Aeolian,E Locrian...Etc.

The whole map is what you play. The mode name depends on the context(namely which note from the F Major Scale[F G A Bb C D E (F)] is the tonal center).

That means that you have the whole fretboard that's depicted in the image, and any pattern will do for any of those seven different mode contexts. That means you can play up and down on any one of the individual strings or you can find whatever positional patterns or diagonal patterns that you find useful.

So explore and find what you like in terms of patterns. And also just stare at the damned thing and see if you can see any patterns or shapes that jump out at you, and try them. If you like them then get to know them and also spend time looking at them on the map so that you get the mental picture burned into your mind.

Explore arpeggios and pentatonics made up only of notes from this image of this F Major Scale map as well as looking at it from the perspective of any one of it's modes (G Dorian, A Phrygian, Etc-etc). Remember that the mode's root note needs to be heard as the tonal center in order for you to be properly understanding the map in that context ,analyzing the entire map to the mode's root that you want. Seven different modes means seven different contexts in which to understand the entire map in.

I didn't read anybody else's posts so I hope I'm not being redunant or repeating anything anybody has already said.

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Re: Modes and Modal Chords!!!

#10 Post by jdnmusic » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:01 pm

ashu wrote:Hi,
1. Whenever i'm playing over a backing track and improvising, i only stick to one 3 notes per string pattern (let's say e phrygian) and i find it really tough to move to it's relative ionian or lydian (just examples) patterns.Please suggest a good modal or scalar run that covers the fretboard vertically and across diffrent strings.

2. Modality- Also, i'm quite unaware of the tonality of the modes.the problem is that i get really confused like for example the e phrygian sounds sorta sad but f lydian sounds much more happier (when i'm playing them alone, without any chords) but they both have the exact same notes. so how can the same notes sound sad and happy whan played from different roots? Can you please suggest some free site and or other way that i can get acquainted with the the moods of different modes?


Now the MAJOR PROBLEM:


Modal Chords:
This is that really bugs me no end. people say that different kinds of chords go well with different modes. Like i remember someone saying that the mixolydian mode goes very well with a dominant 7th chord.
So, is he talking about the root chord? I mean is he trying to say that if youre using G mixolydian then you should use G Dominant 7th chord or should every chord be a dominant 7th?

And another aspect of this is that i see virtuosos like joe, vai and others using wierd chords like Em (add 9) used in FTLOG. I would really really like to be explained the theory behind this. I also wanna learn about when to use chords like 9th, 11th and 13th.
1. I dont know any specific exercises but it would help if you practiced [for example] rather than going to the A on the next string when in C major go to the A on the same string and go up [or down] the dorian mode youre now in.

2. The reason they sound different is because of the qualities of the scale. The qualities are major, minor, diminished, augmented. The reason one mode may sound 'sad' is because its a minor quality scale. Dorian, phrygian and aeolian are all examples of sad scales or minor quality scales. Ionian, lydian and mixolydian are all happier scales or major quality scales. The locrian mode is kind of weird though. It isnt really major or minor. Its closest to a diminished quality which will sound 'sad' because the minor 3rd.

3. The reason a dominant 7th chord would go well with the mixolydian chord is because theyre both the V of their relative major key. So if youre using G mixolydian then you should use a G dom 7 chord. And for the weird chords... it depends on the quality. 9ths, 11ths and 13ths are often used in the place of a dominant 7th or major 7th chord [usually the dominant]. You can use these chords for any dominant or major quality chord. For the weird minor chords you can use them in the place of any minor chord. So you may have an Emin but you can use an Emin2. If you have an Emin7 you should use an Emin9. Same notes except the 9 still has the 7th interval whereas any chord with a number smaller than 7 does not.

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#11 Post by Desert_Runner » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:23 am

Regarding weird chords, a good excersise for learning to use them well is to take a simple progression you know well, such as the 12 bar blues perhaps, and try different variations on the chords you know, such as playing a dominant 13 instead of a major for example. Dominant 7, 9, 11 and 13 chords all work well in a major blues, and minor 7, 9, 11 and 13 chords sound good in a minor blues.

Summarised:
Minor chords can be substituted for: minor 7, minor 9 etc
Major chords can be substituted for: major 7, major 9 etc
Dominant chords can be substituted for: dominant 7, dominant 9, etc

When adding extra notes to chords, as a general rule, use notes from the same scale as the one you're playing in and your chords will sound fine. But then again, you're the composer, if your music sounds good anyway, feel free to break that rule.

One last thing, use www dot chordfind dot com ( I can't type URLs either) for finding the fingering and structure of chords for the guitar.

Have fun jamming!

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#12 Post by leigh01 » Sat Apr 26, 2008 1:58 am

Big Bad Bill wrote:'Musical Moods'? Sounds like a cheesy pan pipe hits CD! :wink:
haha, my grandad used to listen to pan pipes in the car!

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Nicolas Slonimsky - Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns

#13 Post by robmar » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:20 am

This is an exhaustive study of scales and patterns. It is based on dividing the octave into various numbers of equal parts. This study is not coming from any specific idiom such as jazz or classical but may very well be used in application to any idiom. It is a written enharmonically, no key signatures and can be used by all instruments. This 250 page book is a great source for new ideas for improvisation or composition. There are many references made to the masters in the studies and there is an explantion of terms.

you can download it for free.You have to search around however.

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Re: Modes and Modal Chords!!!

#14 Post by Pif » Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:18 am

ashu wrote:Hi,
I am Ashu, a 15 year old from India. I'm self thought as none of the teachers here have any real knowledge of techniques and western theory.

Now, constantly seeing the topic of modes being discussed in every guitarists' forums, i grew curious and really wanted to learn those.but the trouble is nobody here knows about them, so i used guitar pro 5 and learnt the positions and patterns(only, not intervals ) of all the modes. But i still have certain major problems regarding modes:

1. Whenever i'm playing over a backing track and improvising, i only stick to one 3 notes per string pattern (let's say e phrygian) and i find it really tough to move to it's relative ionian or lydian (just examples) patterns.Please suggest a good modal or scalar run that covers the fretboard vertically and across diffrent strings.

2. Modality- Also, i'm quite unaware of the tonality of the modes.the problem is that i get really confused like for example the e phrygian sounds sorta sad but f lydian sounds much more happier (when i'm playing them alone, without any chords) but they both have the exact same notes. so how can the same notes sound sad and happy whan played from different roots? Can you please suggest some free site and or other way that i can get acquainted with the the moods of different modes?


Now the MAJOR PROBLEM:


Modal Chords:
This is that really bugs me no end. people say that different kinds of chords go well with different modes. Like i remember someone saying that the mixolydian mode goes very well with a dominant 7th chord.
So, is he talking about the root chord? I mean is he trying to say that if youre using G mixolydian then you should use G Dominant 7th chord or should every chord be a dominant 7th?

And another aspect of this is that i see virtuosos like joe, vai and others using wierd chords like Em (add 9) used in FTLOG. I would really really like to be explained the theory behind this. I also wanna learn about when to use chords like 9th, 11th and 13th.

Any help would be really aprreciated.And please keep in mind that i cannot buy any music theory books or visit any paid site.



PS-
This is my profile in soundclick:
write: www dot soundclick . com slash azathoght
(sorry but they won't let me post any links)
the songs there are all my compositions. I recorded them(every instrument) in like an hour or so and they are all improvised. any good criticism would be appreciated.
I'm not saying that i'm good, i just want to improve...
Hi

1 - I'm not sure what you mean by "relative" Ionian. Do you mean a mode which has the same notes but a different name (which is "enharmonic") or a mode which has the same root but is a different mode?

2 - that's the whole point of the modes, which can beconfusing but are actually simple and rewardingly musical! It all depends on the context, either the backing track or band, or the implied context of what you're playing (if you listen to a basic blues, you will recognise it and expect what's coming, unless there's a baroque organ break in the middle of it).

The same notes in a different context will sound differently. To hear modes, play a scale with a constant note in the background. Change the note, or change the mode, or both, and see what is the same and what is different, basically.

Of the seven modes derived from the major scale, 3 of them are major (The root has a major third), 3 of them minor, and one of them, well, is locrian (the minor / flat 5 / minor 7 chord is also called half-diminished).

The defining notes of a mode are thought in relation to the minor and major scales, for instance: the sharp 4th in Lydian is characteristic because the major scale has a "perfect" 4th.

If you want to begin to hear modes, one good exercise is to group two modes and play them over a note, and see what notes change. Let's say you play between C Ionian and C Myxolydian, focus and how the 7th sounds, and hear it before you play it. You can mix a major and a minor mode as well. I find it easier to hear modes when they have more common notes, but hey, try going from A Ionian to A Locrian.

Once you begin to hear these modes for themselves and in relation to others, you can put colors or emotions on them, but of course this is far from absolute. If you don't hear a mode the same way as Steve Vai, that's absolutely great - he will never be able to play it the same way as you :)

You should be aware that, basically and quite roughly, western music can be either tonal or modal. I prefer to say tonal music uses functionnal harmony, its chords can be said to have a function: the V chord will bring tension, the I chord afterwards will resolve this tension. Then, you can play with your ear's expectations and go bonkers with it, that's called Hard Bop :). Tonal music has a vocabulary of chords sequences (Cadence, II V I, I VI II V, I IV, etc etc) with variations depending on the style. Tonal music tends to have more modulation, as the fun lies in travelling different musical territories.


Modal music, then, will explore a more specific region, and tend to have more loops and repetitions. Yup, you guessed right, most rock music can be said to be modal. Let's say you play F one bar, then E, and play C Major on it, you will basically play E phrygian/F Lydian, the same notes. Then, the E/F motif itself will sound more phrygian than lydian. But since you now know which note makes your run "more lydian", you can emphasize it when you're in F. And you're still playing the notes of the C Major scale, but with a different context, and a different intention. Get lost in the sound of these modes!


As for choosing notes over a chord, the more notes are common between a chord and a mode, the easier it will be to make it sound, that's why you can play G Myxolidian on G Major/Minor 7th. You could play a whole-tone scale on it, mind you, but it's a very different and quite extreme colour. Try it.

So, <hat you can easily play will then be determined (more like guidelined, in fact) by the surrounding notes in the chord, and its surrounding chords.

In FTLOG, for instance, E-9 is E minor with F#, its 2nd or 9th, which says: "play a F#, no E phrygian, boy". And the next chord is an F, with a sharp 4th (or 11, it's the same, then), which says "I'm an F, and you damn better play me lydian or else". The emphasis is clearly put on the only changing note between the chords (F#=>F=>F# etc), and it's an important point in the theme and the song as a whole.

If you only had one of these chords, or different chords surrounding them, they would tell a different story. Once you know how to read that story, you can really choose how you go along, meander or go elsewhere.

I hope this is not too confusing!

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#15 Post by Jon Gunnar » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:19 am

Very good post, Pif!

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