The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 12-01-2017, 05:03 PM
harleycaptain's Avatar
harleycaptain harleycaptain is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Sacramento area, CA
Posts: 109
Default modes, need a basic understanding

Take the major C scale. So the different modes(dorian, etc) use the same notes, but just start and finish on different notes? By doing this it gives a different "feel" to the scale. That's what I think I understand.

Would be curious if there is a good reference out there that helps me figure out all this. I am learning a song, and it uses Dorian mode and it sounds so cool and different, but not sure how one decides to use which mode over a give chord progression.

Any simple rules? I will so my research if some one would be so kind to direct me where to look. Have done searches here and haven't come up with any posts that clarify.
__________________
2015 Santa Cruz 1929-000 Sunburst
2004 Martin 000-42
2011 Collings OM German deep body
Fender Telecaster
Collings I35LC
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-01-2017, 05:09 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 21,089
Default

Harley, I just think of modes as altered scales. Dorian mode is the same thing as the normal minor (Aeolian) but with a raised sixth. Mixolydian mode is a normal major key (Ionian) but with a flatted seventh, which in C would mean you'd play a Bb instead of a B note.


whm
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-01-2017, 05:16 PM
Tony Done Tony Done is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Toowoomba, Australia
Posts: 1,967
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Harley, I just think of modes as altered scales. Dorian mode is the same thing as the normal minor (Aeolian) but with a raised sixth. Mixolydian mode is a normal major key (Ionian) but with a flatted seventh, which in C would mean you'd play a Bb instead of a B note.


whm
This discussion came up in another forum recently. I think of modes in the same way as the OP, just shifts from the major scale, but majority of music theorists seem to think of them the same way as you do, majors or minors with raised or flattened notes. For me, the "shifted" approach means that I know instantly which basic minor and major chords will work with a particular mode. It works for the relatively unsophisticated stuff I play, but I think I might be missing something.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-01-2017, 05:26 PM
drew b drew b is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Tyler, TX
Posts: 189
Default

It doesn't help me much to think in terms of modes because (like you already said), it's still within the same scale. Also, it's not like you play the mode up and down as an exercise when you're using it to solo-so the "start" and "finish" points are fairly irrelevant. Others may have a different point of view, but they aren't very helpful to me.

Drew
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-01-2017, 08:07 PM
Doug Young Doug Young is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 5,812
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by drew b View Post
It doesn't help me much to think in terms of modes because (like you already said), it's still within the same scale. Also, it's not like you play the mode up and down as an exercise when you're using it to solo-so the "start" and "finish" points are fairly irrelevant. Others may have a different point of view, but they aren't very helpful to me.

Drew
This topic comes up a lot, and I'm sure someone will weigh in with very detailed explanations. But the basic issue is that modes have to do with *harmony*, not just the notes. When you play D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D against a Dm chord, you get the sound of D Dorian. If you play those notes against a C major chord, they just sound like you're playing a C scale from D to D. It's all about the harmony center, not the notes. That's why it's more instructive to compare C major (C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C) to C Dorian (C,D,Eb,F,G,A,Bb,C). This makes it clearer that C is major, C Dorian is minor. The notes just by themselves don't matter, I can play the "white notes", and depending on the underlying harmony sound like any mode. And I can play any subset of the C scale, whether that's C-C, D-D, E-E, F-F, etc, and still sound like C major if I'm working within the context of C major harmony. So yes, it doesn't make sense to think in terms of modes when selecting notes, if the harmony isn't modal. But if you have a tune whose harmony is, say, D Dorian, or Phrygian, or Mixolydian, etc, then you have to conform to the mode to make it sound right.
__________________
Doug Young
----------------
Music on Pandora
You Tube Channel
website: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com
Fingerstyle Christmas Tunes: A DADGAD Christmas
CDs: Closing Time, Laurel Mill
Pickup tests: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/pickuptests/
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-01-2017, 11:11 PM
harleycaptain's Avatar
harleycaptain harleycaptain is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Sacramento area, CA
Posts: 109
Default modes

I am at a stage where I can play a chord progression and then solo over it using the pentatonic scale positons, ad libbing and having it hopefully sound cool. As long as I stay with the notes in the scale, it "fits."

However it's starting to sound generic after awhile. Was hoping modal skills or knowledge would make it more "interesting".

I don't expect anyone here on the forum to educate me, but if there is some book or website I sure would like to go that route.
__________________
2015 Santa Cruz 1929-000 Sunburst
2004 Martin 000-42
2011 Collings OM German deep body
Fender Telecaster
Collings I35LC
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-02-2017, 12:56 AM
Doug Young Doug Young is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 5,812
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by harleycaptain View Post
I am at a stage where I can play a chord progression and then solo over it using the pentatonic scale positons, ad libbing and having it hopefully sound cool. As long as I stay with the notes in the scale, it "fits."

However it's starting to sound generic after awhile. Was hoping modal skills or knowledge would make it more "interesting".

I don't expect anyone here on the forum to educate me, but if there is some book or website I sure would like to go that route.
There are tons of books on soloing and theory. I don't have any specific one to recommend, maybe someone has a favorite. But modes aren't likely to help over random chord progressions, other than knowing where they fit into certain specific progressions that are modal, or if you get into certain jazz approaches where they think about the mode relative to each chord. For example, "Cocaine" is Mixolydian, as are a whole bunch of similar rock tunes, several well known Santana and Almann Brothers tunes are Dorian. You can play Dm Em back and forth, and that will be D Dorian. Am Dm back and forth would be Am Aeolean and so on. but you can't just force a mode against any old chord progression - well, you *can* do anything you like, but it may or may not fit.

To make solos more interesting, the most efficient process is to learn lots of licks, copy others off records. It's like learning to talk - music is a language. You don't learn how to carry on an interesting conversation by studying the dictionary or learning to diagram sentences (do they still do that?) You learn by developing a vocabulary, and coming up with ideas worth talking about, mostly by listening to other people and then carrying on conversations. In music, you can do that by tearing apart solos you like and trying to incorporate the licks into your own solos. One of the more useful pieces of advice I've run across was in an old Guitar Player, a Lee Ritenour column, I think. He suggested you take a simple lick from a record, a new one every day. Learn to play it in all 12 keys, play it backwards, play it fast, play it slow. Try to play it over different chords and see where it can fit. Change to be minor, or major, change around notes, turn it inside out. You'll generate like a 100 licks from that one idea. Do that every day for a while, and you'll soon have a "vocabulary", thousands of licks that all blend together in a way that you no longer even know where they came from, and you won't sound like you've copied licks, you'll sound like you. Good solos are melodies, so its more about being able to come up with melodies - practice singing something, and playing it, so you can play the melodies you hear in your head, and aren't just playing notes out of some scale pattern.

On a more mechanical note, it helps to learn chord construction, and know the chord tones. If you are playing over an Am, know that the chord notes are A, C, E. Those are the safe notes that will sound right with that chord. Everything else is extensions of that or passing tones. You can play anything, all 12 notes, and you can justify how they fit over that chord. An A is the root, a B is the 2nd or 9th, the C is the 3rd, D is the 4th, E the 5th and so on. Any note you name, can be considered an extension of the chord. A#/Bb? that's a flat 9 and so on. The only thing that matters is that you know what that note will sound like over the chord and that you can play it when that's the sound you want to hear. Various scales are nothing more than collections of subsets of the 12 available notes. They're handy for being able to memorize and play fast, and some "packages" of these notes can have a certain sound, so you can call them up instead of having to think about each note individually. But ultimately, it's about being able to "have something to say", a combination of hearing things and being able to translate it to the guitar and having that "vocabulary", collections of licks and patterns you can draw on, just like you can pull out little phrases without even thinking about it when you talk.

Sorry, if this is offtrack from your specific modes question, and hope it's somewhat useful.
__________________
Doug Young
----------------
Music on Pandora
You Tube Channel
website: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com
Fingerstyle Christmas Tunes: A DADGAD Christmas
CDs: Closing Time, Laurel Mill
Pickup tests: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/pickuptests/
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-02-2017, 07:47 AM
Slobberdog Slobberdog is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 10
Default

Doug - These are the trees of the music theory forest i'm currently trying to navigate with my instructor. Very helpful to read your explanation on top of what I'm learning. I'm not using a book, but just being led by my instructor and using this forum to reinforce and supplement his teaching. Multiple explanations of the concepts make learning the new language less daunting.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-02-2017, 10:26 AM
harleycaptain's Avatar
harleycaptain harleycaptain is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Sacramento area, CA
Posts: 109
Default modes

thanks all, I think I am better off forgetting about this part of theory for now and continue learning songs with techniques, and licks and riffs and doing call and response type stuff with fills.

I printed Bob Womack's soloing thoughts and that will keep me busy for quite awhile.
__________________
2015 Santa Cruz 1929-000 Sunburst
2004 Martin 000-42
2011 Collings OM German deep body
Fender Telecaster
Collings I35LC
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-02-2017, 10:28 AM
harleycaptain's Avatar
harleycaptain harleycaptain is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Sacramento area, CA
Posts: 109
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
There are tons of books on soloing and theory. I don't have any specific one to recommend, maybe someone has a favorite. But modes aren't likely to help over random chord progressions, other than knowing where they fit into certain specific progressions that are modal, or if you get into certain jazz approaches where they think about the mode relative to each chord. For example, "Cocaine" is Mixolydian, as are a whole bunch of similar rock tunes, several well known Santana and Almann Brothers tunes are Dorian. You can play Dm Em back and forth, and that will be D Dorian. Am Dm back and forth would be Am Aeolean and so on. but you can't just force a mode against any old chord progression - well, you *can* do anything you like, but it may or may not fit.

To make solos more interesting, the most efficient process is to learn lots of licks, copy others off records. It's like learning to talk - music is a language. You don't learn how to carry on an interesting conversation by studying the dictionary or learning to diagram sentences (do they still do that?) You learn by developing a vocabulary, and coming up with ideas worth talking about, mostly by listening to other people and then carrying on conversations. In music, you can do that by tearing apart solos you like and trying to incorporate the licks into your own solos. One of the more useful pieces of advice I've run across was in an old Guitar Player, a Lee Ritenour column, I think. He suggested you take a simple lick from a record, a new one every day. Learn to play it in all 12 keys, play it backwards, play it fast, play it slow. Try to play it over different chords and see where it can fit. Change to be minor, or major, change around notes, turn it inside out. You'll generate like a 100 licks from that one idea. Do that every day for a while, and you'll soon have a "vocabulary", thousands of licks that all blend together in a way that you no longer even know where they came from, and you won't sound like you've copied licks, you'll sound like you. Good solos are melodies, so its more about being able to come up with melodies - practice singing something, and playing it, so you can play the melodies you hear in your head, and aren't just playing notes out of some scale pattern.

On a more mechanical note, it helps to learn chord construction, and know the chord tones. If you are playing over an Am, know that the chord notes are A, C, E. Those are the safe notes that will sound right with that chord. Everything else is extensions of that or passing tones. You can play anything, all 12 notes, and you can justify how they fit over that chord. An A is the root, a B is the 2nd or 9th, the C is the 3rd, D is the 4th, E the 5th and so on. Any note you name, can be considered an extension of the chord. A#/Bb? that's a flat 9 and so on. The only thing that matters is that you know what that note will sound like over the chord and that you can play it when that's the sound you want to hear. Various scales are nothing more than collections of subsets of the 12 available notes. They're handy for being able to memorize and play fast, and some "packages" of these notes can have a certain sound, so you can call them up instead of having to think about each note individually. But ultimately, it's about being able to "have something to say", a combination of hearing things and being able to translate it to the guitar and having that "vocabulary", collections of licks and patterns you can draw on, just like you can pull out little phrases without even thinking about it when you talk.

Sorry, if this is offtrack from your specific modes question, and hope it's somewhat useful.
Not at all, TYVM for your time and thoughts.
__________________
2015 Santa Cruz 1929-000 Sunburst
2004 Martin 000-42
2011 Collings OM German deep body
Fender Telecaster
Collings I35LC
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-02-2017, 10:30 AM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Earth, mostly
Posts: 1,148
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
To make solos more interesting...learn lots of licks, copy others off records. It's like learning to talk

- music is a language.

You don't learn how to carry on an interesting conversation by studying the dictionary or learning to diagram sentences (do they still do that?) You learn by developing a vocabulary, and coming up with ideas worth talking about, mostly by listening to other people and then carrying on conversations. In music, you can do that by tearing apart solos you like and trying to incorporate the licks into your own solos. One of the more useful pieces of advice I've run across was in an old Guitar Player, a Lee Ritenour column, I think. He suggested you take a simple lick from a record, a new one every day. Learn to play it in all 12 keys, play it backwards, play it fast, play it slow. Try to play it over different chords and see where it can fit. Change to be minor, or major, change around notes, turn it inside out. You'll generate like a 100 licks from that one idea. Do that every day for a while, and you'll soon have a "vocabulary", thousands of licks that all blend together in a way that you no longer even know where they came from, and you won't sound like you've copied licks, you'll sound like you. Good solos are melodies, so its more about being able to come up with melodies - practice singing something, and playing it, so you can play the melodies you hear in your head, and aren't just playing notes out of some scale pattern.

On a more mechanical note, it helps to learn chord construction, and know the chord tones [edit/add: tones and INTERVALS] If you are playing over an Am, know that the chord notes are A, C, E. Those are the safe notes that will sound right with that chord. Everything else is extensions of that or passing tones. You can play anything, all 12 notes, and you can justify how they fit over that chord. An A is the root, a B is the 2nd or 9th, the C is the 3rd, D is the 4th, E the 5th and so on. Any note you name, can be considered an extension of the chord. A#/Bb? that's a flat 9 and so on. The only thing that matters is that you know what that note will sound like over the chord and that you can play it when that's the sound you want to hear. Various scales are nothing more than collections of subsets of the 12 available notes. They're handy for being able to memorize and play fast, and some "packages" of these notes can have a certain sound, so you can call them up instead of having to think about each note individually. But ultimately, it's about being able to "have something to say", a combination of hearing things and being able to translate it to the guitar and having that "vocabulary", collections of licks and patterns you can draw on, just like you can pull out little phrases without even thinking about it when you talk.
This should be a sticky. It's gospel. Short form: copy, compare, contrast, convolve.
__________________
Harmony Sovereign H-1203
"You're making the wrong mistakes."
...T. Monk

Theory is the post mortem of Music.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 12-02-2017, 11:52 AM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 11,114
Default

Most improvisation, among pros more so than amateurs (considering their more frequent mistakes) consists of using combinations of previously practiced and memorized licks and picking patterns.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 12-02-2017, 12:10 PM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Earth, mostly
Posts: 1,148
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Most improvisation, among pros more so than amateurs (considering their more frequent mistakes) consists of
spontaneously

Quote:
using combinations of previously practiced and memorized licks and picking patterns.
You do not "memorize" language...do you?
__________________
Harmony Sovereign H-1203
"You're making the wrong mistakes."
...T. Monk

Theory is the post mortem of Music.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 12-02-2017, 12:13 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4,204
Default

Doug's post is great, I'm just adding my $0.02...
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleycaptain View Post
Take the major C scale. So the different modes(dorian, etc) use the same notes, but just start and finish on different notes? By doing this it gives a different "feel" to the scale. That's what I think I understand.
That's basically true, but the issue is unpacking that idea of "start and finish on different notes".
If nothing else is going on, then you will probably get the different modal effects by doing this. (E.g. start and end the C major scale on an E note, and you may get an E phrygian sound. Maybe.)

But how many times is nothing else going on? Normally when improvising, you have a song or chord sequence you're playing over. That is going to govern the sound, and over-rule any modal effect you try to apply in that way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleycaptain View Post
I am learning a song, and it uses Dorian mode and it sounds so cool and different,
Presumably, then, its main chord is Dm, and any other chords include G or Em?
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleycaptain View Post
but not sure how one decides to use which mode over a give chord progression.
Basically, don't. Just use the notes in the chords given. The scale you need is spelled out by the chords, almost always. (Sometimes the chords spell out more than one scale, at different times.)

The idea that modes are used in improvising to express different moods is a myth. It's lies! Fake news!

They may be used in composition. As in your D dorian song - which means, of course, that's the scale you use on it (which means any pattern of the C major scale, of course).
__________________
"There's only two kinds of music: good and bad. I like both kinds." - Duke Ellington.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 12-02-2017, 12:17 PM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 11,114
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyllys View Post
spontaneously



You do not "memorize" language...do you?
Somewhat spontaneously combinations of things done many times before. Start listening to several pieces by the same artist and you'll see the fingerprints.

Of course I have memorized the languages I use.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:54 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=