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> Music Thoery. Modes
adam b
post Feb 26 2008, 01:41 AM
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Ok so this might confuse you the way I word it but it is confusing me. Ok so I just learned all the 5 minor pentatonic boxes and I went to learn the Major and they are the same just shifted down. 1st off, why is it just shifted down? Does it all have to do with the root note?
And for the modes. Can you apply this to the modes. I know, say, the dorian mode. I know it in its box shape. now lets say i want to do a solo in the dorian mode and go outside of this box shape. could i use all the other modes connected like say the ionian and dorian and ect... Would I then want to use the root D in my solo if the key is C and I want to solo in C dorian? That probably really confused you but if I am right then I think I am starting to understand theory a lot more than I thought I did. So basically I can use all the modes connected like the minor pentatonic scale and the only difference as to what mode I am playing is a.) the root note and b.) the key of the song?
Hope I didnt confuse you too much huh.gif Thanks!
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Andrew Cockburn
post Feb 26 2008, 01:15 PM
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Hi Adam, thanks for dropping by smile.gif

As you thought - it all hinges on modes, and it sounds like you have the concept correct in your mind.

Scale patterns and modes are very intimately connected so that if you move up one pattern for a scale and at the same time change the root up one dwgree of the scale you will move through all the relative modes for a scale - for example:

C Ionian
D Dorian
E Phrygian
F Lydian
G Mixolydian
A Aeolian
B Locrian

If you keep the root note the same, you just get boxes for the base scale but there is a very important caveat here - when we are learning boxes for instance with CAGED, the major scale is generally covered with only 5 boxes, not 7 (to simplify things a little). There are actually a couple of in between boxes that are not often played - you have to include these when figuring out the relative modes or it will all go wrong. For this reason I prefer 3nps scales for modes - there is nothing intrinsically different, its just that these are more often taught as 7 boxes instead of 5 so they work better.

Now, how does this relate to Major and Minor pentatonic> Well, actually its all down to modes again - Major pentatonic is a mode of the Minor pentatonic scale, so the same rules apply. Go up one box, change the root note and you have a different scale. For instance:

A minor pentatonic
C major pentatonic

(A and C are the first 2 notes in the A minor pentatonic scale of course).

Hope this helps!


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adam b
post Feb 26 2008, 05:59 PM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Feb 26 2008, 07:15 AM) *
Hi Adam, thanks for dropping by smile.gif

As you thought - it all hinges on modes, and it sounds like you have the concept correct in your mind.

Scale patterns and modes are very intimately connected so that if you move up one pattern for a scale and at the same time change the root up one dwgree of the scale you will move through all the relative modes for a scale - for example:

C Ionian
D Dorian
E Phrygian
F Lydian
G Mixolydian
A Aeolian
B Locrian

If you keep the root note the same, you just get boxes for the base scale but there is a very important caveat here - when we are learning boxes for instance with CAGED, the major scale is generally covered with only 5 boxes, not 7 (to simplify things a little). There are actually a couple of in between boxes that are not often played - you have to include these when figuring out the relative modes or it will all go wrong. For this reason I prefer 3nps scales for modes - there is nothing intrinsically different, its just that these are more often taught as 7 boxes instead of 5 so they work better.

Now, how does this relate to Major and Minor pentatonic> Well, actually its all down to modes again - Major pentatonic is a mode of the Minor pentatonic scale, so the same rules apply. Go up one box, change the root note and you have a different scale. For instance:

A minor pentatonic
C major pentatonic

(A and C are the first 2 notes in the A minor pentatonic scale of course).

Hope this helps!


Yes it does help thanks! Now can I go further in depth with the pentatonic scales. A minor = C Major. but is there anything with the others, for example would D ( the next note in the A minor Pentatonic) have any theory meaning.

The Lydian and the Locrian modes are the inbetween ones I think you are talking about. Glad you reminded me of that so I didnt mess it up becuase I would have probably forgot. Anyway thanks for the reply it does help me out a lot! I will post another confusing question in my mind when I fully get what I want to ask you.
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Andrew Cockburn
post Feb 26 2008, 07:26 PM
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Cool smile.gif

The minor pentatonic has 5 modes (as it has 5 notes), they don;t all have names though, so you get:

Pentatonic Minor
Pentatonic Major
Mode III
Mode IV
Mode V


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