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Capasso2300
post Jan 6 2009, 10:30 PM
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Hey David. I like your breakdowns of the church modes very much. I've a pretty good imrpoviser but i'm very limited to the pentatonics, blues scale, and every now and then i get lucky and an Aeolian note sounds good here and there. My question is really how do i know, and when, to use the certain modes. I understand to use minor pentaonic and when to use majors, but as far as the modes are concerned, i've been memorizing them, but i dont know how to apply them. any help would be appreciated
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David Wallimann
post Jan 7 2009, 02:54 PM
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Glad you asked, that's a pretty common question.
In order to use them correctly, you need to classify them.

As you know, each scale works over a specific chord, so first let's build the chord that will work over each mode.
To do that, let's build 4 note chords using the Root, 3rd, 5th and 7th of each mode.
I recommend writing each mode starting from the same root as it will help you classify them into chord categories.
Let's start by writing our 7 modes starting from a G note as follow:

G Ionian:
G A B C D E F#

G Dorian:
G A Bb C D E F

G Phrygian:
G Ab Bb C D Eb F

G Lydian:
G A B C# D E F#

G Mixolydian:
G A B C D E F

G Aeolian:
G A Bb C D Eb F

G Locrian:
G Ab Bb C Db E F



Taking the Root, 3rd, 5th and 7th of each of the previous modes will give us four types of chords as follow:

Maj7 (Root, Maj3rd, 5th, Maj7th)

min7 (Root, min3rd, 5th, min7th)

7 (Root, Maj3rd, 5th, min7th)

min7b5 (Root, min3rd, b5th, min7th)

We can now classify our modes into their fitting categories:

Maj7 : Ionian, Lydian

min7: Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian

7: Mixolydian

min7b5: Locrian

That means that if you want to play over a backing track with a Maj7 chord vamp, you have 2 choices, Ionian or Lydian...

If you have a min7 type of vamp, you can play Dorian, Phrygian or Aeolian...

Each ones of these modes have a different flavor or color that you are free to use to give your lead a certain sound.

Now you might feel that sometimes a certain mode doesn't work well over a min7th chord... You probably encountered times when the Aeolian mode just doesn't sound right. That has to do with characteristic modal notes. Let me explain.

Let's illustrate this with the modes that work over a min7th chord for example. There are 3 of the:

Dorian
Phrygian
Aeolian

These modes although different share the same Root, min3rd, 5th and min7th. That's ow we determined that they work over a min7th chord. The difference between these modes will be found in notes not played in the min7th chord such as the 2nd, 4th and 6th.

Those 3 notes are the ones that will characterize the modes and make them different from each other within the same chord category.

Here are the modes in their chordal category with their characteristic notes:

Maj7

Ionian: 4th
Lydian: #4th

min7

Dorian: Maj6th
Phrygian: min2nd
Aeolian: Maj2nd + min6th

7
Mixolydian: (Since the Mixolydian is the only one in that category, its characteristic notes are found in its chord already)

min7b5: (found in the chord itself)

If we go back to our scenario when the Aeolian sometimes doesn't seem to work over a min7th chord, it's probably because somewhere in the backing track, there is a Maj6th hidden in there that clashes with the min6th of the Aeolian scale. That Maj6th could be found in the bass riff, or in a distant chord placed by whatever other instrument, or sometimes even in the following chord of your backing track.

After a while, your ear will get used to hearing the color of each mode.

Study all this and let me know if you have any questions!






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utak3r
post Jan 7 2009, 03:43 PM
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And THAT is one of the most usefull posts about a theory... it's an easy way of understanding it all smile.gif
Thanks man... gotta print it.


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David Wallimann
post Jan 7 2009, 03:49 PM
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Thanks so much! Glad it helped!


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utak3r
post Jan 7 2009, 03:56 PM
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QUOTE (David Wallimann @ Jan 7 2009, 03:49 PM) *
Glad it helped!


You know: to learn the theory is one side of the story... but how the hell use it, that's a question.... thanks, will try to make some backings and try to use it.


So, generally speaking:
If you have some chord progression, let's say Dm Am E Am for instance... (so often used....) I have to follow those chords and change modes within a scale, according to the actual chord, right? Can you give a sample modes one can use to harmonize them?


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David Wallimann
post Jan 7 2009, 04:18 PM
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QUOTE (utak3r @ Jan 7 2009, 09:56 AM) *
You know: to learn the theory is one side of the story... but how the hell use it, that's a question.... thanks, will try to make some backings and try to use it.


So, generally speaking:
If you have some chord progression, let's say Dm Am E Am for instance... (so often used....) I have to follow those chords and change modes within a scale, according to the actual chord, right? Can you give a sample modes one can use to harmonize them?


Well, for these chords, instead of changing modes everytime, just try to find a single mode that would fit over all the chords.

In this case things are a little different.
Try an A harmonic minor scale!


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Capasso2300
post Jan 7 2009, 04:33 PM
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Yea David you are the man!!! This is exactly what i was looking for. I'm going to study and i'm sure i'll have mroe questions on it but i will get back to you, thankyou for your hasty reply
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utak3r
post Jan 7 2009, 04:38 PM
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hmmm..... so, rythming with power chords you can choose whatever mode you like for soloing, right?


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David Wallimann
post Jan 7 2009, 05:00 PM
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QUOTE (utak3r @ Jan 7 2009, 10:38 AM) *
hmmm..... so, rythming with power chords you can choose whatever mode you like for soloing, right?


Well.. If you have a basic power chord with a Root and a perfect 5th without any other chords, then yes.. You can use any mode EXCEPT for the Locrian which contains a diminished 5th.
Now if you have more than one power chord, you want to try to bring all of the chords to a commoin mode if possible.
Basically take ALL the notes of ALL the chords and see if you can build a mode around these notes.
If you can't find a common mode, then there is more than likely a modulation within your chord progression meaning that you will have to switch modes at some point during your lead.

Always keep in mind that it is good to bring a bunch of chords to a common key or common mode, that will help your lead to sound more organized and melodic.
Changing modes over every chord although possible will create something tensed and difficult for the listener to follow.


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utak3r
post Jan 7 2009, 07:07 PM
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QUOTE (David Wallimann @ Jan 7 2009, 05:00 PM) *
Always keep in mind that it is good to bring a bunch of chords to a common key or common mode, that will help your lead to sound more organized and melodic.
Changing modes over every chord although possible will create something tensed and difficult for the listener to follow.


Ok, that was my next question smile.gif Thanks.


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Capasso2300
post Jan 22 2009, 12:32 AM
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Hey Dave one more thing, in the Big response you gave me...

What is a chord vamp? I can tell if my song has major and minor chords in it, and i'm guessing a vamp is the overall feel of the song?

And if you could just help me out with one more thin...

If I was writing a song in G, Could you just give me a chord progression that you would play G phrygian over, just so i can get an idea for Minor7th feel.
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David Wallimann
post Jan 22 2009, 02:44 PM
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What I meant by vamp is a backing track made of only one chord played over and over. It would be quite a boring backing track, but if you have only one chord to play over, you have more options as far as modes go. As long as the modes you use include the notes of the chord, you're allowed to do that.

If you want to play something in G Phrygian, here's whet you need to do (that can be applied to any modes and any keys).

1. Write the notes of the mode you are working with, in this case G Phrygian:

G-Ab-Bb-C-D-Eb-F

2. Harmonize the scale into 3 or 4 note chords (3 note chords are generally used in straight rock, 4 notes for more complex sounding chords such as jazz...)

You need to build these chords from every note which will give you 7 chords in the end. The chords are built by taking the Root (1st note of your chord), 3rd, 5th and 7th.

Here is what we get for G Phrygian:

1st Chord

G-Ab-Bb-C-D-Eb-F

G min7th (Root, min3rd, 5th, min7th)

2nd chord

G-Ab-Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G

AbMaj7 (Root, Maj3rd, 5th, Maj7th)

3rd chord

G-Ab-Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab

Bb7 (Root, Maj3rd, 5th, min7th)

4th chord

G-Ab-Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb

Cmin7 (Root, min3rd, 5th, min7th)

5th chord

G-Ab-Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C

Dmin7b5 (Root, min3rd, b5th, min7th)

6th chord

G-Ab-Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C-D

EbMaj7 (Root, Maj3rd, 5th, Maj7th)

7th chord

G-Ab-Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C-D-Eb

min7 (Root, min3rd, 5th, min7th)


So to recap, here are the chords you can use to build a G Phrygian chord progression:

Gmin7
AbMaj7
Bb7
Cmin7
Dmin7b5
EbMaj7
Fmin7

So for example, you can have:

Gmin7-Bb7-Cmin7-AbMaj7

Attached File  example1.mp3 ( 432.96K ) Number of downloads: 310


You can also experiment with common bass chords. In other words keep your bass in G for a solid foundation, then add chords on top of that. That will really make your backing sound Phrygian as all the chords you are playing have a very strong connection to the bass. For example:

Gmin-AbMaj7/G (That's an Ab Maj7 chord with a G on bass).

Attached File  example2.mp3 ( 432.15K ) Number of downloads: 251



That will sound very phrygian...

Here's a video I did on that subject a while back.. Let me know if you need anything else! :-)



This post has been edited by David Wallimann: Jan 22 2009, 02:44 PM


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David Wallimann
post Jan 23 2009, 01:56 PM
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You might have more questions after this, don't hesitate to ask! :-)


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JamesT
post Jan 28 2009, 03:57 AM
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Wow, David, what a fantastic video covering the modes.

It's something I had set out to start working on this week as a matter of fact to try to begin to hear the characteristic sound of each mode. My thought was to play Ionian followed by Dorian, then Ionian again followed by Phrygian, etc. through the seven modes always returning to Ionian to gain an understanding of how each mode really sounds in relation to the major scale. I figure I could turn this into a metronome excercise as well and work on speed at the same time. Your description added a lot for me and the excercise you've recommended at the end combining the arpeggios with the scales sounds like a good thing to try.

Nice job again on the video! cool.gif
Thanks,
Jim.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So to recap, here are the chords you can use to build a G Phrygian chord progression:

Gmin7
AbMaj7
Bb7
Cmin7
Dmin7b5
EbMaj7
Fmin7


David:
So with the above chords. I can see how they were constructed from the G Phrygian. Are those not the same chords that are in the key of Eb? It's the same notes eh? I'm mainly trying to just get at why we make a distinction between the key a song is played/written in, and the mode.

Is it that the chord progression has a root chord like in the case of G Phrygian it's Gmin7 and in the case of Eb, of course it's Eb.

Sorry, it might sound like I'm trying to "stump the instructor", but this has always been a source of confusion for me. huh.gif

Jim.

This post has been edited by JamesT: Jan 28 2009, 03:59 AM


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David Wallimann
post Jan 28 2009, 01:07 PM
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QUOTE (JamesT @ Jan 27 2009, 09:57 PM) *
David:
So with the above chords. I can see how they were constructed from the G Phrygian. Are those not the same chords that are in the key of Eb? It's the same notes eh? I'm mainly trying to just get at why we make a distinction between the key a song is played/written in, and the mode.

Is it that the chord progression has a root chord like in the case of G Phrygian it's Gmin7 and in the case of Eb, of course it's Eb.

Sorry, it might sound like I'm trying to "stump the instructor", but this has always been a source of confusion for me. huh.gif

Jim.


Glad you like the vids!
Yes you are exactly right, the chords extracted from the G Phrygian scale are exactly the same as the ones extracted from the Eb Ionian (or Major) scale.
That is because those two modes are related to each other. The only difference is the chord you start from.

You might ask, why then bother learning all this if you could do it with only the Major scale?
Well, that is because if you play in G Phrygian and Gmin7 is your starting chord, all the notes you play from you scale are going to be "attracted" to that chord. It's that attraction that sets the Phrygian mood.

Don't hesitate to keep asking questions man, I'm really happy to help!


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