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> Major Scale Modes
Shredly
post Jul 14 2009, 02:07 PM
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Im trying to figure out the different uses for these and I have some questions. Please bear with me here as theory is new to me biggrin.gif Tonight I was playing with a jam track in Aminor (vi- vii -I -ii -iii -IV- V and back to vi). I spent alot of time in the A aeolian mode starting and landing on each chord tone as they progressed. An example would be playing A Aeolian and finishing on A note. Emphasis of the root note of each chord really helped the improv and I was pleased. After I while I started landing a step above the root tone and I liked the results. So here are the questions

1. When i emphasised the notes a step above the tonic of each chord would this be considered playing in the dorian mode?

2. If im playing in A minor with emphasis on the note above the tonic over each chord that passes is it still dorian mode?

3. Superimposing modes didnt sound as cool (A dorian, A phrigian) what things can make those sound good?

4. What types of things can be done over the Major chords of the progression?

5. Parallel and relative mode explaination?

Its coming together and the answers to these should really clear some things up.


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Andy
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Oxac
post Jul 14 2009, 02:18 PM
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I'm having some trouble understanding your explaination and questions. The tonic would be Amin here, so you like landing on B all the time? Or do you put emphasis on D?

Is the progression F, G7, Am(7), Bm7 b5, Cmaj(7), Dmin7 (alt Dmin6), Emin(7), F?

Or do you play it in C major with the progression something like:
Am(7), Bm7 b5, Cmaj(7), Dmin7 (alt Dmin6), Emin(7), F, G7, Am(7)?



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Emir Hot
post Jul 14 2009, 02:30 PM
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1. When i emphasised the notes a step above the tonic of each chord would this be considered playing in the dorian mode?

Depends what chord is in the background. If you are in C major and playing D Dorian you can say you're playing dorian but you're actually playing C major. If your chord moves to Dm7 then you can really say that you're playing dorian.

2. If im playing in A minor with emphasis on the note above the tonic over each chord that passes is it still dorian mode?

No. A minor is A minor. That's aeolian mode. If you're talking about Am or Am7 (where G major is the real root) then you are playing A dorian mode but only if you are actually playing G major scale over Am7 chord .

3. Superimposing modes didnt sound as cool (A dorian, A phrigian) what things can make those sound good?

That can be tricky. You can superimpose but there are some ruleshow to make it sound acceptable. Check out my lesson "superimposing pentatonic", I explained it there

4. What types of things can be done over the Major chords of the progression?

Million things can be done. You just have to be creative and come up with something interesting.

5. Parallel and relative mode explaination?

I don't really know about this. Relative modes can be any mode relative to the root. If you're playing A mixolydian then your root mode would be D ionian. I would then say that I am playing mixolydian relative to my D root but that's basically D major scale. Parallel mode can mean the same thing. For example parallel chords/scales are G major and E minor. Both those scales have 1 sharp. There you can say that G ionian and E aeolian are paralel modes but again it's the same scale.




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Muris Varajic
post Jul 14 2009, 02:58 PM
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Well, first of all you wrote degrees somehow weird,
vi- vii -I -ii -iii -IV- V and back to vi.
I'm not sure 100% what your progression was,
is vi Am chord or F chord?
I'm asking this cause you said that you were playing over
backing tracking in Am and in that case Am chord is I, not vi.
Perhaps you were looking at it from C major key perspective
but that ain't the way to do it, Am is your root ( if Am was vi in your progression ).

However I wouldn't say that you're playing D Dorian
over Dm chord in a key of Am even if you play notes of Am scale.
Ok, notes ARE just like in D Dorian but over result is not the same.
I'm saying this because modes have same importance as keys, major or minors.
And if you have progression in Am like: Am, F, Dm and G
then IMO you are not playing real F Lydian over F chord, nor D Dorian over Dm chord etc.
Thing is, root is Am and it's VERY strong.
No matter where you are within this progression
it always leads towards Am chord cause that's real root,
F, Dm and G are just chords within progression.
Each mode has its sound just like major or minor keys,
you HEAR root and other degrees related to it.
But when you play that F chord per example
you cannot hear F Lydian that clearly cause root is Am, not F.

Many will probably disagree with me on this
but I'm saying this mainly so you could REALLY understand the modes,
in other words, you have to HEAR them first. smile.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 14 2009, 08:41 PM
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Muris is right, you used C major as key center here, but if you say Am is the key center than Am becomes i chord, and progression is:

i - ii - III - iv - v - VI - VII

I think you used C major key as a center for roman numerals, so in this context:

1. No. dorian mode is dorian mode, if the progression is C major would be |I///|I///|I///|I///| and you continually accent the D, you will be emphasizing 9th of the C more than a whole dorian mode. so even then you will need more notes to play in dorian mode.
2. same as for 1. you are not in the dorian mode.
3. because you are using fixed progression in one key and changing modes means that you must follow the progression in certain way in order to make it sound good. If you want to get deeper into shifting modes, I suggest you start with more simple two chord progressions and work your way to more complex ones. just take basic triads and shift A Aeolian, A dorian and A phrygian over something like |Am|C|Am|C|
4. most basic thing that can be done is accenting all the strong notes of major chords. start with arpeggios and make some combinations, knock yourself out, there are lot of things that can be done.
5. In essense, realtive modes are modes within a key and share the same notes (C ionian, D dorian, E phrygian...) Parallel modes share the same root note, but other notes can be different since the interval layout is changed between the notes (C ionian, C dorian, C prhygian..)


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Shredly
post Jul 15 2009, 09:27 AM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jul 15 2009, 05:41 AM) *
Muris is right, you used C major as key center here, but if you say Am is the key center than Am becomes i chord, and progression is:

i - ii - III - iv - v - VI - VII


I think I just wrote it wrong cause this is the actual chord progression. Im still confused.

so if i play b locrian ,c ionian, d dor, e phr, f lyd, gmix over the amin chord things are pretty much the same?

Ok help me here... How do I get the sound of the modes other than aeolian over this progression? Is superimposing the way to do it?

Thanks guys, its taking a bit to make sense of this but I see it as essential to more of a free flow of improvisation


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 15 2009, 12:06 PM
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QUOTE (Shredly @ Jul 15 2009, 10:27 AM) *
I think I just wrote it wrong cause this is the actual chord progression. Im still confused.

so if i play b locrian ,c ionian, d dor, e phr, f lyd, gmix over the amin chord things are pretty much the same?

Ok help me here... How do I get the sound of the modes other than aeolian over this progression? Is superimposing the way to do it?

Thanks guys, its taking a bit to make sense of this but I see it as essential to more of a free flow of improvisation

the problem is with the question. When you ask: "if i play b locrian, c ionian.." what do you mean by "playing". Just to be clear, improvising is not about running modes up and down, or anything else for that matter, it's about making phrases using certain notes that are of importance to the overall harmony. Little phrase here, possibly and arpeggio, small interval, maybe a run, lick, this is how solo is usually constructed. Of course nobody thinks too much about these things, we all play what we learn over a longer period and then use it as a second nature. in addition to that, using notes properly is the goal in the end.
I really don't see the way for sounding other than in the key of C major here, cause you have a progression that goes from vi-vi following all the chords within a key. If you drift with some other mode you will be in another key, and you will get some dissonant note somewhere for sure. What you can do is use notes out of key as passing notes, for connecting other important notes within a key, give them new meaning or for some other function as well. What you can do and try to rehearse is what I suggested, take simple chord triads Am-C and loop it and then switch all the A minor type modes, and then switch all the C major type modes. Then go further, add more chords, examine keys see the chords, and see where you can go and where you cannot go. If you really want to go deeper, you have to start from the beginning, not the middle.


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David Wallimann
post Jul 15 2009, 02:36 PM
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Hi man,
I read your post about modes earlier...
Great questions.
Basically, you can see modes in two ways.
The first one is to simply see them as all relative to each other. For example, take a C Major scale, start that scale from the D (using all the same notes), you'll get a D Dorian scale.
Here's how it looks like:

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

That principle is useful as it allows you to play all over the fretboard using these modes as positions. However that won't sound modal as really you are only playing the same notes over and over in different positions. All the notes you are playing are "attracted" to the chords and key of your progression.

In order to sound modal, you need to have a chord progression that will attract all the notes you play making the intervals between that root and notes you play create a mode.

Here's part of a series I posted on Youtube a while back taling about that:



There are a bunch of different tracks specifically designed to help you hear those modes...

Let me know if that helps...


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Muris Varajic
post Jul 16 2009, 12:26 AM
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QUOTE (David Wallimann @ Jul 15 2009, 03:36 PM) *
That principle is useful as it allows you to play all over the fretboard using these modes as positions.


Now that's well said, using modes as positions isn't the best way to figure them out,
thanks Dave! smile.gif


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Shredly
post Jul 16 2009, 07:34 AM
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So the sound comes from the progression?
its more of knowing what you can play over a progression?
just because its a major progression doesnt mean youll be able to juggle all three modes , certain chords have to come into play right?

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Emir Hot
post Jul 16 2009, 08:22 AM
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QUOTE (Shredly @ Jul 16 2009, 07:34 AM) *
So the sound comes from the progression?
its more of knowing what you can play over a progression?
just because its a major progression doesnt mean youll be able to juggle all three modes , certain chords have to come into play right?


Exactly smile.gif


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Shredly
post Jul 16 2009, 08:47 AM
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QUOTE (Emir Hot @ Jul 16 2009, 05:22 PM) *
Exactly smile.gif


Enlightenment biggrin.gif

so knowing this it would help to be able to determine beforehand what modes to use or to be able to recognize which to use by hearing the mode of the progression?
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Emir Hot
post Jul 16 2009, 09:03 AM
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QUOTE (Shredly @ Jul 16 2009, 08:47 AM) *
Enlightenment biggrin.gif

so knowing this it would help to be able to determine beforehand what modes to use or to be able to recognize which to use by hearing the mode of the progression?


Yes, that's at least how I do it.


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David Wallimann
post Jul 16 2009, 02:09 PM
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QUOTE (Shredly @ Jul 16 2009, 03:47 AM) *
Enlightenment biggrin.gif

so knowing this it would help to be able to determine beforehand what modes to use or to be able to recognize which to use by hearing the mode of the progression?


Keep in mind that most of the time, you'll be able to group different chords to make them fit over a single mode too.
Don't get confused by trying to play a single mode over each chord, that is pointless as while playing you will automatically do that as all the modes extracted from the Major scale share the same notes...

I hope this didn't confuse you even more... :-/


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 16 2009, 06:29 PM
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great explanations guys, and Shredly:

In order to improvise good it is important to learn the chord progressions first and get used to them. Record lots of progressions, jam them all, practice, practice and get used to them. This will enable you to learn what modes go over what. You can learn the rules, but through this practice you will learn to apply them. Takes time, but you will get there, you learn fast! smile.gif


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