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> Memorise The Modes More Easily
Ben Higgins
post Aug 19 2014, 10:30 AM
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I briefly mentioned mnemonics on this thread, which is an umbrella term referring to memory techniques used to memorise and recall information. I idly wondered how it could be applied to remembering the order of the modes:

Ionian, Dorian, Phyrgian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian.

I'd looked to see if anyone had done this already. People suggest a few lists http://www.abrsm.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=40667 that used the 1st letter of each word but I didn't think they were particularly effective as there are two modes beginning with L and these weren't clearly distinguished by the lists. Not only that but Phrygian sounds like 'Fridge', it doesn't have a hard 'P' so it's not close to the actual word. Using a word list might work for some people in this instance but I don't like it for the modes as the words are too complex and can be confused too easily.

So I'm going to look at how we could use visual imagery to represent the modal names instead.

The first time I encountered mnemonics was in a book by Derren Brown. He described a linking system that used visual imagery to represent the words. The images had to interact with each other in some way to present a visual sequence of events that could be easily recalled by the mind. If you make the images silly or make them interact with each other in a ridiculous way, you're more likely to remember them more easily. http://www.skillstoolbox.com/career-and-ed...nemonic-system/

In order to represent a word with an image, the image can sound like the word in some way, or part of the word. Or, if the word is an actual object in real, like 'monkey' or 'chair' then that's very easy to represent. Let's go through the modes and I'll do my best to conjure up some examples.

IONIAN: The first 2 letters are I & O. This makes me think of 'I owe you' which is commonly abbreviated to I.O.U. So for this, I would visualise a piece of paper with I.O.U written on it.

DORIAN: This is easier if you know someone called 'Dorian'. For any British people who remember the series 'Birds of a Feather' we can just picture the character 'Dorian' ! Or you might prefer to use the first syllable of the word 'Dor' and turn it into a 'door' instead. But instead of a static door, give this door hands and feet and a big, smiley face. Make it as real as you can.

PHRYGIAN: The first syllable of this word sounds phonetically the same as 'fridge'. So I'm going to use a big, white fridge.

LYDIAN: This one's more tricky. If you've played Skyrim then you might be able to conjure up a picture of the character 'Lydia'. If you know of anybody called 'Lydia' then use them if you like. Other than that, I'm stuck on what else to suggest so maybe we could get some suggestions on this one wink.gif

MIXOLYDIAN: I'm going to use the 1st syllable of this word, 'mix'. You'll see how I incorporate it later.

AEOLIAN: Simple. This word bears a similarity to 'alien' so we're going to picture a typical alien, with a big head and wide eyes.

LOCRIAN: Another simple one. I'm going to use the 1st syllable again, which is 'Lock' and turn it into 'lock.' This can be represented by a big padlock.

In the cases of Dorian and Lydian, they can be represented easily by people's names but if you can't picture anyone with those names then make some phonetic connection to the word.

Right, let's try it out and see how we can put them into a sequence. I'll be using my images now.

A piece of paper with I.O.U. written on it is lying on the ground.
Dorian from Birds of a Feather strolls over and picks the piece of paper up, putting it in her pocket.
She continues walking until she comes to a big, shiny white Fridge.
She opens the Fridge and sitting in the fridge is Lydia.
Lydia isn't just sat there, though, she's got a spoon and yoghurt pot and is Mixing fruit into the yoghurt.
All of a sudden, an Alien beams down from the sky, landing right in front of the whole scene.
He slams the fridge door shut and in the blink of an eye, has wrapped a chain and mighty padlock around the fridge.

It's pretty silly but you can see how it works now. It's probably a lot better if you can conjure up your own mental imagery but I bet you that you only had to run that sequence through your mind a few times before you can easily recall it. Whilst recalling it, can you put the modal name to the image ? Is there any other aspect of guitar playing or music theory where we might be able to apply this technique ?


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Hajduk
post Aug 19 2014, 11:23 AM
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Thats awesome Ben, there was a book I bought years ago by a fellow named Harry Loraine He taught the same techniques for memorizing, I would use it for remembering peoples drink and food orders and yes the more ridiculous the association the better I would remember, going to try it for music now smile.gif


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jstcrsn
post Aug 19 2014, 12:25 PM
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cheating off of Ben's answer . I shortened it.

I O Dorian a phrig, but his wife Lydian and I don't mix to well. I sometimes think she is a alien and would love to lock her in the a fore mentioned fridge
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Ben Higgins
post Aug 19 2014, 01:18 PM
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QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Aug 19 2014, 12:25 PM) *
cheating off of Ben's answer . I shortened it.

I O Dorian a phrig, but his wife Lydian and I don't mix to well. I sometimes think she is a alien and would love to lock her in the a fore mentioned fridge


Haha, I like this. I might modify the ending to:

I owe Dorian a Fridge, but his wife Lydia and I don't Mix too well. I sometimes think she's an Alien and would love to Lock her away. biggrin.gif

That way we can dispense with the fridge at the end as it was only used as a vessel to house Lydia and serve as something to be locked.


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casinostrat
post Aug 22 2014, 03:55 AM
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Well there is always the classic

I
Dig
Playing
Leave
Me
A
Lone

I= Ionian, D=Dorian, Etc.


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