Wicked Game - Is it really dorian?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Guran, Sep 24, 2009.

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  1. Guran

    Guran Friend of Leo's

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    The recent threads about modes got me thinking about Chris Isaak's Wicked Game. It is usually referred to as B dorian, but is it really that? I hear it more like E mixolydian.

    I hear the E chord as home and I don't really hear it a minor sound.

    What do you say, do I have a wicked (pun intended) ear? How do you hear it?
     
  2. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think you have a point, but I think it's both. The B is Dorian, the E is Mixolydian, and the A is Ionian.

    The question is, is it in B or E?

    The intro riff, open B, hammer on/bend up to F#, screams B to me.

    It's not quite as sad as straight minor, but it still sounds melancholy, which is distinctively Dorian.
     
  3. fakeocaster

    fakeocaster Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Its not a modal tune. Its in A Major which has the same notes as E Mixolydian and B dorian but you dont need that kind of theory to find the right notes
     
  4. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    What are you talking about? It never resolves to A. It's in Bm, as in two sharps, with the third sharp written as an accidental for the E major chord. At least that's how I'd write it... :oops:
     
  5. Guran

    Guran Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not really looking for the notes here, as I already know them.

    Still I dare to say that it's not A major. It's the same collection of notes, yes, but the A chord is definitely not home.
     
  6. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Jay is right, it's in Bmin. Modes are not keys. Modes are scales. Scales are what you play if you can't think of melodies, keys are what you write the tune in to restrict the amount of accidentals and make sense of the notes on the staff.
    There's a misunderstanding here, I think, that there is some sort of narrow range of allowable ideas based on some modal rules, or that every tune has some modal connection. Leaving modal tunes aside (this isn't one), forget the word mode. If you want to play scales over the chords, you're probably going to be mostly playing a B minor scale over the Bmin, very likely resembling the notes of a D major scale, a B natural minor. When the piece moves along to E7, that chord has a G# in it. That doesn't mean the whole thing is B Dorian, it just means that an E7 has a G#.
    Once guitar students find out that there is a diatonic chord scale that harmonizes a major scale, and that those chords coincide with the Greek modes, they often get the impression that they have to apply this new knowledge to every tune they see. Again once they learn what a II V change is, they think every minor to a 7th a fourth away describes II V to an implied I, and see modes lurking everywhere. Sometimes, it's just a minor chord and a 7th up a fourth, which may be a tension substitution for a minor IV.
     
  7. cuzzinmark

    cuzzinmark Tele-Meister

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    Gotta say, the B sounds like home to me. I play it live a lot, and have added a little intro where the other guitar player alternates between Bm and A/B-one chord per measure. Like that intro to Hotel California the Eagles did during their comeback. Sounds nice. I vary which 6 I use there-sometimes the b6 (natural minor), sometimes the natural 6 (dorian). When the tune starts, though, I'm tagging that G# (sometimes I play a little in the middle, and I'm sure to hit that note over the E chord).
    Just one of my favorite tunes and tones EVER. I remember after seeing the movie, my girlfriend wanted to talk about all the sex, and all I could say was "sex? What sex? Did you hear that amazing music?" I was so happy when the actual song hit the charts and everyone knew what I was talking about-huge influence on my ideas about clean tone being powerful, too. That CD never leaves my car-sometimes I still need me a fix of some JW-gotta go get that green album people here have talked about...
     
  8. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    If you're talking about the G#, yeah, you can touch on it anytime, but the G natural has to be bent up against the E7, or it will clash way too much. Because a tune is in Bmin doesn't mean that when the chord changes to E7, that playing an E7 scale over that chord implies a change to a B Dorian mode, it's a tortured way to think of it ... Bmin Dorian over E7 is just convoluted. If you're still fresh to modes and have to relate them to every thing you play, you're better off thinking of an E mixolydian over the E7, but that's very limiting and the least musical way to approach soloing.
    Simply, you have two chords, and two ways of harmonizing those chords basically, but playing over this change by ear will net more satisfying results and you should be able to pick out the good notes, and avoid the bad ones, without having to refer to a couple of scales as a reference.
     
  9. cuzzinmark

    cuzzinmark Tele-Meister

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    Umm...I was stating that over the intro progression I added (Bm-A/B) I varied which of those 2 notes I used. Nowhere was I talking about playing a G during the actual song, in fact, I clearly stated that exact point. I'm assuming the rest of your post is in response to the initial query or previous comments (even though I'm the one quoted before it), since I never really said I was playing from a modal point of view-just implying that raising the 6 in a minor scale says 'dorian' on some level in my brain-and, again, over the added intro, not the song. I agree that, for me, that kind of thinking gets in the way of spinning nice melodies at the speed of thought and of reacting emotionally to the changes as they happen-not to mention limiting my note choices, but that's just me. If it helps somebody else because their brain works differently, then far be it from me to say they are wrong.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2009
  10. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    I wish Mr WickedGTR would drop in here and tell us what mode he was playing...
     
  11. Guran

    Guran Friend of Leo's

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    I take this as a tounge-in-cheek comment, but why do you dislike that we discuss theory? Some of us enjoy the discussion...
     
  12. fakeocaster

    fakeocaster Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Im not saying that it has to resolve to A:just that Bm7 and E occur in A major so the obvious thing is to draw on that as a common resource and use your ears. Indeed 5 of the available 7 notes in this scale are chord tones. Theres no need to think in terms of modes in this case
     
  13. Guran

    Guran Friend of Leo's

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    I wasn't asking the question in OP to learn how to play it. You don't have to convince me to not approach the song from the angle of playing modes. I have never claimed to play anything like "some B dorian lick over the D chord" in typical fancy-guitar-mag style. I am a great fan of the "it's just the major scale" approach.

    I still like to learn as much as possible about how things work, be it music, rocket engines, wine making or whatever. I am trying to understand modality. It's a matter of understanding one aspect of music that I will most likely never use. Still I would like to understand it.

    I was pretty sure this is a modal tune, but several poster has said it's not. I thought I was beginning to understand it, but apparently I was not.

    One question: What makes it not modal?

    The way I saw it is that it's not straight major, and it's not natural, harmonic or melodic minor. No strong resolutions. The chords consist of notes from the A major scale, so it has to be related to A major in some way. B or possibly E could be considered kind of home. Then the modes of the song could, from my probably false understanding, be B dorian or E mixo, maybe depending on how you hear it.

    If someone could point me in the direction of some article or something that explains modality (not just how to derive the modes from a major scale, I know how to do that, but what makes a tune modal) correctly, I would highly appreciate it.
     
  14. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    Remember that a mode is not the same thing as a scale.

    A mode is the way in which a thing is done.

    Indeed, modal music has it's own unique treatment of harmony as well as melody. Modality is an entire system of music in its own right and must not be confused with modern tonality in any way.
     
  15. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    The guy who played it posts here fairly regularly.
    WickedGTR
    James Wilsey. Maybe he'll chime in - ?
     
  16. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I hear resolution on the E.

    But why do y'all think one mode has to fit the whole progression?
     
  17. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    It's in E. It starts on the Vm, goes to the IV, then to the I.
     
  18. Guran

    Guran Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, I hear E as home in this one (and it ends on E).

    To answer your question, I think it just started with my misunderstanding of modality. I was so sure this actually is a modal song...
     
  19. Guran

    Guran Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, that's how I hear it. Is there a name for this? For a I-IV-v? I thought it was mixolydian then, but apparently there's something I haven't understood.

    BTW, JayFreddy, I follow what you were saying as well!
     
  20. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    This rockabilly inspired tune, clearly written to evoke dark, dissonant, and sensual atmosphere, is in the key of B minor. Whether it could just as well be written as though it's in E is irrelevant. Some of the newer Real books have Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" written in Eb and resolving momentarily to Eb7, even though the tune is in Bb and actually resolves from Bb Maj#11 to Bb Maj7. All the older fake books wrote it correctly in Bb, then some nerd transcribed Miles Davis' version, and decided that the tune is suddenly got the same chords but should be written in three flats.
    Now, presumably the folks that transcribe for fake books should know what they're doing, but there are still numerous mistakes in even current versions, this being an example.


    I'm hearing the last note of "Wicked Game", as "B", ie. "I'll never fall in Love ... again." "love" and "again" are "B" unless I'm remembering wrong.

    Remind me, how does it end on "E"? Do you mean an "E" chord? The rule of thumb (for which there are plenty of exceptions)is that the key is usually the last note of the MELODY, not the last chord of the tune.
     
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