Modes and Circle of Fifths

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by kbold, May 18, 2019.

  1. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Having some free time, I paddled through old posts relating to modes.

    There seems to be a range of opinions and uses for the application of modes, so I thought I’d throw may hat into the ring and lay down how I approach modes. (I feel somewhat apprehensive, knowing there are posters here much more knowledgable than myself).

    Firstly, some memorise them as inversions of the relative major key, and so don’t have to add another scale pattern to their arsenal. This is OK, but I think it limits the ability to apply modes in different ways.

    I prefer to memorise the mode patterns, which allows easier application of modes (there’s only seven patterns to memorise, so it’s easy- even for me).

    Using a 4-note-per-string scale, the octave stays on a string pair.
    3 pairs of strings (E/A, D/G and B/E). (Also works on the A/D string pair).
    Ignoring the root note, you have seven 3-note-per-string patterns to memorise.


    Modes can be seen both as “Key based” or “Root based”.
    (This is my definition, so may not be the correct terminology).

    Key based modes are inversions of the same scale. Using modes this way, you can see the chords embedded within the parent scale. i.e. All modes in the key of C (C is the parent scale).

    For example, in the key of C you have:

    Mode >> Assoc Chords.
    C Ionian (major) >> C CM7
    D Dorian >> Dm Dm7
    E Phrygian >> Em Em7
    F Lydian >> F FM7
    G Mixolydian >> G G7
    A Aeolian (Minor) >>Am Am7
    B Locrian >> Bm7b5


    Root based modes are modes with the same root note. This way you can see chords or melodies based on different key signatures that work with the root. i.e. Same root note but different parent key. These also create a pathway to key changes within the song.

    In the key of C:

    Mode .... Parent key .... Interval changes .... Effect
    C Lydian .... G .... #4 .... Bright #4 wants to resolve
    C Ionian (major).... C .... .... Bright, stable
    C Mixolydian .... F .... b7 .... Bright but softer
    C Dorian .... Bb .... b7 b3 .... Soulful
    C Aeolian (minor).... E .... b7 b3 b6 .... Sad, stable
    C Phrygian .... Ab .... b7 b3 b6 b2 .... Dark, brooding
    C Locrian .... Db .... b7 b3 b6 b2 b5 .... Dark, sinister, unstable


    Notice that I’ve sequenced on the circle of fifths.
    This has 2 advantages: there is only one note change between adjacent modes, and the sequence represents the mood changes of the modes.

    Modes sequence as major, minor, diminished.
    The first 3 are major = brighter, happy. Lydian is brighter than Ionian; Mixolydian is softer.
    The next 3 are minor = sadder, moodier. Dorian is lighter than Aeolian; Phrygian is darker.

    Locrian is a scale most ignore (except jazz and speed metal players). With a flattened 3 and 5, there’s not much left of its C-ness, and wants desperately to resolve (to a new key).


    Everyone likes a chart, so I’ll finish with one.

    Notes:
    Both the Modes and Key/Scale sequences are arranged in Circle of Fifths.
    The notes in the array can represent either scale notes or root notes.
    The far right column shows which intervals of that mode are raised or lowered (# or b).

    Key Based approach (where does my mode start?)
    Each column represents the notes of the major scale (arranged in 5ths reading down the column, and in 4ths reading up).
    The notes in the columns also represent the starting note (root note) of the associated mode.
    e.g. In the key of D, Dorian mode starts on the 2nd interval (E) (= E Dorian)

    Root Based approach (what scale is this mode built from?)
    Each row represents a mode. Select a note from the row as the modes root note.
    The parent key is labelled at the top of that column.
    e.g. E Dorian > parent key is D

    Hopefully someone finds this of some use.
    Modes-Table.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  2. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    Great chart!

    I know this is just a 'general' classification but it's important to note that these chords associated with these modes are dependent on how they function in a chord progression. For example: A aeolian really only works with Am7 if that Am7 is a iii chord (or just a static, one chord jam). It can sound pretty horrible if that Am7 is the ii chord in a progression.
     
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  3. Theorage

    Theorage Tele-Meister

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    I love new ways to visualize note relationships! Thanks for your post and chart. While many here are modal scale gurus, it's nice to see it uniquely arranged. Personally, I geek out on this kind of thing for songwriting...
     
  4. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    For me this arrangement helped me understand how modes can be used to affect the mood and emotion of a song.

    Also notice, for example, the root notes of the modes run symmetrically diagonal. Now the Locrian has one single note that can change - the root note flattened to B.
    So you can see the chart cycles back on itself. Single note changes C Locrian to B Lydian. (Key centre from C to B). I can't at the moment think of an example of this, but at least I know it's there.

    This works upwards on the chart as well.
    C Lydian > C# Locrian (Key centre from C to C#/Db)

    As they say in Chinese philosophy; Extreme Yin becomes Yang, and extreme Yang becomes Yin.
     
  5. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    You recommended Rick Beatos youtube videos in another post, which took me down the rabbit hole. Thanks for this recommendation - he really knows his stuff and presents it well.

    One of his videos is discussing "Mirror Modal Series".



    It is interesting to note that on my chart, the three modes below Dorian are a full set of "Modal Mirrors" of the three modes above Dorian. Dorian, being a palindrome is equivalent played ascending or descending.

    He also refers to the change in Brightness / Darkness of the modes which corresponds with my interpretation.

    So this begs the question: Is Dorian mode (being the centre mode of the seven) the most neutral of the modes??
    (By neutral I mean emotively neutral).
     
  6. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    For me no. I don't buy into or even associate chords or scales with brightness or darkness. It's all contextual for me. Where they "go" or where they move away from. You can use any of the modes over both major type and minor type chords. It just depends on how you employ them - their context. For example; A dorian is equally at home over Am7, Cmaj7#11, F#m7b5 and D7. A collection of "popularly" classified bright and dark chords.

    This is where the 'modes' discussion (and general approach) goes awry on the internet - even in Beato's vids. There's only so much you can functionally explain in an hour or two. Don't even start me on 'negative' harmony. *New name for an old and well worn concept.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  7. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Most western music is composed to,
    1. go somewhere with melody/chord/rhythm
    2. the psychological need to conclude a section and/or the whole song.

    One of the most popular progression devices to do this is to use the "iim V7 Imaj" progression to complete a section of a song.

    These are the basic mode/scales and their "functional" uses to solo over Dm7 G7 Cmaj7

    . . Dm7. . . . . . . G7. . . . . . . Cmaj7
    . .dorian. . . mixolydian. . . ionian
    . F.lydian. . . .B locrian. . . A.aeolian
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .E phrygian

    So as far as scale sounds over these chords, Dorian and Lydian work together as one sound to create the sounds we associate with the iim7. It also means what works for scales also work for chords,

    These are the same Dm7 G7 Cmaj7 as the first progression here, only using substitute chords that jive with the scales we talked about. So if you're playing a G7 blues use the Bm7b5 chord x2323xx instead of G7, sounds great.

    Dm7 G7 Cmaj7
    Fmaj7 G7 Cmaj7
    Dm7 Bm7b5 Cmaj7
    Fmaj7 Bm7b5 Cmaj7
    Dm7 G7 Am7
    Dm7 G7 Em7
    ???

    This mixes up the modes so it can't be called modal, it's just C F G chords and their use as the backbone of good ol' R&R talk.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  8. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    Ear .... after you plow through all of that crap EAR is the only mode that matters eh?
     
  9. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Plow? I don't plow through music.
    Tell me how you do it.
     
  10. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    look

    a mode is just a movable picture frame around the white keys on a piano

    C to C
    D to D
    E to E etc

    but here's the kicker: in C major, if you circle around various notes, you're playing modal melodies in miniature

    so think like that: make one part of melody center around G, then F, then then G again, then come down somehow to rest on C

    then try different notes as centers

    chords will suggest themselves

    way back when, people thought in terms of "tetrachords," or four-note groups

    still useful
     
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  11. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Only in the the key of C, and only if you stay within "Key based modes" (modes constructed from the C scale).
     
  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    principle is the same, even for Messiaen's modes which span multiple octaves

    a mode is an array, and some arrays have centers of gravity like finals (tonics) and reciting tones (dominants, more or less)

    I really like modal melodies because they are less predictable
     
  13. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    I wouldn't call it modal or mini modal if I'm playing Dm7 G7 Cmaj7, it's not modal it called functional harmony.

    Again, the need for the meaning of functional music.

    Functional, and please correct me, is the progression of the 3rds and 7ths through the diatonic circle of 4ths.
    Here's the diatonic progression,
    Cmaj7 Fmaj7 B°7 Em7 Am7 Dm7 G7 C

    Here is the 3rd and 7th, the essential tones, moving through the same progression, this is the part of the chord that tells whether it's major minor or diminished (dim=b5). These are the most important notes in the chord.
    Play with and without the (roots).

    Cmaj7. Fmaj7. Bm7b5. Em7. Am7. Dm7. G7. Cmaj7
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    --9--------9------7------7------5-----5-----4-----4
    --9--------7------7------5------5-----3-----3-----2
    -----------(8)-----------(7)-----------(5)---------(3)< roots
    -(8)-------------(7)------------(5)---------(3)------ < roots
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  14. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    Without an ox. If you had some of the teachers I had you would understand.
     
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  15. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    true, but that's a big if

    what if you let go of "key" and let other things provide musical structure?

    if you play F to F (authentic lydian), you may find yourself playing "in C" at some point
     
  16. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, out ear will navigate us through.

    At least that's what they promised in chapter 3.
     
  17. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I'd just like to chime in and say that I don't think it is a good idea to ascribe a particular mood to a key, chord, scale, mode in the abstract. Mood arises in a musical context, in musical time. I'm with Ken on this, I think.
     
  18. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Many years ago i drew this out to give me the basic fundimentals of scales modes chord scales and chord building if this is of some use please have at it



    Scan_4.jpeg
     
  19. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Favourite mode: Pie à la Mode

    [​IMG]
     
  20. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    That looks really good,
     
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