Modes and tips on how to use them?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Veltek, Jul 26, 2017.

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  1. Veltek

    Veltek Tele-Holic

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    So, I am trying to utilize modal playing when i solo over chords. But I am a little confused on the application.

    So lets say I play.... a II V I progression in G major. Which would be Am7 D7 and GMaj7

    Would I...

    1. use any of the Modes that fit G major (G Ionion, A Dorian, F# Locrian, B Phyrgian, etc...) for the whole progression, and changing at will?

    2. Use the scale that correlates to the specific chords (A Dorian, D Mixolydian, G Ionion) at each change.

    3. Or could I use any mode of any scale as long as the tonic note is the same? ( like using A Mixolydian over Amin7, D mixolydian over D7, and G Mixolydian over Gmaj7)

    When ever I try using 1 or 2, I always end up just feeling/sounding like I am using the Ionian scales. I'm not sure if I just have a strong urge to play the root at the 1 or if I am just missing a better way to get those "Styles" out of the different modes.

    Thanks fort he advice in advanced guys!
     
  2. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    So What and Impressions (same progression) define true "modal playing".




    (Love Dolphy on that!)

    The changes are:

    |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |
    |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |
    |Ebm|Ebm|Ebm|Ebm|Ebm|Ebm|Ebm|Ebm|
    |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm |

    Rather different from |Am7|D7|GMaj7|GMaj7, eh?

    What you are refering to is really CST - chord scale theory, identifying scales that fit chords. The mistake people make is to latch onto the scales and forget the chords. If you think:

    Am7 - A dorian (A B C D E F# G)
    D7 - D mixolydian (D E F# G A B C)
    GMaj7 G ionian (G A B C D E F# G)

    One *set* of notes, right? The key thing to outlining the changes to is emphasize the colour notes of the chords (primarily the 3rd and 7th). You shouldn't forget the chord for the scale.

    If you do that the scale choice is secondary -- that's the trick behind tritone subs.

    Rick Beato does a great example with Rhythm Changes, where it's all about outlining the changes.

     
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  3. Veltek

    Veltek Tele-Holic

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    Cool! thanks for this, i will have to watch the last video later this evening when I am "Working" but it looks helpful.

    So my question now is, is the third way I listed just totally wrong?
     
  4. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Sometimes it's wrong, sometimes it's okay.

    Example of wrong: D mixolydian (D E F# G A B C D) over Dm7: the F# over the Fnat of Dm7 will clash.

    Of course, any note can be played over any chord if you are careful. I just mean generally speaking here.

    Example of okay: C lydian (C D E F# G A B C) over CMaj7: the F# over the CMaj7 gives you a "lydian", or IV chord, sound. If fact, hanging onto a F# over CMaj7 (8x997x) sounds better than hanging onto a Fnat over a CMaj7 (8x996x).
     
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  5. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    the mixolydian mode of A contains a C#, so it would clash with the C natural in Amin7

    look, part of the beauty in modal playing is its simplicity -- I think you may be making this too complicated

    an easy way to think "modally" over a ii-V-I progression is to think of the whole progression as containing the notes of C ionian, i.e. CDEFGABC

    [ aside: but it's weird to think about strongly diatonic progressions with modes -- modes were ways of organizing notes before people settled for the idea of a diatonic 'key' ]

    but to *play* modally over that progression using that set of notes, you should probably think more about which of those notes to build melodies upon when the different chords come around

    this doesn't require you to think in any more complex way about mode/chord matching, but it does require a truly musical approach to forming melodies -- which Miles Davis demonstrates so masterfully above

    what he's doing there is constructing a simple rhythmic idea and then probing around it with different notes from the mode, sometimes emphasizing some, sometimes others

    there's an art to it, in other words -- and that art probably has more to do with rhythm and a feel for which dissonances are appropriate at a given time than any kind of mechanical formula derived from mode/chord matching

    does that make sense?

    a "mode" is just a frame put around a set of notes -- it can be that simple (and radical)
     
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  6. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    Before you get into modes an chord scales you just may want to investigate the concept of the harmonic line as presented by Adolph Sandole. Understanding this concept will aid in the understanding of how to apply these modes.
     
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  7. Veltek

    Veltek Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the input so far guys! I just recall reading each 'mode' should have a tonality and feel to it.

    Like Ionian is usually felt as being cheerful. while Dorian is more soulful, and phrygian more....idk, evil and dissonant?

    But when I try to play these modes over a chord progression no matter if I am in their 'position' on the fretboard or anything, I end up feeling like I am just playing the Ionian or Aeolian mode. Thought maybe I was doing something wrong, but I guess I am not putting the right emphasis on the tonal centers in the chords. I think part of this has to do with the fact I started out as a classical musician and feel/hear music more mechanically.

    Guess I just need more practice! thanks everyone.
     
  8. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

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    In your example, the three modes you listed are all part of G major. It's just using 3 different chords from that key. So, I would just think G major for all 3. What will make it sound like you are playing the changes is when you highlight the notes of the chord that is happening at the time. You can use your ears and just noodle around over that ii V I using G major, or get analytical and slowly work out lines and licks that connect the notes of those chords. You can find some tabbed or notated ii V licks...
    Modal playing is stuff like the Miles Davis above, ii V's are not something that would be associated with modal playing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  9. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    it depends which notes you emphasize

    if you play A D C E G (all in the ionian mode), you can suggest a minor chord kind of sound

    modes are palettes of sounds
     
  10. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    crap, sorry I hit the wrong button
     
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  11. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    That's how I tend to think of it...
    As the chord changes the starting note and color notes of the scale change.... but it's still just a G major scale ;)

    You are... it's G Ionian. The mode changes as the chords change and you emphasis the different notes... but it's essentially the same scale.
     
  12. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

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    If you learn them in parallel (G Ionian, G Dorian, G Phrygian ...), which you should do once you get the overall concept of what they are and where they come from, then you'll learn the notes that make them different from each other. These are the notes that give a "mode" its sound.
    So for example, I and IV (Ionian and Lydian) are major with major 7's, but the Lydian has a sharp 11 (or 4th degree) and Ionian has a natural 11 - Ionian has a natural everything.
    Aeolian or natural minor is b3, b6, and b7. Dorian minor has a natural 6.
    So if you are playing Lydian over a major seven you make sure to play the #11 and not a natural 11. If you play Dorian minor, use the natural 6th. Lydian major and Dorian minor are the two most common alternate sounds to regular major and minor. I'd loop up a major chord or record one on your phone or something, and play regular major over it, then try Lydian major. Do the same with a minor chord, and play natural minor/Aeolian then try Dorian minor. Do it in parallel, so G Ionian, then G Lydian (which is the notes of D major) over a G major or major seven chord. G Aeolian minor then G Dorian minor (Bbmajor then F major over your G minor chord).
    Hopefully this makes sense to you...
     
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  13. stringslinger

    stringslinger Tele-Holic

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    Context matters. The "sounds" of modes as you have mentioned are not easily apparent in chord progressions that are in an obvious key. Like if your example of Am7-D7-G, that's all in G major. So overall it sounds like Ionian (major scale).

    Take a funk tune. Those are mostly modal as you vamp over one chord for an extended period. Commonly we hear funk grooves over min7 (Dorian) or dominant 7 (mixolydian) chords. In Superstition by Stevie Wonder, most of the song stays on Ebmin7 and it's Dorian. That would make the I chord technically Db, but that is never played. So Ebmin always sounds like "home," and it gives us the colors of Dorian.

    Metal tunes may mostly be Aeolian, or Phrygian sometimes, as that mode's chord is held as the "tonic."

    In fusion, you come across chord progressions that don't stay in one key. Ex) CMaj7, Gmin7, AbMaj7, Fmin7. Just made that up, but it may sound cool. In this case, each chord will have a corresponding mode (perhaps a couple options), and that mode's "sound" will give you different colors as the chords change.

    Hope that helps! Context matters. Play some tunes that stay over one chord or two chords.
     
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  14. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I suggest going minor! It's too easy over Am7 D7 GMaj7 just to noodle in G major. How about a 2-5-1 in G minor?

    Am7b5 D7#5b9 Gmin6
     
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