Scale/Mode Theory Questions

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Texicaster, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Meister

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    ¡Bueno!

    So when I'm starting to jam I start with pentatonic or major scale patterns. I use the patterns to shift between major and minor and will drop in chromatics etc... CAGED approach

    If you asked me which modes I was playing I'd shrug my shoulders. In essence I'm playing no scale or key per se. I'm using rudimentary (I'm not very accomplished!) target notes based on chords of tune and bounce around.

    SO when an artists says they are playing in say G Mixolydian does that mean they are playing the flatted 7th or more to the point NOT the major scale 7th?

    I was reading a discussion about Garcia's approach to Tangled Up In Blue and the consensus of better players than I he plays A mixolydian BUT I hear plenty of chromatic notes... SO if I was trying to crack this version how and why would flatting the 7th with all the other stuff going on make a difference at all?

    So again is the essence of mixolydian the inclusion of flatted 7th or exclusion of major scale 7th?

    TEX
     
  2. Mexitele Blues

    Mexitele Blues Tele-Meister

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    The mixolydian mode is a major scale beginning on the 5 tone, e.g., a C major scale from G to G. The flatted 7th is absolutely its defining characteristic. The major 7th can still be used as a passing tone.
     
  3. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If you are playing G Mixolydian, one of your target notes is F natural.
     
  4. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Meister

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    SO

    If I'm trying to crack the sound of a tune and someone tells me it's G mixolydian I should actually put an emphasis on the flat 7th...F natural in this case EVEN if I adding all kinds of other non major scale notes along the way? Other notes as passing notes...

    I always get the image of skipping across a stream and the major notes are nice big dry safe stones I can get a foot hold on. Other stones (non scalar notes) has varying degrees of size and slipperiness and I'll get my feet wet and even take a dip if I try to linger on one of those small wet stones....

    So in G mixolydian F natural is one of the bigger drier flatter stones....

    TEX
     
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  5. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well put!
     
  6. Mexitele Blues

    Mexitele Blues Tele-Meister

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    What a fantastic metaphor. I love getting a peak into how others process music.
     
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  7. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Another, prosaic, way to think about it is that modes have note that given them their distinctive character. For Phrygian (example. E Phrygian: E F G A B C D E), the b2 (F nat) gives the mode its distinctive character. It's not a stable note -- it's dissonant -- but that's the point to Phrygian.

     
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  8. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Sometimes I think I understand this and sometimes I don’t. Someone please tell me if I’m thinking correctly about this.

    The notes in the myxolydian mode are the notes of a major scale starting and ending on the 5th. The notes are the same notes of a “G” major scale. If that is so, a “C” myxolydian scale are the same as the notes in a “C” major scale with the single exception that the seventh step, a B flat, is a flatted seventh. What’s confusing is seeing the scale referred to as a G myxolydian scale. There is no B flat in that scale. The flatted seventh is an F. Someone please tell my I finally understand this. Thanks folks.
     
  9. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You may be confused since you mentioned C Mixolydian and G major scale. Those have different sets of notes.

    Example: C Mixolydian. Start with C. It is the fifth note of the ...
    [​IMG]

    ... F major scale.

    F major scale: F G A Bb C D E F
    C Mixolydian: C D E F G A Bb C
     
  10. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    When someone says they're playing in mixolydian, it usually means that the song is in a mixolydian key, not that they are playing notes strictly within a mixolydian scale. It also means, in the most basic sense, that they probably aren't using the regular 7 much, or at all, but the b7.

    Mixolydian is probably the most common rock-n-roll, and even pop, mode once you get into the '60s and beyond – more so than standard major IMO. It's just regular major chord intervals, but with a b7 CHORD (i.e. not always a b7 NOTE) instead of a regular 7. It doesn't mean that you play the 5 chord as a minor, though, because it's generally not STRICTLY mixolydian. There are few things that stay 100 percent, strictly within the scales of their key, and it is usually very old, traditional music that does so (much simplistic folk music, e.g.).

    Put the idea of relativity in modes to the back of your mind. It is what is stressed when teaching/learning them, but it has little practical use to think of them that way. It helps you to see what it going on with them when you are learning them. But to actually use them, it's best to think of them as alternate sets of intervals to a regular major or minor scale. I.e. don't think of the 1 as shifting when you use modes. Big mistake that most attempting to use or understand modes seem to make. No, friend, you are NOT playing in G major when playing a D mix. song! You are playing in D mix...which happens to contain the same note names as G major. Play a D mix. song in G major, and your melodies will sound terrible and un/awkwardly resolved. I hear things like statements like the above all the time, and it betrays a very flawed understanding of the application of modes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
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  11. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    This is a really apt metaphor! Please allow me to borrow it for a moment to expand on it. Not only can you "get a foot hold on" the larger stones but you can safely sit on them for a while without creating tension (you're balanced, relaxed)...but this can get boring and you might feel the desire for adventure and risk.....so you can also choose to stand for a while on a smaller, slipperier stone but you will feel the tension from the lack of stability and the tendency to want to re-balance by choosing a more stable larger stone again....and choosing the stones in a way that creates a nice adventure of rest and tension is one of the foundations of interesting phrasing.
     
  12. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Jerry lived in mixolydian mode. I think of it as a major scale with a dominant or b7 instead of a major 7. It always plays very well with a dominant 7 chord, which uses the b7 instead of the major 7 in its construction.

    So when Jerry played he was often noodling away in mixolydian, but throwing in other passing tones here and there. But his mental framework was mixolydian. When I jam along with Dead tunes I find myself doing exactly the same thing.

    As an analogy, suppose you are playing a classic blues progression in the key of A. The chords are A7, D9, E9, for example. A beginning improviser will typically play the A blues scale or A minor pentatonic over that progression, all day long. As they learn more they start to see the value of throwing the I chord's major 3rd in there (C#)...which a lot of classic blues players do a LOT. But even with the major 3rd added, the fundamental mental improvisational framework is still the A blues scale. Still more extra notes get added, such as the major 2nd....but the mental framework remains A blues scale.

    Now, as a person progresses in their playing they start to add other frameworks to work from. If they are still playing an A blues progression they start realizing they can play the actual arpeggio over each chord and that works wonderfully, too. A C# E G over A7 (exactly the same notes that make an A7 chord), D F# A C E is the arpeggio for D9, etc. But while thinking within those new frameworks they start adding extra notes for flavor. Another example of a different framework that works over an A blues is that you can play an A dorian mode over an A7 and that sounds hip, too. As another example, guys like Robben Ford love using the diminished scale as an additional framework, especially when passing from one chord to another.

    So the point is that even if you are playing other notes outside of a particular mode or arpeggio, in your mind as a player you are thinking of that particular mode or arpeggio as your baseline improvisational framework at that moment in the solo. As you add various notes to additional frameworks pretty soon all 12 tones are covered. But adding various extra notes to a fundamental underlying framework that is based on a mode or arpeggio ends up sounding quite different than actually playing directly from a chromatic framework.
     
  13. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Great thread. I learn more here than any place else. Something about reading the nterchange and getting multiple insights...:)
     
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  14. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Meister

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    YEP!

    When I use say C major as a crutch for G mixolydian I can falter. I still work from patterns first and then orient myself to key. I do have a decent grasp of G major and minor up the neck note wise but if I want to linger in a certain tonality I may use C major as the "safe stream crossing stones". This is kinda silly as I really just need to find F...!

    G and C a simple example but I rely upon it more in other keys.

    I need a good big wall poster of the fretboard! I used to have the "Be Dangerous On Rock Guitar" by Richard Daniels.... I wish I had that still....

    TEX
     
  15. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Excellent question, playing chromatic totally blurs 7 note scales to the point you have to say "I'm not playing scales".

    Jerry Garcia was a great person to bring up as an example of this "blurring". I am a huge Steve Kimock fan and he has EXPLAINED this chromatic world that Jerry and Steve both live (lived) in. Steve's freely talked about Jerry's style and technique over on TGP since '06. He explains the difference between the 7 note scales played on the fret, and the 5 note blues scales played off the fret, the blurry notes microbends that bend up and down in pitch between the frets.

    All this has been codified and exists in an intense book called HARMONIC EXPERIENCE by Alloudin Mathieu.

    Jerry didn't really know he was playing with some of Mathieu ideas. And that's good news because Jerry shows these sounds can be created without studying H.E. Basically H.E. is an exploration of the two languages of diatonic 12edo language and the blues language.

    12EDO = 12 Equal Divisions of an Octave, what the frets are. Blues delves into Just Intonation mixed with 12edo.

    https://www.academia.edu/9009417/Review_Harmonic_Experience_W._A._Mathieu
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  16. Mrbob135

    Mrbob135 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    The notes of the G mixolydian mode are the notes of the C major scale, from G to G (5th). So: G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G. That gives you the F natural, which is the flatted 7th relative to the G. The flatted 7th refers to the Mixolydian mode of G, not the C Major scale it was formed from...If that helps.
     
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  17. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Boring old mixolydian. You have my permission to use modes of the DARKEST SCALE EVAH.

     
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  18. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

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    There's two ways to think of it. One is to think of modes relative to the major scale they are a degree of. So, for C major, start at the 5th (G) and you get G mixolydian. Same set of notes.
    Then to go slightly more advanced you can learn them in parallel which you are already started to do when you notice that a mixolydian scale is like a major scale with a flat 7th.
    So in parallel, you have C major, and if you flat the 7th you have C mixolydian.
     
  19. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Excellent, relative vs parallel.

    Of all the books I have, around 200, only Mick Goodrick has talked about the topic in his book The Advancing Guitarist. Harmonic Experience also mentions it in far more depth. But Goodrick is the one that can really bring the topic down to earth, unlike H.E.
     
  20. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm confused about your use of CAGED.
    CAGED is not an approach or a method because in its fundamental popular form it is simply showing you where the three chord tones of a given chord are found on the neck. It doesn't go anywhere, it's just a static picture. And that's not a method.

    You can use it to find locations of the chord and chord tones. I differentiate the two because you may only use one or two chord tones and not the full CAGED chord shape in the CAGED area, like playing a dyad, or double stop.

    So imo, and it is just my opinion, it functions more like a map with x and y coordinances. It's easy to go past the simplicity of the 5 shapes and "connect the dots"from one shape to the neighbor to create more variety, like I tend to play the G shape and the E shape sort of like 1 shape, same with E and D shapes, there are no partitions between the shapes because in actual playing all over the neck, it's just one big design. Like in the famous statement, "Mr C chord, tear down these walls", ideas flow from one shape into the next, like a fluid. That's how guitar technique works for me, the 5 CAGED shapes together are really just the full neck from low to high.

    What I rely on when playing beyond CAGED is my sense of how the melody goes up and down one string horizontally, and the harder thing, playing the same melody across the strings vertically. When you can play melodies in any direction, and it sounds hard but it simply becomes old comfortable shoes, and thought of a CAGED border is not even close to being a guiding factor.

    CAGED does it's job with it's map, but after you "get it", you stop thing CAGED and start thinking, melody, song, lick and the best TONAL area to play it. Like G on the 1st string is bright, and G on the 5th string 10th fret is considered in guitar speak, fat, it's a fat tone.
    Maybe your old knowledge of CAGED can help in know the locations of the G note and that's great but that's still not a method.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
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